Moral Encroachment, Symmetry, and Believing Against the Evidence

Philosophical Studies (7) (2023)
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Abstract

It is widely held that our beliefs can be epistemically faultless despite being morally flawed. Theories of moral encroachment challenge this, holding that moral considerations bear on the epistemic status of our attitudes. According to attitude-based theories of moral encroachment, morality encroaches upon the epistemic standing of our attitudes on the grounds that we can morally injure others with our epistemic practices. In this paper, I aim to show that current attitude-based theories have asymmetric mechanisms: moral features only make it harder for attitudes to secure epistemic merits. I argue that, if attitudes can incur moral injury, failure to form attitudes can too. To make sense of this, I contend, attitude-based accounts require symmetric mechanisms, allowing that moral considerations make it both harder and easier for attitudes to attain epistemic merits. I maintain that, once we recognize this, attitude-based encroachment views must soon concede that they sometimes demand we believe against the evidence.

Author's Profile

Caroline von Klemperer
Rutgers - New Brunswick

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