The rational dynamics of implicit thought

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (4):774-788 (2022)
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Abstract

Implicit attitudes are mental states posited by psychologists to explain behaviors including implicit racial and gender bias. In this paper I investigate the belief view of the implicit attitudes, on which implicit attitudes are a kind of implicit belief. In particular, I focus on why implicit attitudes, if they are beliefs, are often resistant to updating in light of new evidence. I argue that extant versions of the belief view do not give a satisfactory account of this phenomenon. This is because proponents of the belief view have focused on overly narrow explanations of recalcitrance in terms of belief storage. Expanding the focus of the belief view to the kinds of irrational and arational transitions between beliefs and other mental states provides compelling (if preliminary) explanations of recalcitrance.

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Brett Karlan
Purdue University