2019 Philosophy Publications and Grants
Basu, Rima. “To Avoid Moral Failure, Don’t see People as Sherlock Does.” Aeon. May 22, 2019,
Basu, Rima. “Radical Moral Encroachment: The Moral Stakes of Racist Beliefs.” Philosophical Issues, vol. 29, issue 1, 2019, pp. 9-23.
Abstract: Historical patterns of discrimination seem to present us with conflicts between what morality requires and what we epistemically ought to believe. I will argue that these cases lend support to the following nagging suspicion: that the epistemic standards governing belief are not independent of moral considerations. We can resolve these seeming conflicts by adopting a framework wherein standards of evidence for our beliefs to count as justified can shift according to the moral stakes. On this account, believing a paradigmatically racist belief reflects a failure to not only attend to the epistemic risk of being wrong, but also a failure to attend to the distinctively moral risk of wronging others given what we believe.
Basu, Rima. “What We Epistemically Owe To Each Other.” Philosophical Studies, vol. 176, issue 4, 2019, pp. 915-931.
Abstract: This paper is about an overlooked aspect--the cognitive or epistemic aspect--of the moral demand we place on one another to be treated well. We care not only how people act towards us and what they say of us, but also what they believe of us. That we can feel hurt by what others believe of us suggests both that beliefs can wrong and that there is something we epistemically owe to each other. This proposal, however, surprises many theorists who claim it lacks both intuitive and theoretical support. This paper argues that the proposal has intuitive support and is not at odds with much contemporary theorizing about what we owe to each other.
Basu, Rima. “The Wrongs of Racist Beliefs.” Philosophical Studies, vol. 176, issue 9, 2019, pp. 2497-2515.
Abstract: We care not only about how people treat us, but also what they believe of us. If I believe that you're a bad tipper given your race, I've wronged you. But, what if you are a bad tipper? It is commonly argued that the way racist beliefs wrong is that the racist believer either misrepresents reality, organizes facts in a misleading way that distorts the truth, or engages in fallacious reasoning. In this paper, I present a case that challenges this orthodoxy: the case of the supposedly rational racist. We live in a world that has been, and continues to be, structured by racist attitudes and institutions. As a result, the evidence might be stacked in favour of racist beliefs. But, if there are racist beliefs that reflect reality and are rationally justified, what could be wrong with them? Moreover, how do I wrong you by believing what I epistemically ought believe given the evidence? To address this challenge, we must seriously consider the thesis that people wrong others in virtue of what they believe about them, and not just in virtue of what they do.
Basu, Rima and Mark Schroeder. "Doxastic Wronging.” Pragmatic Encroachment in Epistemology, edited by Brian Kim and Matthew McGrath. Routledge, 2019, pp. 181-205.
Abstract: In the Book of Common Prayer's Rite II version of the Eucharist, the congregation confesses, "we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed". According to this confession we wrong God not just by what we do and what we say, but also by what we think. The idea that we can wrong someone not just by what we do, but by what think or what we believe, is a natural one. It is the kind of wrong we feel when those we love believe the worst about us. And it is one of the salient wrongs of racism and sexism. Yet it is puzzling to many philosophers how we could wrong one another by virtue of what we believe about them. This paper defends the idea that we can morally wrong one another by what we believe about them from two such puzzles. The first puzzle concerns whether we have the right sort of control over our beliefs for them to be subject to moral evaluation. And the second concerns whether moral wrongs would come into conflict with the distinctively epistemic standards that govern belief. Our answer to both puzzles is that the distinctively epistemic standards governing belief are not independent of moral considerations. This account of moral encroachment explains how epistemic norms governing belief are sensitive to the moral requirements governing belief.
Hurley, Paul. “Exiting the Consequentialist Circle: Two Senses of Bringing It About.” Analytic Philosophy, vol. 60, issue 2, 2019, pp. 130-163.
Abstract: Consequentialism is a state of affairs centered moral theory that finds support in state of affairs centered views of value, reason, action, and desire/preference. Together these views form a mutually reinforcing circle. I map an exit route out of this circle by distinguishing between two different senses in which actions can be understood as bringing about states of affairs. All actions, reasons, desires, and values involve bringing about in the first, deflationary sense, but only some appear to involve bringing about in a second, rationalizing sense. I demonstrate that the views making up this circle hold, implausibly, that all reasons, values, desires, and actions involve bringing about in both senses. Failure to distinguish these senses obscures the implausibility of these views as a set. I demonstrate, in addition, that the distinction blocks two common arguments that otherwise threaten to leverage us back in to the consequentialist circle.
Hurley, Paul. “New Consequentialism and the New Doing-Allowing Distinction.” Consequentialism: New Directions, New Problems, edited by Christian Seidel. Oxford University Press, 2019, pp. 176-197.
Abstract: My strategy in what follows is to clarify the nature of the debate concerning the new doing-allowing distinction, and its importance for normative ethics, by way of a contrast with its more traditional counterpart. In Section II I will take up traditional challenges, and highlight certain replies that are more and more frequently endorsed in some form by new wave consequentialists themselves. I will demonstrate in Section III that it is the appeal by many such evaluator-relative consequentialists to a teleological conception of reasons (henceforward TCR), upon which all reasons, both agent-relative and agent-neutral, are reasons to promote outcomes, that commits them to the rejection of Doing-Allowing/Evaluator-Relative. In Section IV I will show that like Doing-Allowing/Agent-Neutral, Doing-Allowing/Evaluator-Relative finds ample support in the appeal to commonsense, but I will demonstrate in Section V that unlike the traditional arguments against Doing-Allowing/Agent-Neutral, new wave consequentialist arguments against Doing-Allowing/Evaluator-Relative are grounded in widely held accounts of values, attitudes, and actions. It is this rejection of Doing-Allowing/Evaluator-Relative, however, that establishes the cornerstone of the consequentialist evaluative framework, that the deontic evaluation of actions is properly determined through appeal to the telic evaluation of outcomes. Moreover, the rejection of Doing-Allowing/Evaluator-Relative, coupled with certain commitments that are widely recognized as independently compelling, provides deep structural support for some form of consequentialist moral theory.
Amy L. Kind
Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies
Kind, Amy. “Conference Report: Imagination and Social Change.” The Junkyard, October 9, 2019,
Kind, Amy. “Imagination Minimalized.” The British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 59, issue 2, 2019, pp. 215-218.
Abstract: In Only Imagine, Kathleen Stock defends a theory of fictional content she calls extreme intentionalism. Roughly put, this view holds that the fictional content of a text is determined solely by its author’s intention. What is true in a given work of fiction gets fixed by what the author of that fiction intends a reader to imagine. Given the prominent role that imagination plays in extreme intentionalism, it is no surprise that Stock’s exploration of the nature of intentional content would lead her to an exploration of the nature of imagination as well—or, at least, an exploration of the kind of imagination involved in engaging with fiction. Stock calls this kind of imagining ‘F-imagining’ and, over the course of the book, she offers an account of F-imagining that, while not wholly exhaustive, nonetheless succeeds in detailing many of its key features. Interestingly, several of the features Stock attributes to F-imagining puts her in conflict with many standard claims about imagination that one finds in the contemporary literature. Indeed, as quickly becomes clear, the account of imagination that she ends up with is a minimalistic one—in other words, it is an account that might be said to minimalize imagination. While there are some benefits to this approach, in this commentary I will explore some reasons to be wary of it.
Kind, Amy. “Mary’s Powers of Imagination.” The Knowledge Argument, edited by Sam Coleman. Cambridge University Press, 2019, pp. 161-179.
Abstract: One common response to the knowledge argument is the ability hypothesis. Proponents of the ability hypothesis accept that Mary learns what seeing red is like when she exits her black-and-white room, but they deny that the kind of knowledge she gains is propositional in nature. Rather, she acquires a cluster of abilities that she previously lacked, in particular, the abilities to recognize, remember, and imagine the color red. For proponents of the ability hypothesis, knowing what an experience is like simply consists in the possession of these abilities. Criticisms of the ability hypothesis tend to focus on this last claim. Such critics tend to accept that Mary gains these abilities when she leaves the room, but they deny that such abilities constitute knowledge of what an experience is like. To my mind, however, this critical strategy grants too much. Focusing specifically on imaginative ability, I argue that Mary does not gain this ability when she leaves the room for she already had the ability to imagine red while she was inside it. Moreover, despite what some have thought, the ability hypothesis cannot be easily rescued by recasting it in terms of a more restrictive imaginative ability. My purpose here is not to take sides in the debate about physicalism, i.e., my criticism of the ability hypothesis is not offered in an attempt to defend the anti- physicalist conclusion of the knowledge argument. Rather, my purpose is to redeem imagination from the misleading picture of it that discussion of the knowledge argument has fostered.
Kind, Amy. Review of Creativity and Philosophy, edited by Berys Gaut and Matthew Kieran. Philosophy in Review, vol. 39, no. 3, 2019, pp. 129-131.
Kind, Amy. Review of The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang. The Philosopher’s Magazine, issue 87, 4th Quarter, 2019, pp. 111-112.
Kind, Amy. Review of Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination, by Kathleen Stock. Mind, vol. 128, issue 510, 2019, pp. 601-608.
Kreines, James. "Spinoza, Kant and the Transition to Hegel's Subjective Logic." Hegel Bulletin, vol. 40, issue 1, 2019, pp. 1-28.
Abstract: Hegel's Logic argues in a manner that is supposed to support a systematic philosophy. But it is difficult to explain how such a systematic argument is supposed to work. For answers, I look to the key transition from the Doctrine of Essence to the Doctrine of the Concept. Here we find discussions of both Spinozist and Kantian systems of philosophy: both are supposed to be helpful, and yet also to be lacking in instructive ways. So the initial hope is that these comparisons can help us to understand Hegel's own systematic argument, and what it means to transition from an objective to a 'Subjective Logic'. But the comparisons bring additional difficulties. First, to defend a comprehensive system involves refuting rivals, and the discussion of Spinoza demonstrates that refutation is difficult. Second, it is hard to see how any argument for Hegel's system could be akin to those in Spinoza and Kant given the extent of the differences between them. I argue that the best way to deal with these difficulties is to explain the systematic argument of the Logic as modelled on the Transcendental Dialectic of Kant's first Critique.
Akshata Murty ’02 & Rishi Sunak Associate Professor of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow
Martin, Adrienne. “Adrienne Martin on Hope.” Unmuted: Conversations on Prejudice, Oppression, and Social Justice, edited by Myisha Cherry. Oxford University Press, 2019, pp. 266-273.
Martin, Adrienne. “Gratitude and Directed Obligations.” The Moral Psychology of Gratitude, edited by Daniel Telech and Robert Roberts. Rowman & Littlefield, 2019, pp. 59-82.
Abstract: A survey of recent philosophical examinations of gratitude reveals a shared puzzlement about debts of gratitude. These debts are, philosophers generally agree, owed by beneficiaries to their benefactors (this essay focuses on gratitude in beneficiary-benefactor relationships). That is, beneficiary debts of gratitude are directed to the benefactor. The puzzlement is that philosophers also generally agree that benefactors have no right to gratitude, cannot demand or insist on gratitude--in sort, have no claim against the benefactor that they show gratitude. What, then, directs the debt of gratitude to the benefactor? If there is no correlative claim on the part of the benefactor, how is that the beneficiary owes gratitude to the benefactor, specifically? In this essay, I address this puzzlement.
Martin, Adrienne. Review of Aspiration: The Agency of Becoming, by Agnes Callard. European Journal of Philosophy, vol. 27, issue 3, 2019, pp. 814-817.
Martin, Adrienne. Review of Doing Valuable Time: The Present, the Future, and Meaningful Living, by Cheshire Calhoun. Ethics, vol. 129, no. 3, 2019, pp. 464-469.
External Grant: National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, fall 2019, $30,000.
Abstract: In the history of Western philosophy, Plato is often credited with originating dualism, the theory that the soul and body are distinct substances. Nonetheless, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the precise character of Platonic dualism. How, exactly, does Plato conceive of the opposition between the soul and the body? What kind of things does he take the soul and the body to be, and what are the defining attributes of each? How do they interact and potentially constitute a unity, an embodied person? And how does Plato understand the nature of the soul, such that it is capable of disembodied existence and of grasping forms, immaterial essences? Answering this is the central aim of my book, Plato's Philosophy of Mind: Soul, Body and Forms in Plato. I argue that Plato's conceptual framework, the way in which he distinguishes body and soul, differs markedly from contemporary approaches, and enables him to offer distinctive answers to questions that are central to the philosophy of mind.
Deborah & Kenneth Novack Professor of Ethics and Leadership and George R. Roberts Fellow
Rajczi, Alex. The Ethics of Universal Health Insurance. Oxford University Press, 2019.
Abstract: Millions of Americans lack health insurance, and thousands suffer and die every year. Philosophers have argued that an ideal society would avoid these problems by guaranteeing affordable access to health insurance, but what about people’s concerns that a universal health insurance system would be inefficient, create excessive fiscal risk, or impose high taxes and other personal costs? This book examines the ethical issues raised by these objections. It shows that the ethical principles underlying these concerns are legitimate and that they might even justify opposition to poorly designed universal health insurance plans. However, the objections do not undercut the moral case for adopting a well-designed universal health insurance system that improves on the gains made in the Affordable Care Act. Addressing these objections is important because they are philosophically rich and interesting, and since the objections help drive actual disagreements about health policy, responding to them also contributes to the real-world case for universal access to health insurance. Understanding these issues in the health care debate has larger upshots as well. It leads us to a deeper understanding of progressive and conservative views on distributive justice, and it provides a framework for analyzing debates about any part of the social safety net—in America and elsewhere.
Schroeder, S. Andrew. “What is Inductive Risk?” Review of Exploring Inductive Risk: Case Studies of Values in Science, edited by Kevin C. Elliott and Ted Richards. Metascience, vol. 28, issue 1, 2019, pp. 29-32.
Abstract: A review of a recent edited volume, with contributions from philosophers and scientists on the subject of "inductive risk" -- roughly, how scientists should weigh the risk of Type I vs. Type II error.
Schroeder, S. Andrew. “Which Values Should be Built into Economic Measures?” Economics & Philosophy, vol. 35, issue 3, 2019, pp. 521-536.
Abstract: Many economic measures are structured to reflect ethical values. I describe three attitudes towards this: maximalism, according to which we should aim to build all relevant values into measures; minimalism, according to which we should aim to keep values out of measures; and an intermediate view. I argue the intermediate view is likely correct, but existing versions are inadequate. In particular, economists have strong reason to structure measures to reflect fixed, as opposed to user-assessable, values. This implies that, despite disagreement about precisely how to do so, economists should standardly adjust QALYs and DALYs to reflect egalitarian values.
Toole, Briana. “Masculine Foes, Feminist Woes: A Response to Down Girl.” APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy, vol. 18, no. 2, 2019, pp. 10-14.
Abstract: In her book, Down Girl, Manne proposes to uncover the 'logic' of misogyny, bringing clarity to a notion that she describes as both 'loaded' and simultaneously 'politically marginal'. Manne is aware that full insight into the 'logic' of misogyny will require not just a 'what' but a 'why'. Though Manne finds herself largely devoted to the former task, the latter is in the not-too-distant periphery. Manne proposes to understand misogyny, as a general framework, in terms of what it does to women. Misogyny, she writes, is a system that polices and enforces the patriarchal social order (Manne 2018: 33). That's the 'what'. As for the 'why', Manne suggests that misogyny is what women experience because they fail to live up to the moral standards set out for women by that social order. I find Manne's analysis insightful, interesting and well argued. And yet, I find her account incomplete. While I remain fully convinced by her analysis of what misogyny is, I am less persuaded by her analysis of why misogyny is. For a full analysis of the 'logic' of misogyny, one needs to understand how the patriarchy manifests in men an interest in participating in its enforcement. Or so I hope to motivate here. I aim to draw a line from the patriarchy to toxic masculinity to misogyny, so that we have a clearer picture as to why men are invested in this system. I thus hope to offer here an analysis that is underdeveloped in Manne's book, but is equally worthy of attention if we want fully to understand the complex machinations underlying misogyny.
Toole, Briana. “From Standpoint Epistemology to Epistemic Oppression.” Hypatia, vol. 34, issue 4, 2019, pp. 598-618.
Abstract: Standpoint epistemology is committed to a cluster of views that pays special attention to the role of social identity in knowledge‐acquisition. Of particular interest here is the situated knowledge thesis. This thesis holds that for certain propositions p, whether an epistemic agent is in a position to know that p depends on some nonepistemic facts related to the epistemic agent's social identity. In this article, I examine two possible ways to interpret this thesis. My first goal here is to clarify existing interpretations of this thesis that appear in the literature but that are undeveloped and often mistakenly conflated. In so doing, I aim to make clear the different versions of standpoint epistemology that one might accept and defend. This project is of significance, I argue, because standpoint epistemology provides helpful tools for understanding a phenomenon of recent interest: epistemic oppression. My second goal is to provide an analysis that makes clear how each of the readings I put forth can be used to illuminate forms of epistemic oppression.