August 8, 2022

Moral Encroachment and Positive Profiling

Abstract

Some claim that moral factors affect the epistemic status of our beliefs. Call this the moral encroachment thesis. It’s been argued that the moral encroachment thesis can explain at least part of the wrongness of racial profiling. The thesis predicts that the high moral stakes in cases of racial profiling make it more difficult for these racist beliefs to be justified or to constitute knowledge. This paper considers a class of racial generalizations that seem to do just the opposite of this. The high moral stakes of the beliefs we infer from these generalizations make it easier rather than harder for these beliefs to be justified or to constitute knowledge. I argue that the existence of this class of cases—cases of “positive profiling”—give us reason to expand our account of moral encroachment in a way that brings it closer to the ideal of pragmatic encroachment that motivates it in the first place.

August 8, 2022 at 05:34PM

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