Anna Brinkerhoff, "The Moral Virtue of Social Consciousness"


Leacock Building Room 927, 855 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 2T7, CA

Colloquium Series

Anna Brinkerhoff, Concordia University

"The Moral Virtue of Social Consciousness"

Friday, January 27, 2023
3:30-5:30 PM EST
Leacock 927

Abstract: Social consciousness – which amounts to something like ‘being woke’ – is a cognitive sensitivity to social injustices in one’s local environment and broader culture. From here, social consciousness can be accounted for in a variety of ways. Recently, it’s been suggested that we can understand social consciousness through the lens of moral encroachment: to be social consciousness is to fulfill a moral duty to believe in accordance with the dictates of moral encroachment. After considering this account, I raise a few worries: it involves controversial theoretical commitments, entails unintuitive verdicts in important cases, and appears to be too demanding. In light of these worries, I develop a new account of social consciousness: social consciousness is a morally virtuous cognitive disposition that manifests primarily in certain doxastic states. I argue that the virtue account not only captures important intuitions about social consciousness, but also weathers the worries that trouble the encroachment account.

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