Time we returned to our proposed evidence principle:
[EP3] If anything is morally wrong, then it is morally wrong to believe anything, within the category of descriptive belief, on insufficient evidence, in the absence of any conflicting and overriding moral imperative.
A principle like this lays on the believer a prima facie burden of justification for acquiring and/or holding descriptive beliefs. To justify a belief morally, the believer would need to demonstrate that either:
(i) It is supported by evidence; or
(ii) By not believing the believer would breach a conflicting and overriding moral imperative.
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For a short time in 1970 a lady by the name of Susan Haack had the unenviable task of teaching me Logic.
Many years later she published a paper1 which our meanderings have now brought us to.
The last few instalments have looked at Jonathan Adler’s ‘intrinsic’ approach to the ethics of belief: see Jonathan Adler: Belief’s Own Ethics #1 onwards. Adler sees the ethics of belief as ‘imposed by the concept of belief itself’,2 not as a matter of the rationality or morality of belief.
We’ll have more to say about Adler later. But now I want to return to the idea of an evidence principle expressed in moral terms.