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J. Spencer Atkins
State University of New York at Binghamton
  1. Defining Wokeness.J. Spencer Atkins - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):321-338.
    ABSTRACT Rima Basu and I have offered separate accounts of wokeness as an anti-racist ethical concept. Our accounts endorse controversial doctrines in epistemology: doxastic wronging, doxastic voluntarism, and moral encroachment. Many philosophers deny these three views, favoring instead some ordinary standards for epistemic justification. I call this denial the standard view. In this paper, I offer an account of wokeness that is consistent with the standard view. I argue that wokeness is best understood as ‘group epistemic partiality’. The woke person (...)
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  2. Moral Encroachment, Wokeness, and the Epistemology of Holding.J. Spencer Atkins - 2023 - Episteme 20 (1):86-100.
    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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  3. Epistemic Norms, the False Belief Requirement, and Love.J. Spencer Atkins - 2021 - Logos and Episteme 12 (3):289-309.
    Many authors have argued that epistemic rationality sometimes comes into conflict with our relationships. Although Sarah Stroud and Simon Keller argue that friendships sometimes require bad epistemic agency, their proposals do not go far enough. I argue here for a more radical claim—romantic love sometimes requires we form beliefs that are false. Lovers stand in a special position with one another; they owe things to one another that they do not owe to others. Such demands hold for beliefs as well. (...)
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  4. Do Your Homework! A Rights-Based Zetetic Account of Alleged Cases of Doxastic Wronging.J. Spencer Atkins - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-28.
    This paper offers an alternate explanation of cases from the doxastic wronging literature. These cases violate what I call the degree of inquiry right—a novel account of zetetic obligations to inquire when interests are at stake. The degree of inquiry right is a moral right against other epistemic agents to inquire to a certain threshold when a belief undermines one’s interests. Thus, the agents are sometimes obligated to leave inquiry open. I argue that we have relevant interests in reputation, relationships, (...)
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  5. Have You Benefitted from Carbon Emissions? You May Be a “Morally Objectionable Free Rider”.J. Spencer Atkins - 2018 - Environmental Ethics 40 (3):283-296.
    Much of the climate ethics discussion centers on considerations of compensatory justice and historical accountability. However, little attention is given to supporting and defending the Beneficiary Pays Principle as a guide for policymaking. This principle states that those who have benefitted from an instance of harm have an obligation to compensate those who have been harmed. Thus, this principle implies that those benefitted by industrialization and carbon emission owe compensation to those who have been harmed by climate change. Beneficiary Pays (...)
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    Making Punishment Safe: Adding an Anti-Luck Condition to Retributivism and Rights Forfeiture.J. Spencer Atkins - forthcoming - Law, Ethics and Philosophy:1-18.
    Retributive theories of punishment argue that punishing a criminal for a crime she committed is sufficient reason for a justified and morally permissible punishment. But what about when the state gets lucky in its decision to punish? I argue that retributive theories of punishment are subject to “Gettier” style cases from epistemology. Such cases demonstrate that the state needs more than to just get lucky, and as these retributive theories of punishment stand, there is no anti-luck condition. I’ll argue that (...)
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  7. Defending Wokeness: A Response to Davidson.J. Spencer Atkins - 2023 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 12 (6):21-26.
    Lacey J. Davidson (2023) raises several insightful objections to the group partiality account of wokeness. The paper aims to move the discussion forward by either responding to or developing Davidson’s objections. My goal is not to show that the partiality account is foolproof but to think about the direction of future discussion—future critique, modification, and response. Davidson thinks that the partiality account of wokeness does not sufficiently define wokeness, as the paper sets out to do. Davidson also alleges that the (...)
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