Epistemic Duty and Implicit Bias

In Kevin McCain & Scott Stapleford (eds.), Epistemic Duties: New Arguments, New Angles. New York: Routledge. pp. 125-145 (2020)
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In this chapter, we explore whether agents have an epistemic duty to eradicate implicit bias. Recent research shows that implicit biases are widespread and they have a wide variety of epistemic effects on our doxastic attitudes. First, we offer some examples and features of implicit biases. Second, we clarify what it means to have an epistemic duty, and discuss the kind of epistemic duties we might have regarding implicit bias. Third, we argue that we have an epistemic duty to eradicate implicit biases that have negative epistemic impact. Finally, we defend this view against the objection that we lack the relevant control over implicit bias that’s required for such a duty. We argue that we have a kind of reflective control over the implicit biases that we are duty-bound to eradicate. And since, as we show, we have this control over a wide variety of implicit biases, there are a lot of implicit biases that we have epistemic duties to eradicate.

Author Profiles

Lindsay Rettler
University of Wyoming
Bradley Rettler
University of Wyoming


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