Radical Moral Encroachment: The Moral Stakes of Racist Beliefs

Philosophical Issues (forthcoming)

Authors
Rima Basu
Claremont McKenna College
Abstract
Historical patterns of discrimination seem to present us with conflicts between what morality requires and what we epistemically ought to believe. I will argue that these cases lend support to the following nagging suspicion: that the epistemic standards governing belief are not independent of moral considerations. We can resolve these seeming conflicts by adopting a framework wherein standards of evidence for our beliefs to count as justified can shift according to the moral stakes. On this account, believing a paradigmatically racist belief reflects a failure to not only attend to the epistemic risk of being wrong, but also a failure to attend to the distinctively moral risk of wronging others given what we believe.
Keywords Moral Encroachment  Pragmatic Encroachment  Doxastic Wronging  Ethics of Belief  Stakes
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