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The Problem of Implicit Bias and the Limits of Moral Responsibility.

Psychological research has shown that most people have some implicit biases towards some or multiple stigmatised social groups. This means that a person, who would describe herself as not racist, sexist, ageist, xenophobic etc. and who truly believes in the equal treatment of all people, could have biases that she does not directly know of, that can affect her judgement and action, resulting in discriminatory behaviour. For example, imagine a director of a small business who must decide which of three applicants she should hire. She compares their CV's and interviews each applicant, and while she is confident that she has made the right choice, based only on the quality of the applicant, her hiring decision was influenced by the identity features of the applicants. We would then say she has an implicit bias. These findings have raised many questions about how we should think about our moral responsibility for these biases. Are people responsible for having implicit biases and/or their manifestation in behaviour, even if they have limited control over or knowledge of them? If people can be so mistaken about their motives, how should we think about our capacity for selfknowledge? What steps can people take to prevent these biases from influencing their actions? My aim is to answer these questions in a novel way, arguing that bias is a vice, and to show how the innovative moral ecology approach can help to better understand the problem and provide solutions to it.
Date:1 Oct 2018 →  30 Sep 2020
Disciplines:Theory and methodology of philosophy, Philosophy, Other philosophy, ethics and religious studies not elsewhere classified