The Original Sin of Cognition: Fear, Prejudice, and Generalization

Journal of Philosophy 114 (8):393-421 (2017)
Authors
Sarah-Jane Leslie
Princeton University
Abstract
Generic generalizations such as ‘mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus’ or ‘sharks attack bathers’ are often accepted by speakers despite the fact that very few members of the kinds in question have the predicated property. Previous work suggests that such low-prevalence generalizations may be accepted when the properties in question are dangerous, harmful, or appalling. This paper argues that the study of such generic generalizations sheds light on a particular class of prejudiced social beliefs, and points to new ways in which those beliefs might be undermined and combatted.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.5840/jphil2017114828
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Citations of this work BETA

On the Epistemic Costs of Implicit Bias.Tamar Gendler - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (1):33-63.
Can We Perceive Mental States?Eleonore Neufeld - forthcoming - Synthese:1-25.
The Epistemology of Prejudice.Endre Begby - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):90-99.
Generics Oversimplified.Sarah-Jane Leslie - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):28-54.

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