There is no such thing as doxastic wrongdoing

Philosophical Perspectives (forthcoming)
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People are often offended by beliefs, expect apologies for beliefs, apologize for their own beliefs. In many mundane cases, people are morally criticized for their beliefs. Intuitively, then, beliefs seem to sometimes wrong people. Recently, the philosophical literature has picked up on this theme, and has started to discuss it under the heading of doxastic wrongdoing. In this paper we argue that despite the strength of such initial intuitions, at the end of the day they have to be rejected. If it can be ever truthfully asserted that beliefs wrong, this is always derivative – beliefs wrong only in virtue of other things (like evidence-gathering actions) wronging. We distinguish between modest and ambitious doxastic wrongdoing theories (the former deny, while the latter accept, the possibility of a morally wrong yet epistemically permissible belief); we argue that each of these options faces insurmountable problems; and we offer partly debunking explanations of the intuitions purportedly supporting doxastic wrongdoing.

Author Profiles

David Enoch
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Levi Spectre
Open University of Israel


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