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Rima Basu
Claremont McKenna College
  1. The wrongs of racist beliefs.Rima Basu - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2497-2515.
    We care not only about how people treat us, but also what they believe of us. If I believe that you’re a bad tipper given your race, I’ve wronged you. But, what if you are a bad tipper? It is commonly argued that the way racist beliefs wrong is that the racist believer either misrepresents reality, organizes facts in a misleading way that distorts the truth, or engages in fallacious reasoning. In this paper, I present a case that challenges this (...)
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  2. Doxastic Wronging.Rima Basu & Mark Schroeder - 2019 - In Brian Kim & Matthew McGrath (eds.), Pragmatic Encroachment in Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 181-205.
    In the Book of Common Prayer’s Rite II version of the Eucharist, the congregation confesses, “we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed”. According to this confession we wrong God not just by what we do and what we say, but also by what we think. The idea that we can wrong someone not just by what we do, but by what think or what we believe, is a natural one. It is the kind of wrong we feel (...)
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  3. Can Beliefs Wrong?Rima Basu - 2018 - Philosophical Topics 46 (1):1-17.
    We care what people think of us. The thesis that beliefs wrong, although compelling, can sound ridiculous. The norms that properly govern belief are plausibly epistemic norms such as truth, accuracy, and evidence. Moral and prudential norms seem to play no role in settling the question of whether to believe p, and they are irrelevant to answering the question of what you should believe. This leaves us with the question: can we wrong one another by virtue of what we believe (...)
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  4. What We Epistemically Owe To Each Other.Rima Basu - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):915–931.
    This paper is about an overlooked aspect—the cognitive or epistemic aspect—of the moral demand we place on one another to be treated well. We care not only how people act towards us and what they say of us, but also what they believe of us. That we can feel hurt by what others believe of us suggests both that beliefs can wrong and that there is something we epistemically owe to each other. This proposal, however, surprises many theorists who claim (...)
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  5. Radical moral encroachment: The moral stakes of racist beliefs.Rima Basu - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):9-23.
    Historical patterns of discrimination seem to present us with conflicts between what morality requires and what we epistemically ought to believe. I will argue that these cases lend support to the following nagging suspicion: that the epistemic standards governing belief are not independent of moral considerations. We can resolve these seeming conflicts by adopting a framework wherein standards of evidence for our beliefs to count as justified can shift according to the moral stakes. On this account, believing a paradigmatically racist (...)
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  6. The Ethics of Expectations.Rima Basu - 2023 - In Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, vol 13. Oxford University Press. pp. 149-169.
    This chapter asks two questions about the ethics of expectations: one about the nature of expectations, and one about the wrongs of expectations. On the first question, expectations involve a rich constellation of attitudes ranging from beliefs to also include imaginings, hopes, fears, and dreams. As a result, sometimes expectations act like predictions, like your expectation of rain tomorrow, sometimes prescriptions, like the expectation that your students will do the reading, sometimes like proleptic reasons like the hope that your mentee (...)
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  7. Morality of Belief I: How Beliefs Wrong.Rima Basu - 2023 - Philosophy Compass (7):1-10.
    It is no surprise that we should be careful when it comes to what we believe. Believing false things can be costly. The morality of belief, also known as doxastic wronging, takes things a step further by suggesting that certain beliefs can not only be costly, they can also wrong. This article surveys some accounts of how this could be so. That is, how beliefs wrong.
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  8. The Importance of Forgetting.Rima Basu - 2022 - Episteme 19 (4):471-490.
    Morality bears on what we should forget. Some aspects of our identity are meant to be forgotten and there is a distinctive harm that accompanies the permanence of some content about us, content that prompts a duty to forget. To make the case that forgetting is an integral part of our moral duties to others, the paper proceeds as follows. In §1, I make the case that forgetting is morally evaluable and I survey three kinds of forgetting: no-trace forgetting, archival (...)
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  9.  98
    Morality of Belief II: Three Challenges and An Extension.Rima Basu - 2023 - Philosophy Compass (7):1-9.
    In this paper I explore three challenges to the morality of belief. First, whether we have the necessary control over our beliefs to be held responsible for them, i.e., the challenge of doxastic involuntarism. Second, the question of whether belief is really the attitude that we care about in the cases used to motivate the morality of belief. Third, whether attitudes weaker than belief, such as credence, can wrong, I then end by turning to how answers to the previous challenges (...)
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  10. Beliefs That Wrong.Rima Basu - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
    You shouldn’t have done it. But you did. Against your better judgment you scrolled to the end of an article concerning the state of race relations in America and you are now reading the comments. Amongst the slurs, the get-rich-quick schemes, and the threats of physical violence, there is one comment that catches your eye. Spencer argues that although it might be “unpopular” or “politically incorrect” to say this, the evidence supports believing that the black diner in his section will (...)
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  11. A Tale of Two Doctrines: Moral Encroachment and Doxastic Wronging.Rima Basu - 2021 - In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Applied Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 99-118.
    In this paper, I argue that morality might bear on belief in at least two conceptually distinct ways. The first is that morality might bear on belief by bearing on questions of justification. The claim that it does is the doctrine of moral encroachment. The second, is that morality might bear on belief given the central role belief plays in mediating and thereby constituting our relationships with one another. The claim that it does is the doctrine of doxastic wronging. Though (...)
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  12. Risky Inquiry: Developing an Ethics for Philosophical Practice.Rima Basu - 2023 - Hypatia 38:275-293.
    Philosophical inquiry strives to be the unencumbered exploration of ideas. That is, unlike scientific research which is subject to ethical oversight, it is commonly thought that it would either be inappropriate, or that it would undermine what philosophy fundamentally is, if philosophical research were subject to similar ethical oversight. Against this, I argue that philosophy is in need of a reckoning. Philosophical inquiry is a morally hazardous practice with its own risks. There are risks present in the methods we employ, (...)
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  13. Against Publishing Without Belief: Fake News, Misinformation, and Perverse Publishing Incentives.Rima Basu - forthcoming - In Sandy Goldberg & Mark Walker (eds.), Attitude in Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    The problem of fake news and the spread of misinformation has garnered a lot of attention in recent years. The incentives and norms that give rise to the problem, however, are not unique to journalism. Insofar as academics and journalists are working towards the same goal, i.e., publication, they are both under pressures that pervert. This chapter has two aims. First, to integrate conversations in philosophy of science, epistemology, and metaphilosophy to draw out the publishing incentives that promote analogous problems (...)
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  14. The Ethics of Belief (3rd edition).Rima Basu - forthcoming - In Kurt Sylvan, Ernest Sosa, Jonathan Dancy & Matthias Steup (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Epistemology, 3rd edition. Wiley Blackwell.
    This chapter is a survey of the ethics of belief. It begins with the debate as it first emerges in the foundational dispute between W. K. Clifford and William James. Then it surveys how the disagreements between Clifford and James have shaped the work of contemporary theorists, touching on topics such as pragmatism, whether we should believe against the evidence, pragmatic and moral encroachment, doxastic partiality, and doxastic wronging.
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  15. The Specter of Normative Conflict: Does Fairness Require Inaccuracy?Rima Basu - 2020 - In Erin Beeghly & Alex Madva (eds.), An Introduction to Implicit Bias: Knowledge, Justice, and the Social Mind. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. pp. 191-210.
    A challenge we face in a world that has been shaped by, and continues to be shaped by, racist attitudes and institutions is that the evidence is often stacked in favor of racist beliefs. As a result, we may find ourselves facing the following conflict: what if the evidence we have supports something we morally shouldn’t believe? For example, it is morally wrong to assume, solely on the basis of someone’s skin color, that they’re a staff member. But, what if (...)
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  16. Syllabus Design and World-Making.Rima Basu - forthcoming - In Brynn Welch (ed.), The Art of Teaching. Bloomsbury.
    There are many commonalities between the framework of roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons and the way in which we design classes and assignments. The professor (the dungeon master) selects a number of readings with some end goal in mind (the campaign). Along the way the students are expected to be active participants (roleplay) and the professor designs progressively harder assignments (quests) in order to test the students’ abilities and to promote learning and growth (leveling up). This structural analogy (...)
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  17. Belief.Rima Basu - 2022 - The Philosopher 110 (2):7-10.
    If you’re familiar with Tolkien’s The Hobbit I don’t need to tell you that Mirkwood is a dangerous place. As bad as we might feel for Thorin and company as they try to navigate the forest and fall prey to its traps, we should feel worse for ourselves. Our world is also dangerous and difficult, but in a different way. Although it’s some comfort that the spiders of our world are smaller, it is easier to travel through Mirkwood than it (...)
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  18. The Challenges of Thick Diversity, Polarization, Debiasing, and Tokenization for Cross-Group Teaching: Some Critical Notes.Rima Basu - forthcoming - In Eric Beerbohm & Elizabeth Beaumont (eds.), NOMOS LXVI: Civic Education in Polarized Times. NYU Press.
    The powerful role that teachers can play in our development is the focus Binyamin, Jayusi, and Tamir’s chapter in this volume. They argue that teachers, in particular teachers that don’t share the same background as their students, can help counter the increasing polarization that characterizes our current era. In these critical notes I raise three challenges to their proposal. First, by exploring the mechanisms of polarization I demonstrate that polarization is not a problem unique to thick diversity or thick multiculturalism. (...)
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  19.  91
    To avoid moral failure, don’t see people as Sherlock does.Rima Basu - 2019 - Aeon.
    If we’re the kind of people who care both about not being racist, and also about basing our beliefs on the evidence that we have, then the world presents us with a challenge. The world is pretty racist. It shouldn’t be surprising then that sometimes it seems as if the evidence is stacked in favour of some racist belief. For example, it’s racist to assume that someone’s a staff member on the basis of his skin colour. But what if it’s (...)
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