Moral Encroachment under Moral Uncertainty

Philosophers' Imprint 23 (2023)
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Abstract

This paper discusses a novel problem at the intersection of ethics and epistemology: there can be cases in which moral considerations seem to "encroach'' upon belief from multiple directions at once, and possibly to varying degrees, thereby leaving their overall effect on belief unclear. We introduce these cases -- cases of moral encroachment under moral uncertainty -- and show that they pose a problem for all predominant accounts of moral encroachment. We then address the problem, by developing a modular Bayesian framework that, we argue, is sufficiently flexible and scaleable to accommodate the multifaceted uncertainty we describe while still generating clear recommendations for an agent's beliefs. Our framework has several practical upshots, and we close by articulating them: we derive insights about the relationship between moral character and doxastic behavior and make suggestions for how to encourage people to revise their doxastic states in morally laudable ways, without deviating from core Bayesian norms.

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Author Profiles

Zoë Johnson King
Harvard University
Boris Babic
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

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References found in this work

The wrongs of racist beliefs.Rima Basu - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2497-2515.
Doxastic Wronging.Rima Basu & Mark Schroeder - 2019 - In Brian Kim & Matthew McGrath (eds.), Pragmatic Encroachment in Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 181-205.
Varieties of Moral Encroachment.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2020 - Philosophical Perspectives 34 (1):5-26.
What We Epistemically Owe To Each Other.Rima Basu - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):915–931.

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