VCU philosophy professor receives national award for article exploring the morality and rationality of beliefs – VCU News


James fritz, Ph.D., assistant professor at Department of Philosophy in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University, was named one of two recipients of the Routledge, Taylor & Francis Awards 2021, which is awarded by the American Philosophical Society for the two best published articles in philosophy written by contingent professors.

“It is a tremendous honor that my work has been selected by the American Philosophical Association for the Routledge, Taylor & Francis Award,” he said. “I am struck by a feeling of gratitude to the community which has supported both this project and my other research projects. I am grateful for the many conversations with talented philosophers who have helped me refine my thinking, for the encouragement and resources that have been offered to me by the College of Humanities and Sciences, for my fantastic colleagues in the Department of VCU’s philosophy, and above all, for the continued love and support of my family.

Fritz’s article, “Moral encroachment and reasons of the wrong kind», Was published in the journal Philosophical Studies in October 2019.

The article, Fritz explained, is about two types of questions that can be asked about beliefs: which beliefs would be morally best for a person, and which beliefs are rational for a person.

“It’s tempting at first to think that these issues are unrelated,” he said. “The fact that it would be morally wonderful for me to always believe the best of others, for example, wouldn’t make it rational for me to always believe the best of others. But some philosophers have recently argued that this tempting first thought is wrong: they argue, on the contrary, that there are subtle and surprising connections between the morality of belief and the rationality of belief.

“In this article,” he says, “I make some recommendations on how to understand the connection between morality and rationality. The point of view I am defending sheds light both on very general questions about the nature of rationality and on concrete questions on what to believe in specific cases. For example, it helps shed light on precisely what is wrong when people form morally objectionable beliefs about others on the sole basis of their membership in social groups (as in cases of racial profiling).


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