Implicit Bias and Prejudice

In Miranda Fricker, Peter J. Graham, David Henderson, Nikolaj Pedersen & Jeremy Wyatt (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology (forthcoming)
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Recent empirical research has substantiated the finding that very many of us harbour implicit biases: fast, automatic, and difficult to control processes that encode stereotypes and evaluative content, and influence how we think and behave. Since it is difficult to be aware of these processes - they have sometimes been referred to as operating 'unconsciously' - we may not know that we harbour them, nor be alert to their influence on our cognition and action. And since they are difficult to control, considerable work is required to prevent their influence. We here focus on the implications of these findings for epistemology. We first look at ways in which implicit biases thwart our knowledge seeking practices (sections 1 & 2). Then we set out putative epistemic benefits of implicit bias, before considering ways in which epistemic practices might be improved (section 3). Finally, we consider the distinctive challenges that the findings about implicit bias pose to us as philosophers, in the context of feminist philosophy in particular (section 4).
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