Accessibility, implicit bias, and epistemic justification

Synthese 198 (Suppl 7):1529-1547 (2018)
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It has recently been argued that beliefs formed on the basis of implicit biases pose a challenge for accessibilism, since implicit biases are consciously inaccessible, yet they seem to be relevant to epistemic justification. Recent empirical evidence suggests, however, that while we may typically lack conscious access to the source of implicit attitudes and their impact on our beliefs and behaviour, we do have access to their content. In this paper, I discuss the notion of accessibility required for this argument to work vis-à-vis these empirical results and offer two ways in which the accessibilist could meet the challenge posed by implicit biases. Ultimately both strategies fail, but the way in which they do, I conclude, reveals something general and important about our epistemic obligations and about the intuitions that inform the role of implicit biases in accessibilist justification.
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Archival date: 2018-06-20
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