Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 48, 2023

Joshua Shaw
Pages 1-20

An Error Theory for Misanthropy

This article defends misanthropy against what I take to be an underappreciated objection. Several recent defenders of misanthropy have held that it should be understood as involving a critical judgment of humanity based on the belief that human life is saturated with moral failings. The first half of this article identifies a problem for this view: namely, most people do not experience their lives in ways that would seem to be entailed by the misanthrope’s judgment. The second half proposes a solution to this objection—an error theory for misanthropy. Several arguments are given. A common theme among them, however, is that there are good reasons to think that human beings habitually ignore and/or suppress certain displays of their moral failings. A misanthrope can also argue that beings whose lives are choked in moral failings will be more likely to overlook and to disavow them.