Kathie Jennie's 'Vices Of Inattention'

Decent Essays

In “Vices of Inattention,” Kathie Jennie wrote of the ways in which humans help facilitate or do terrible things, that clearly violate their morals, not necessarily by intentionally committing a physical act, but by inattentively allowing it to occur. She then divides the concept of inattentiveness into two categories: systematic self-deception through selective attention and willful ignorance, and that of what she refers to as “simple” inattention resulting from an unmotivated lack of focus. She asserts that we have duties to be attentive to morally significant matters, but as can be evidenced by many real-world examples, we often fall short of those obligations.
Jennie briefly touched on the category of inattention characterized by …show more content…

Jennie presented the cruelties of factory farming but our continued purchase of factory farm products as an example of simple inattention in action, but there are countless other examples occur every day.
Most people would agree that we have moral obligations of attentiveness to some degree. However, problems arise when we consider how and where the boundaries of our obligations should be drawn. It would be well-intentioned to say that we should be concerned with every moral wrong being committed the world over, but that is simply infeasible. Jennie fully acknowledges this, saying that some degree of inattention is clearly necessary for human functioning. She suggests that the scope of our moral attentiveness be limited to violations of our morals which we are in some way implicated. Ultimately, she thinks we need to be aware of what our actions cause, and also what our actions unintentionally support. She further limits the boundaries of what we should reasonably be expected to attend to by saying that at the very least, we should attend to those violations which we are personally implicated in if we become aware that something is amiss and if we have some sort of power to affect it.
Personally, I don’t

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