The Epistemic Value of Moral Considerations: Justification, Moral Encroachment, and James' 'Will To Believe'

Noûs 45 (2):239-268 (2011)
Abstract
A moral-pragmatic argument for a proposition is an argument intended to establish that believing the proposition would be morally beneficial. Since such arguments do not adduce epistemic reasons, i.e., reasons that support the truth of a proposition, they can seem at best to be irrelevant epistemically. At worst, believing on the basis of such reasoning can seem to involve wishful thinking and intellectual dishonesty of a sort that that precludes such beliefs from being epistemically unjustified. Inspired by an argument from William James’ classic, “The Will to Believe”, I argue that there is a way of making sense of moral-pragmatic arguments such that they are epistemically relevant. I develop and argue for a theory of epistemic justification that I dub the “moral encroachment theory” (emphasizing its connection to recent pragmatic encroachment views). According to the theory, moral considerations can raise or lower epistemic standards from where they would be in morally neutral settings. The moral encroachment theory, I contend, denotes a normative property that is at once distinctively epistemic and valuable. The theory also allows a legitimate role for moral-pragmatic reasoning under certain conditions. The upshot is that moral-pragmatic reasoning can be epistemically as well as morally appropriate.
Keywords Pragmatic Encroachment  Justification  William James
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,346
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Robert Merrihew Adams (1995). Moral Faith. Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):75-95.
William P. Alston (1993). Epistemic Desiderata. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (3):527-551.
Robert Audi (1991). Faith, Belief, and Rationality. Philosophical Perspectives 5:213-239.

View all 20 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Aaron Rizzieri (2011). Pragmatic Encroachment, Stakes, and Religious Knowledge. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (3):217-229.
Jacob Ross & Mark Schroeder (2014). Belief, Credence, and Pragmatic Encroachment1. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):259-288.
Brian Weatherson (2005). Can We Do Without Pragmatic Encroachment? Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):417–443.
Jeremy Randel Koons (2000). Do Normative Facts Need to Explain? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (3):246–272.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-10-01

Total downloads

107 ( #9,152 of 1,096,676 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #20,403 of 1,096,676 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.