A Primer on the Distinction between Justification and Excuse
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This article is about the distinction between justification and excuse, a distinction which, while familiar, remains controversial. My discussion focuses on three questions. First, what is the distinction? Second, why is it important? And third, what are some areas of inquiry in which the distinction might be philosophically fruitful? I suggest that the distinction has practical and theoretical consequences, and is therefore worth taking seriously; I highlight two philosophical issues in which the distinction might play a useful role; but I express skepticism about the prospects for drawing a firm distinction between justification and excuse.