Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy


Rima Basu has described radical moral encroachment as a theory that detaches wronging from action and attaches it to the belief instead. Furthermore, the stakes are associated with the wrongness of the belief rather than the risk of being false. Basu believes that this form of encroachment accurately captures our modern intuition on how racism functions. However, this paper lays out objections to this form of thinking. The rebuttal includes making the distinction between assumptions, probabilities, and outright beliefs. Probabilities and assumptions cannot be equated with an outright belief. Next, there is the issue of making the wronging of another an internal action. It remains unclear how one can wrong another without any action toward the other. Third, there is the dilemma of the point at which the truth can outweigh a “racist fact” or “immoral fact”. If one admits that any moral wrongness outweighs the truth, then it would be easy to become detached from reality and truth. If one admits that the truth holds more importance, there would be no need to uphold any form of moral encroachment at all. Finally, there is the extreme burden that would be placed on those who attempt to practice epistemological responsibility under radical moral encroachment. This paper provides objections that serve to refute the validity of radical moral encroachment as a useful or practical epistemological theory.

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