Authors
Ryan Preston-Roedder
Occidental College
Abstract
History and literature provide striking examples of people who are morally admirable, in part, because of their profound faith in people’s decency. But moral philosophers have largely ignored this trait, and I suspect that many philosophers would view such faith with suspicion, dismissing it as a form of naïvete or as some other objectionable form of irrationality. I argue that such suspicion is misplaced, and that having a certain kind of faith in people’s decency, which I call faith in humanity, is a centrally important moral virtue. In order to make this view intuitively more plausible, I discuss two moral exemplars – one historical and the other literary – whose lives vividly exhibit such faith. Then I provide a rationale for the view that having such faith is morally admirable. Finally, I discuss cases in which someone’s faith in humanity can lead her to make judgments that are, to some degree, epistemically irrational. I argue that the existence of such cases does not pose a serious objection to the view that having faith in humanity is a moral virtue. Rather, it makes salient important limits on the role that epistemic, as opposed to practical, rationality should occupy in our ideals of how to live.
Keywords Faith  Trust  Hope  Virtue  Moral exemplar  Epistemic bias
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2013
ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/phpr.12024
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Friendship and Moral Danger.Dean Cocking & Jeanette Kennett - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (5):278.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No Exception for Belief.Susanna Rinard - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):121-143.
The Game of Belief.Barry Maguire & Jack Woods - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (2):211-249.
Equal Treatment for Belief.Susanna Rinard - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1923-1950.
Against the New Evidentialists.Susanna Rinard - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):208-223.

View all 35 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-03-15

Total views
4,264 ( #684 of 2,498,786 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
501 ( #799 of 2,498,786 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes