Prejudiced beliefs based on the evidence: responding to a challenge for evidentialism

Synthese 199 (5-6):14317-14331 (2021)
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According to evidentialism, what is epistemically rational to believe is determined by evidence alone. So, assuming that prejudiced beliefs are irrational, evidentialism entails that they must not be properly based on the evidence. Recently, philosophers have been interested in cases of beliefs that seem to undermine evidentialism: these are beliefs that seem both prejudiced (and, thus, irrational) and properly based on the evidence (and, thus, rational). In these cases, a believer has strong statistical evidence that most members of a social group have some property and then comes to believe that an individual member of that social group will likely have that property. For example, a server at a restaurant has statistical evidence that most Black diners tip less than average and then comes to believe that a particular Black diner will likely tip less than average. The goal of this paper is to defend evidentialism from the challenge posed to it by beliefs like the server’s by developing a plausible evidentialist account that explains away these conflicting intuitions.



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Anna Brinkerhoff
Concordia University

Citations of this work

Acceptance and the ethics of belief.Laura K. Soter - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (8):2213-2243.

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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.
Unprincipled virtue: an inquiry into moral agency.Nomy Arpaly - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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