Implicit Bias, Character and Control

In Alberto Masala & Jonathan Webber (eds.), From Personality to Virtue: Essays on the Philosophy of Character. Oxford: Oxford University Press UK. pp. 106-133 (2016)
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Abstract

Our focus here is on whether, when influenced by implicit biases, those behavioural dispositions should be understood as being a part of that person’s character: whether they are part of the agent that can be morally evaluated.[4]  We frame this issue in terms of control. If a state, process, or behaviour is not something that the agent can, in the relevant sense, control, then it is not something that counts as part of her character. A number of theorists have argued that individuals do not have control, in the relevant sense, over the operation of implicit bias. We will argue that this claim is mistaken. We articulate and develop a notion of control that individuals have with respect to implicit bias, and argue that this kind of control can ground character-based evaluation of such behavioural dispositions.

Author Profiles

Jules Holroyd
University of Sheffield
Daniel Kelly
Purdue University

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