Journal of Social Philosophy 39 (1):77–95 (2008)

Sharyn Clough
Oregon State University
Racist beliefs express value judgments. According to an influential view, value judgments are subjective, and not amenable to rational adjudication. In contrast, we argue that the value judgments expressed in, for example, racist beliefs, are false and objectively so. Our account combines a naturalized, philosophical account of meaning inspired by Donald Davidson, with a prominent social-psychological theory of values pioneered by the social-psychologist Milton Rokeach. We use this interdisciplinary approach to show that, just as with beliefs expressing descriptive judgments, beliefs expressing value judgments have empirical content, or can be inferentially linked to beliefs that do; the truth or falsity of that content can be objectively assigned; and that assignment is amenable to rational assessment. While versions of this objective view of value judgments have been defended by moral realists of various metaphysical stripes, our argument has the virtue of appealing, instead, to accounts that are as naturalistically informed as possible. And, unlike the influential subjective view of value judgments, and racist beliefs more particularly, our arguments are better able to account for instances where rational, persuasive strategies have been effective in reducing the ubiquity of racism in American culture.
Keywords Racism  Empiricism  Davidson
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9833.2007.00412.x
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References found in this work BETA

Three Varieties of Knowledge.Donald Davidson - 1991 - In A. Phillips Griffiths (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 153-166.
Three Varieties of Knowledge.Donald Davidson - 1991 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 30:153-166.
The Heart of Racism.J. L. A. Garcia - 1996 - Journal of Social Philosophy 27 (1):5-46.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Wrongs of Racist Beliefs.Rima Basu - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2497-2515.
Beliefs That Wrong.Rima Basu - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
Conceptualizing Racism and Its Subtle Forms.Polycarp Ikuenobe - 2011 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 41 (2):161-181.

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