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Surrounding Self-Control$
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Alfred R. Mele

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197500941

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197500941.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 January 2022

Self-Control and Deliberate Ignorance

Self-Control and Deliberate Ignorance

On Ignoring Information We Ought to Know and Processing Information We Shouldn’t

Chapter:
(p.293) 16 Self-Control and Deliberate Ignorance
Source:
Surrounding Self-Control
Author(s):

Sammy Basu

James Friedrich

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780197500941.003.0016

This chapter considers the relationship of individual “self-control” to epistemic behavior and ethical responsibility. The authors distinguish deliberate ignorance into two forms: partiality-preserving and impartiality-enhancing, associating the former with “epistemic diligence/negligence” and the latter with “epistemic restraint/recklessness.” As such, they argue that ethical responsibility entails three prescriptive orders of self-control. First, in the moment, the individual should reactively self-control epistemic relevance. However, research on cognitive irregularities such as the introspection illusion highlights difficulties in doing so. Second, the individual should proactively regulate information available to self and others. Here, the authors’ own studies test whether individuals will consistently guard against information contamination. They find that a personal “bias blind-spot” compromises such epistemic discretion. Given epistemic responsibility but unreliable introspection, then, the individual needs a third order of self-control. That is, in certain decision-making situations the individual is obliged to utilize institutions of epistemic justice that mandate to decision-makers information availability/restraint.

Keywords:   deliberate ignorance, ethics, mental contamination, bias blind spot, self-control

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