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Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 2Moral Responsibility,  Structural Injustice, and Ethics$
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Michael Brownstein and Jennifer Saul

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198766179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198766179.001.0001

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Context and the Ethics of Implicit Bias

Context and the Ethics of Implicit Bias

(p.215) 3.2 Context and the Ethics of Implicit Bias
Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 2

Michael Brownstein

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the ethical ramifications of the effects of context on the activation and expression in behaviour of implicit biases. My central claim is that an ethics of implicit bias must illuminate how agents can cultivate the right sort of relationships with the situations and contexts that affect their attitudes and behaviour. This notion, of cultivating the right sort of “ambient” relationships, has been underdescribed by most ethical thinking about implicit bias. Such discussions usually focus on the relationship between attitudes or mental states within agents, not considering their interaction with the agent’s context. I borrow ideas from the “situationist” literature, and discuss recent research on attitude change, in order to sketch the outline of what I call a “contextualist” ethics. The contextualist strategies I discuss help to point the way forward in designing more effective bias-reduction interventions.

Keywords:   implicit bias, interventions, situationism, context, harmony, ethics

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