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Evidentialism and Moral Encroachment

  • Georgi Gardiner
Chapter
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 398)

Abstract

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 firm are administrative assistants—motivate moral encroachment. I then describe weaknesses of moral encroachment. Finally I explain how we can countenance the moral properties of such beliefs without endorsing moral encroachment, and I argue that the moral status of such beliefs cannot be evaluated independently from the understanding in which they are embedded.

Keywords

The ethics of belief Epistemic duty Epistemic partiality Epistemic permissibility Epistemic normativity Moral encroachment 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Rima Basu, Renee Bolinger, Jon Garthoff, Sa’eed Husaini, Kevin McCain, Jessie Munton, Ted Poston, Susanna Schellenberg, Paul Silva, and Ernest Sosa for valuable comments on an earlier draft of this essay. Thanks also to Mike Ashfield, Natalie Ashton, John Bengson, Amy Floweree, Christopher Humphreys, Hilary Kornblith, Clayton Littlejohn, Sarah Moss, David Plunkett, Regina Rini, Cat Saint-Croix, and Mark Schroeder for helpful discussion about these ideas. Many thanks to audiences at Western Washington University, Australian National University, Cologne University, and the 2018 Joint Session for useful feedback. Finally, thanks to Mark Alfano, Scott Aikin, Jennifer Saul and several active members of the Facebook group Board Certified Epistemologists for drawing my attention to relevant literature.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgi Gardiner
    • 1
  1. 1.Oxford UniversityKnoxvilleUSA

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