The rational impermissibility of accepting (some) racial generalizations

Synthese 197 (6):2415-2431 (2020)
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Abstract

I argue that inferences from highly probabilifying racial generalizations are not solely objectionable because acting on such inferences would be problematic, or they violate a moral norm, but because they violate a distinctively epistemic norm. They involve accepting a proposition when, given the costs of a mistake, one is not adequately justified in doing so. First I sketch an account of the nature of adequate justification—practical adequacy with respect to eliminating the ~p possibilities from one’s epistemic statespace. Second, I argue that inferences based on demographic generalizations tend to disproportionately expose group members to the risks associated with mistakenly assuming stereotypical propositions, and so magnify the wrong involved in relying on such inferences without adequate justification.

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Renee Jorgensen
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Citations of this work

The wrongs of racist beliefs.Rima Basu - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2497-2515.
Belief, Credence, and Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):5073-5092.
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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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Doxastic Wronging.Rima Basu & Mark Schroeder - 2019 - In Brian Kim & Matthew McGrath (eds.), Pragmatic Encroachment in Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 181-205.
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Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Probabilistic Knowledge.Sarah Moss - 2018 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

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