Evidentialism and Moral Encroachment with Georgi Gardiner


October 16th, 2020

38 mins 17 secs

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About this Episode

Can the fact that something is morally wrong to believe affect whether the evidence you have justifies that belief? In her paper, Georgi Gardiner argues that the answer is "no". We should follow the evidence where it leads and align our beliefs with the evidence. And if we do that, she argues, we’ll discover that morally wrong beliefs—such as racist beliefs--simply don’t align with the evidence. On this view, racist beliefs are irrational because they are unsupported by evidence or reflect cognitive errors in statistical reasoning, not because they are immoral.

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Paper Quotes

"Advocates of moral encroachment aim to describe a person whose beliefs are epistemically impeccable—well supported by the evidence and conscientiously considered—yet morally wrong because racist. My contention is that no such belief can exist. If a belief is morally wrong then there is some corresponding prior epistemic error. The belief is not well supported by the evidence and/or it is not interpreted through a morally appropriate understanding, and that understanding is not epistemically well supported. If a belief is epistemically well supported it cannot be racist since no true fact is genuinely racist. With the right background understanding we see that since everyone is equal, any differences based on gender, race, and so on are morally insignificant."