Faith in Humanity

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, DOI: 10.1111/phpr.12024, Forthcoming

37 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2013 Last revised: 11 May 2013

See all articles by Ryan Preston-Roedder

Ryan Preston-Roedder

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: January 31, 2013

Abstract

History and literature provide striking examples of people who are morally admirable, in part, because they have some form of faith in people’s decency – figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, and Alyosha Karamazov. Nevertheless, moral philosophers have largely ignored this trait. And I suspect that many philosophers would view such faith with suspicion, dismissing it as a form of naïvete, or some other objectionable form of epistemic irrationality. I argue that such suspicion is misplaced, and that having a certain form of faith in people’s decency, which I call faith in humanity, is a centrally important moral virtue. To make this view intuitively more plausible, I discuss two moral exemplars – one historical and the other literary – whose lives vividly exhibit such faith. Then I offer a rationale for the view that having faith in humanity is morally admirable.

Keywords: Faith, Trust, Hope, Virtue, Moral exemplars, Epistemic bias

Suggested Citation

Preston-Roedder, Ryan, Faith in Humanity (January 31, 2013). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, DOI: 10.1111/phpr.12024, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2224311

Ryan Preston-Roedder (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

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