Perceptual Failure and a Life of Moral Endeavor

Social Philosophy Today 31:129-139 (2015)
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Abstract
Over the course of her career, Jean Harvey argued that as agents engaged in a “life of moral endeavor,” we should understand ourselves and others to be moral works in progress, always possessing the potential to grow beyond and become more than the sum of our past wrongs. In this paper I follow Harvey and argue that in order to live a life of moral endeavor, it is not enough merely to know about injustice. Instead, we must engage in the difficult and often painful task of overcoming deep-seated cognitive biases that cause us to fail to perceive the ubiquitous injustice that pervades our world. I conclude by arguing that education, empathy, and love can each help us to increase our perceptual awareness of injustice and so should be recognized to be crucial parts of a life of moral endeavor.
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