Keith Whittingslow Prize for Best Graduate Essay

Prize Presentation and Winner’s Essay Presentation

“A Partial Case for Pragmatic Encroachment”
by Sera Kong

Friday, March 15, 2024, 2:30 PM
Sakamaki Hall C-308

The Keith Whittingslow Prize is awarded for the Best Graduate Essay in the Department of Philosophy. Until he passed away in 2015, Keith Whittingslow was a good friend of the UHM Philosophy Department and a regular participant in a wide variety of graduate seminars. The essay prize competition is sponsored by his wife, Pat, in memory of Keith’s personal dedication to the discipline of philosophy. Sera Kong will present her winning essay, “A Partial Case for Pragmatic Encroachment.”  

There are certain morally problematic beliefs that nevertheless seem epistemically rational to form insofar as there appears to be evidence for these beliefs. Moral encroachment is meant to dissolve the tension in cases like these by having our moral considerations influence our epistemic standards for belief. In this presentation, Ms. Kong will challenge the efficacy of moral encroachment as a solution to apparent conflicts between fairness and accuracy by examining situations in which high-stakes practical concerns clash with high-stakes moral concerns. She will end by offering two considerations for addressing these kinds of situations that attempt to respect the importance of both moral and practical concerns.