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The wrongs of racist beliefs

Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2497-2515 (2019)

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  1. A dialogue on the ethics of science: Henri Poincaré and Pope Francis.Nicholas Matthew Danne - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-12.
    To teach the ethics of science to science majors, I follow several teachers in the literature who recommend “persona” writing, or the student construction of dialogues between ethical thinkers of interest. To engage science majors in particular, and especially those new to academic philosophy, I recommend constructing persona dialogues from Henri Poincaré’s essay, “Ethics and Science”, and the non-theological third chapter of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato si. This pairing of interlocutors offers two advantages. The first is that (...)
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  • Privacy rights and ‘naked’ statistical evidence.Lauritz Aastrup Munch - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3777-3795.
    Do privacy rights restrict what is permissible to infer about others based on statistical evidence? This paper replies affirmatively by defending the following symmetry: there is not necessarily a morally relevant difference between directly appropriating people’s private information—say, by using an X-ray device on their private safes—and using predictive technologies to infer the same content, at least in cases where the evidence has a roughly similar probative value. This conclusion is of theoretical interest because a comprehensive justification of the thought (...)
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  • Proof Paradoxes, Agency, and Stereotyping.Aness Kim Webster - forthcoming - Philosophical Issues.
    Many have attempted to justify various courts’ position that bare or naked statistical evidence is not sufficient for findings of liability. I provide a particular explanation by examining a different, but related, issue about when and why stereotyping is wrong. One natural explanation of wrongness of stereotyping appeals to agency. However, this has been scrutinised. In this paper, I argue that we should broaden our understanding of when and how our agency can be undermined. In particular, I argue that when (...)
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  • Moral Encroachment and Reasons of the Wrong Kind.James Fritz - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):3051-3070.
    According to the view that there is moral encroachment in epistemology, whether a person has knowledge of p sometimes depends on moral considerations, including moral considerations that do not bear on the truth or likelihood of p. Defenders of moral encroachment face a central challenge: they must explain why the moral considerations they cite, unlike moral bribes for belief, are reasons of the right kind for belief (or withheld belief). This paper distinguishes between a moderate and a radical version of (...)
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  • What We Epistemically Owe To Each Other.Rima Basu - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):915–931.
    This paper is about an overlooked aspect—the cognitive or epistemic aspect—of the moral demand we place on one another to be treated well. We care not only how people act towards us and what they say of us, but also what they believe of us. That we can feel hurt by what others believe of us suggests both that beliefs can wrong and that there is something we epistemically owe to each other. This proposal, however, surprises many theorists who claim (...)
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  • Belief, Credence, and Moral Encroachment.Elizabeth Jackson & James Fritz - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    Radical moral encroachment is the view that belief itself is morally evaluable, and that some moral properties of belief itself make a difference to epistemic rationality. To date, almost all proponents of radical moral encroachment hold to an asymmetry thesis: the moral encroaches on rational belief, but not on rational credence. In this paper, we argue against the asymmetry thesis; we show that, insofar as one accepts the most prominent arguments for radical moral encroachment on belief, one should likewise accept (...)
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  • Morally Respectful Listening and its Epistemic Consequences.Galen Barry - 2020 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 58 (1):52-76.
    What does it mean to listen to someone respectfully, that is, insofar as they are due recognition respect? This paper addresses that question and gives the following answer: it is to listen in such a way that you are open to being surprised. A specific interpretation of this openness to surprise is then defended.
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  • Decision-Theoretic and Risk-Based Approaches to Naked Statistical Evidence: Some Consequences and Challenges.Rafal Urbaniak, Alicja Kowalewska, Pavel Janda & Patryk Dziurosz-Serafinowicz - 2020 - Law, Probability and Risk 19 (1):67-83.
    In the debate about the legal value of naked statistical evidence, Di Bello argues that (1) the likelihood ratio of such evidence is unknown, (2) the decision-theoretic considerations indicate that a conviction based on such evidence is unacceptable when expected utility maximization is combined with fairness constraints, and (3) the risk of mistaken conviction based on such evidence cannot be evaluated and is potentially too high. We argue that Di Bello’s argument for (1) works in a rather narrow context, and (...)
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  • The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (Open Access).Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  • Algorithmic bias: on the implicit biases of social technology.Gabbrielle M. Johnson - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9941-9961.
    Often machine learning programs inherit social patterns reflected in their training data without any directed effort by programmers to include such biases. Computer scientists call this algorithmic bias. This paper explores the relationship between machine bias and human cognitive bias. In it, I argue similarities between algorithmic and cognitive biases indicate a disconcerting sense in which sources of bias emerge out of seemingly innocuous patterns of information processing. The emergent nature of this bias obscures the existence of the bias itself, (...)
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  • A social solution to the puzzle of doxastic responsibility: a two-dimensional account of responsibility for belief.Robert Carry Osborne - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9335-9356.
    In virtue of what are we responsible for our beliefs? I argue that doxastic responsibility has a crucial social component: part of being responsible for our beliefs is being responsible to others. I suggest that this responsibility is a form of answerability with two distinct dimensions: an individual and an interpersonal dimension. While most views hold that the individual dimension is grounded in some form of control that we can exercise over our beliefs, I contend that we are answerable for (...)
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  • Moral Hinges and Steadfastness.Chris Ranalli - 2021 - Metaphilosophy 52 (3-4):379-401.
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  • Banks, Bosses, and Bears: A Pragmatist Argument Against Encroachment.Stephanie Leary - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Algorithms and the Individual in Criminal Law.Renee Jorgensen - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
    Law-enforcement agencies are increasingly able to leverage crime statistics to make risk predictions for particular individuals, employing a form of inference some condemn as violating the right to be "treated as an individual". I suggest that the right encodes agents' entitlement to fair distribution of the burdens and benefits of the rule of law. Rather than precluding statistical prediction, it requires that citizens be able to anticipate which variables will be used as predictors, and act intentionally to avoid them. Furthermore, (...)
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  • Children, Credibility, and Testimonial Injustice.Gary Bartlett - forthcoming - Journal of Social Philosophy.
    Journal of Social Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • What it means to respect individuality.Xiaofei Liu & Ye Liang - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (8):2579-2598.
    Using pure statistical evidence about a group to judge a particular member of that group is often found objectionable. One natural explanation of why this is objectionable appeals to the moral notion of respecting individuality: to properly respect individuality, we need individualized evidence, not pure statistical evidence. However, this explanation has been criticized on the ground that there is no fundamental difference between the so-called “individualized evidence” and “pure statistical evidence”. This paper defends the respecting-individuality explanation by developing an account (...)
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  • Epistemic Blame.Cameron Boult - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (8):e12762.
    This paper provides a critical overview of recent work on epistemic blame. The paper identifies key features of the concept of epistemic blame and discusses two ways of motivating the importance of this concept. Four different approaches to the nature of epistemic blame are examined. Central issues surrounding the ethics and value of epistemic blame are identified and briefly explored. In addition to providing an overview of the state of the art of this growing but controversial field, the paper highlights (...)
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  • Regrettable Beliefs.Mica Rapstine - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2169-2190.
    In the flurry of recent exchanges between defenders of moral encroachment and their critics, some of the finer details of particular encroachment accounts have only begun to receive critical attention. This is especially true concerning accounts of the putative wrong-making features of the beliefs to which defenders of moral encroachment draw our attention. Here I attempt to help move this part of the discussion forward by critically engaging two leading accounts. These come from Mark Schroeder and Rima Basu, respectively. The (...)
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  • Statistical Resentment, Or: What’s Wrong with Acting, Blaming, and Believing on the Basis of Statistics Alone.David Enoch & Levi Spectre - forthcoming - Synthese:1-32.
    Statistical evidence—say, that 95% of your co-workers badmouth each other—can never render resenting your colleague appropriate, in the way that other evidence (say, the testimony of a reliable friend) can. The problem of statistical resentment is to explain why. We put the problem of statistical resentment in several wider contexts: The context of the problem of statistical evidence in legal theory; the epistemological context—with problems like the lottery paradox for knowledge, epistemic impurism and doxastic wrongdoing; and the context of a (...)
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  • How Privacy Rights Engender Direct Doxastic Duties.Lauritz Aastrup Munch - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-16.
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  • Relevance and Risk: How the Relevant Alternatives Framework Models the Epistemology of Risk.Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - Synthese:1-31.
    The epistemology of risk examines how risks bear on epistemic properties. A common framework for examining the epistemology of risk holds that strength of evidential support is best modelled as numerical probability given the available evidence. In this essay I develop and motivate a rival ‘relevant alternatives’ framework for theorising about the epistemology of risk. I describe three loci for thinking about the epistemology of risk. The first locus concerns consequences of relying on a belief for action, where those consequences (...)
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  • A Tale of Two Doctrines: Moral Encroachment and Doxastic Wronging.Rima Basu - 2021 - In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Applied Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
    In this paper, I argue that morality might bear on belief in at least two conceptually distinct ways. The first is that morality might bear on belief by bearing on questions of justification. The claim that it does is the doctrine of moral encroachment. The second, is that morality might bear on belief given the central role belief plays in mediating and thereby constituting our relationships with one another. The claim that it does is the doctrine of doxastic wronging. Though (...)
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  • The Specter of Normative Conflict: Does Fairness Require Inaccuracy?Rima Basu - 2020 - In Erin Beeghly & Alex Madva (eds.), An Introduction to Implicit Bias: Knowledge, Justice, and the Social Mind. Routledge. pp. 191-210.
    A challenge we face in a world that has been shaped by, and continues to be shaped by, racist attitudes and institutions is that the evidence is often stacked in favor of racist beliefs. As a result, we may find ourselves facing the following conflict: what if the evidence we have supports something we morally shouldn’t believe? For example, it is morally wrong to assume, solely on the basis of someone’s skin color, that they’re a staff member. But, what if (...)
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  • Bias and Interpersonal Skepticism.Robert Pasnau - forthcoming - Noûs.
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  • Testimonial Injustice and Mutual Recognition.Lindsay Crawford - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Much of the recent work on the nature of testimonial injustice holds that a hearer who fails to accord sufficient credibility to a speaker’s testimony, owing to identity prejudice, can thereby wrong that speaker. What is it to wrong someone in this way? This paper offers an account of the wrong at the heart of testimonial injustice that locates it in a failure of interpersonal justifiability. On the account I develop, one that draws directly from T. M. Scanlon’s moral contractualist (...)
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  • Varieties of Moral Encroachment.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2020 - Philosophical Perspectives 34 (1):5-26.
    Several authors have recently suggested that moral factors and norms `encroach' on the epistemic, and because of salient parallels to pragmatic encroachment views in epistemology, these suggestions have been dubbed `moral encroachment views'. This paper distinguishes between variants of the moral encroachment thesis, pointing out how they address different problems, are motivated by different considerations, and are not all subject to the same objections. It also explores how the family of moral encroachment views compare to classical pragmatic encroachment accounts.
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  • Resisting Pessimism Traps: The Limits of Believing in Oneself.Jennifer M. Morton - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Members of marginalized groups who desire to pursue ambitious ends that might lead them to overcome disadvantage often face evidential situations that do not support the belief that they will succeed. Such agents might decide, reasonably, that their efforts are better expended elsewhere. If an agent has a less risky, valuable alternative, then quitting can be a rational way of avoiding the potential costs of failure. However, in reaching this pessimistic conclusion, she adds to the evidence that formed the basis (...)
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  • Are Algorithms Value-Free? Feminist Theoretical Virtues in Machine Learning.Gabbrielle Johnson - forthcoming - Journal Moral Philosophy.
    As inductive decision-making procedures, the inferences made by machine learning programs are subject to underdetermination by evidence and bear inductive risk. One strategy for overcoming these challenges is guided by a presumption in philosophy of science that inductive inferences can and should be value-free. Applied to machine learning programs, the strategy assumes that the influence of values is restricted to data and decision outcomes, thereby omitting internal value-laden design choice points. In this paper, I apply arguments from feminist philosophy of (...)
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  • How Belief-Credence Dualism Explains Away Pragmatic Encroachment.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):511-533.
    Belief-credence dualism is the view that we have both beliefs and credences and neither attitude is reducible to the other. Pragmatic encroachment is the view that stakes alone can affect the epistemic rationality of states like knowledge or justified belief. In this paper, I argue that dualism offers a unique explanation of pragmatic encroachment cases. First, I explain pragmatic encroachment and what motivates it. Then, I explain dualism and outline a particular argument for dualism. Finally, I show how dualism can (...)
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  • On Statistical Criteria of Algorithmic Fairness.Brian Hedden - 2021 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 49 (2):209-231.
    Predictive algorithms are playing an increasingly prominent role in society, being used to predict recidivism, loan repayment, job performance, and so on. With this increasing influence has come an increasing concern with the ways in which they might be unfair or biased against individuals in virtue of their race, gender, or, more generally, their group membership. Many purported criteria of algorithmic fairness concern statistical relationships between the algorithm’s predictions and the actual outcomes, for instance requiring that the rate of false (...)
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  • Real Talk on the Metaphysics of Gender.Robin Dembroff - 2018 - Philosophical Topics 46 (2):21-50.
    Gender classifications often are controversial. These controversies typically focus on whether gender classifications align with facts about gender kind membership: Could someone really be nonbinary? Is Chris Mosier really a man? I think this is a bad approach. Consider the possibility of ontological oppression, which arises when social kinds operating in a context unjustly constrain the behaviors, concepts, or affect of certain groups. Gender kinds operating in dominant contexts, I argue, oppress trans and nonbinary persons in this way: they marginalize (...)
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  • On the Margins: Personhood and Moral Status in Marginal Cases of Human Rights.Helen Ryland - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    Most philosophical accounts of human rights accept that all persons have human rights. Typically, ‘personhood’ is understood as unitary and binary. It is unitary because there is generally supposed to be a single threshold property required for personhood. It is binary because it is all-or-nothing: you are either a person or you are not. A difficulty with binary views is that there will typically be subjects, like children and those with dementia, who do not meet the threshold, and so who (...)
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  • Can Pragmatists Be Moderate?Alex Worsnip - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):531-558.
    In discussions of whether and how pragmatic considerations can make a difference to what one ought to believe, two sets of cases feature. The first set, which dominates the debate about pragmatic reasons for belief, is exemplified by cases of being financially bribed to believe (or withhold from believing) something. The second set, which dominates the debate about pragmatic encroachment on epistemic justification, is exemplified by cases where acting on a belief rashly risks some disastrous outcome if the belief turns (...)
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  • What Do We Epistemically Owe to Each Other? A Reply to Basu.Robert Carry Osborne - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):1005-1022.
    What, if anything, do we epistemically owe to each other? Various “traditional” views of epistemology might hold either that we don’t epistemically owe anything to each other, because “what we owe to each other” is the realm of the moral, or that what we epistemically owe to each other is just to be epistemically responsible agents. Basu (2019) has recently argued, against such views, that morality makes extra-epistemic demands upon what we should believe about one another. So, what we owe (...)
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  • Moral Encroachment, Wokeness, and the Epistemology of Holding.J. Spencer Atkins - forthcoming - Episteme:1-15.
    Hilde Lindemann argues that personhood is the shared practice of recognizing and responding to one another. She calls this practice holding. Holding, however, can fail. Holding failure, by stereotyping for example, can inhibit others’ epistemic confidence and ability to recall true beliefs as well as create an environment of racism or sexism. How might we avoid holding failure? Holding failure, I argue, has many epistemic dimensions, so I argue that moral encroachment has the theoretical tools available to avoid holding failures. (...)
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  • Cognition and the Structure of Bias.Gabbrielle Johnson - 2019 - Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
    I argue that there exists a natural kind social bias that subsumes seemingly heterogenous cases of implicit bias and other forms of social cognition. I explore the implications of this explicated notion of bias for the organization of the mind, theories of consciousness, and the system-dependence of biases.
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  • The Structure of Bias.Gabbrielle M. Johnson - 2020 - Mind 129 (516):1193-1236.
    What is a bias? Standard philosophical views of both implicit and explicit bias focus this question on the representations one harbours, for example, stereotypes or implicit attitudes, rather than the ways in which those representations are manipulated. I call this approach representationalism. In this paper, I argue that representationalism taken as a general theory of psychological social bias is a mistake, because it conceptualizes bias in ways that do not fully capture the phenomenon. Crucially, this view fails to capture a (...)
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  • Bias and Perception.Susanna Siegel - 2020 - In Erin Beeghly & Alex Madva (eds.), An Introduction to Implicit Bias: Knowledge, Justice, and the Social Mind. Routledge. pp. 99-115.
    chapter on perception and bias including implicit bias.
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  • Reading the Bad News About Our Minds.Nicholas Silins - 2020 - Philosophical Issues 30 (1):293-310.
    Psychologists and neuroscientists have delivered a lot of bad news about the inner workings of our minds, raising challenging questions about the extent to which we are rational in important domains of our judgments. I will focus on a central case of an unsettling effect on our perception, and primarily aim to establish that there actually is no impact from it on the rationality of our perceptual beliefs. To reach my goal, I will start with a rough review of different (...)
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  • Rehabilitating Statistical Evidence.Lewis Ross - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1):3-23.
    Recently, the practice of deciding legal cases on purely statistical evidence has been widely criticised. Many feel uncomfortable with finding someone guilty on the basis of bare probabilities, even though the chance of error might be stupendously small. This is an important issue: with the rise of DNA profiling, courts are increasingly faced with purely statistical evidence. A prominent line of argument—endorsed by Blome-Tillmann 2017; Smith 2018; and Littlejohn 2018—rejects the use of such evidence by appealing to epistemic norms that (...)
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  • Castoriadis, Racist and Anti-Racist Ontologies.Toula Nicolacopoulos & George Vassilacopoulos - 2020 - Thesis Eleven 161 (1):76-88.
    Castoriadis explains racism as a mode of hatred of the other and as a feature of the self-institution of heteronomous societies built on ethnocentrism. At the level of the psychical human being he identifies two forms of racist fixation on others: hatred of the other as the flip-side of self-love and as the other side of self-hatred, which he analyses, respectively, as a mode of pseudo-reasoning and as unconscious desire. We argue that attention to the ontology that underpins the modern (...)
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  • I Wrote This Paper for the Lulz: The Ethics of Internet Trolling.Ralph DiFranco - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (5):931-945.
    Over the last decade, research on derogatory communication has focused on ordinary speech contexts and the use of conventional pejoratives, like slurs. However, the use of social media has given rise to a new type of derogatory behavior that theorists have yet to address: internet trolling. Trolls make online utterances aiming to frustrate and offend other internet users. Their ultimate goal is amusement derived from observing a good faith interlocutor engage with their provocative posts. The basis for condemning a pejorative (...)
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  • Beyond Accuracy: Epistemic Flaws with Statistical Generalizations.Jessie Munton - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):228-240.
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  • Radical Moral Encroachment: The Moral Stakes of Racist Beliefs.Rima Basu - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):9-23.
    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 (...)
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  • Decolonising Knowledge Here and Now.Veli Mitova - 2020 - Philosophical Papers 49 (2):191-212.
    The topic of epistemic decolonisation is currently the locus of lively debate both in academia and in everyday life. The aim of this piece is to isolate a few main strands in the philosophical lite...
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  • Social Epistemic Normativity: The Program.Sanford C. Goldberg - 2020 - Episteme 17 (3):364-383.
    In this paper I argue that epistemically normative claims regarding what one is permitted or required to believe are sometimes true in virtue of what we owe one another as social creatures. I do not here pursue a reduction of these epistemically normative claims to claims asserting one or another interpersonal obligation, though I highlight some resources for those who would pursue such a reduction.
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  • Reconsidering the Rule of Consideration: Probabilistic Knowledge and Legal Proof.Tim Smartt - forthcoming - Episteme:1-16.
    In this paper, I provide an argument for rejecting Sarah Moss's recent account of legal proof. Moss's account is attractive in a number of ways. It provides a new version of a knowledge-based theory of legal proof that elegantly resolves a number of puzzles about mere statistical evidence in the law. Moreover, the account promises to have attractive implications for social and moral philosophy, in particular about the impermissibility of racial profiling and other harmful kinds of statistical generalisation. In this (...)
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  • Evidentialism and Moral Encroachment.Georgi Gardiner - 2018 - In McCain Kevin (ed.), Believing in Accordance with the Evidence. Springer Verlag.
    Moral encroachment holds that the epistemic justification of a belief can be affected by moral factors. If the belief might wrong a person or group more evidence is required to justify the belief. Moral encroachment thereby opposes evidentialism, and kindred views, which holds that epistemic justification is determined solely by factors pertaining to evidence and truth. In this essay I explain how beliefs such as ‘that woman is probably an administrative assistant’—based on the evidence that most women employees at the (...)
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  • Belief and Credence: A Defense of Dualism.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
    Belief is a familiar attitude: taking something to be the case or regarding it as true. But we are more confident in some of our beliefs than in others. For this reason, many epistemologists appeal to a second attitude, called credence, similar to a degree of confidence. This raises the question: how do belief and credence relate to each other? On a belief-first view, beliefs are more fundamental and credences are a species of beliefs, e.g. beliefs about probabilities. On a (...)
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  • How Not to Deal with the Tragic Dilemma.Joshua Mugg - 2020 - Social Epistemology 34 (3):253-264.
    Race is often epistemically relevant, but encoding racial stereotypes can lead to implicitly biased behavior. Thus, given the way race structures society, it seems to be impossible to be both epist...
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