KCL MAP reading group will be looking at ‘The rational impermissibility of accepting (some) racial generalizations’ by Renee Bolinger . We will be meeting 13:00-14:00, on Wednesday 12th Feb, at Activity Room B, 8th Floor, South East Wing, Bush House.
Abstract: I argue that inferences from highly probabilifying racial generalizations (e.g. believing that Jones is a janitor, on the grounds that most Salvadoreans at the school are janitors) are not solely objectionable because acting on such inferences would be problematic, or they violate a moral norm, but because they violate a distinctively epistemic norm. They involve accepting a proposition when, given the costs of a mistake, one is not adequately justified in doing so. First I sketch an account of the nature of adequate justification—practical adequacy with respect to eliminating the ¬p possibilities from one’s epistemic statespace. Second, I argue that inferences based on demographic generalizations tend to disproportionately expose group members to the risks associated with mistakenly assuming stereotypical propositions, and so magnify the wrong involved in relying on such inferences without adequate justification.