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Philosophical Topics

Volume 46, Issue 1, Spring 2018

Can Beliefs Be Wrong?

Endre Begby
Pages 155-172
DOI: 10.5840/philtopics20184619

Doxastic Morality
A Moderately Skeptical Perspective

Beliefs can cause moral wrongs, no doubt, but can they also constitute moral wrongs in their own right? This paper offers some grounds to be skeptical of the idea that there are moral norms which operate directly on belief, independently of any epistemic norms also operating on belief. The resultant skepticism is moderate in the following sense: it holds that the motivations underlying the doxastic morality approach should not be dismissed lightly; they are genuine insights and serve to bring to light important new issues concerning the interaction between our notions of moral and epistemic responsibility. Nonetheless, it is also skeptical, in holding that these concerns are ultimately best voiced in more traditional categories which distinguish the epistemology of belief from the morality of action.