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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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Attributability, Accountability, and Implicit Bias

Attributability, Accountability, and Implicit Bias

Chapter:
(p.62) 1.3 Attributability, Accountability, and Implicit Bias
Source:
Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 2
Author(s):

Robin Zheng

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198766179.003.0004

This chapter distinguishes between two concepts of moral responsibility. We are responsible for our actions in the first sense only when those actions reflect our identities as moral agents, i.e. when they are attributable to us. We are responsible in the second sense when it is appropriate for others to enforce certain expectations and demands on those actions, i.e. to hold us accountable for them. This distinction allows for an account of moral responsibility for implicit bias, defended here, on which people may lack attributability for actions caused by implicit bias but are still accountable for them. What this amounts to is leaving aside appraisal-based forms of moral criticism such as blame and punishment in favor of non-appraising forms of accountability. This account not only does more justice to our moral experience and agency, but will also lead to more effective practices for combating the harms of implicit bias.

Keywords:   moral responsibility, attributability, accountability, implicit bias, appraisal-based responses, non-appraising responses, blame, Scanlon, self-determination theory

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