Biased by our imaginings

Mind and Language 34 (5):627-647 (2018)
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Abstract

I propose a new model of implicit bias, according to which implicit biases are constituted by unconscious imaginings. I begin by endorsing a principle of parsimony when confronted with unfamiliar phenomena. I introduce implicit bias in terms congenial to what most philosophers and psychologists have said about their nature in the literature so far, before moving to a discussion of the doxastic model of implicit bias and objections to it. I then introduce unconscious imagination and argue that appeal to it does not represent a departure from a standard view of imagination, before outlining my model and showing how it accommodates characteristic features of implicit bias. I argue for its advantages over the doxastic model: it does not violate the parsimony principle, it does not face any of the objections so far raised to doxasticism, and it can accommodate the heterogeneity in the category of implicit bias. Finally, I address whether my view limits our ability to hold people accountable for their biases (it does not), and whether it is consistent with what we know about intervention strategies (it is). I conclude that implicit biases are constituted by unconscious imaginings.

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Ema Sullivan-Bissett
University of Birmingham

Citations of this work

Imaginative Beliefs.Joshua Myers - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
The Structure of Bias.Gabbrielle M. Johnson - 2020 - Mind 129 (516):1193-1236.
Implicit Bias as Mental Imagery.Bence Nanay - 2021 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 7 (3):329-347.
Imagination and Belief in Action.Anna Ichino - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (5):1517-1534.
Can imagination be unconscious?Amy Kind - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13121-13141.

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References found in this work

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
Alief and Belief.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):634-663.

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