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Mutual Unprovable Accusations of Wrongdoing

Webcast Q&A: 15 January 2012, Question 2

I answered a question on mutual unprovable accusations of wrongdoing for Philosophy in Action Radio on 15 January 2012. You can listen to or download the podcast segment below – or check out the whole episode.

How should a rational person evaluate unproven accusations of serious wrongdoing about people he deals with? I recently heard some information about a business associate's dealings with another of his associates that, if true, would make me reconsider doing business with him. However, his side of the story is that the other person is the one who acted wrongly. This is a serious matter, and it's clear that one or both of them acted very badly, but since I was not personally involved and the only information I have is of a "he said/she said" nature, I am not sure how to decide what I should do. Am I right to consider the information I heard at all, since I can't confirm it?

My Answer, In Brief: Such dilemmas of moral judgment are difficult to navigate, and ideally, you either know enough about the characters of people in question or you can gather that information in order to come to an informed judgment. If you must choose between the two people now, then you should do so provisionally, as best as you can.

Tags: Business, Conflict, Epistemology, Ethics, Judgment, Justice, Rationality, Relationships


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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."

My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and most Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or chat about a topic of interest.

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