Responsibility for Forgetting To Do

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Assuming that an agent can be morally responsible for her forgetting to do something, we can use recent psychological research on prospective memory to assess the psychological assumptions made by normative accounts of the moral responsibility for forgetting. Two accounts of moral responsibility (control accounts and valuative accounts) have been prominent in recent debates about the degree to which agents are blameworthy for their unwitting omissions. This paper highlights the psychological assumptions concerning remembering and forgetting that characterise the accounts. The paper then introduces and reviews recent empirical literature on prospective memory. Finally, it uses the literature to assess the various assumptions. One important implication is that a direct capacitarian control account implies implausible assumptions about the psychological capacity for remembering. A second important implication is that an indirect capacitarian control account and a valuative account highlight different but complementary aspects of remembering and forgetting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalErkenntnis: An International Journal of Scientific Philosophy
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)755-776
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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