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“Responsibility from the Outside In: Shaping the Moral Ecology Around Implicit Bias” by Daniel Kelly (Purdue University)

Date: 3:30pm - 5:00pm PDT March 14, 2014 Location: JRHH 202

JRHH 202

The main claim I aim to defend is that people can be responsible for actions that are influenced by implicit biases they do not know they have, and that they would disavow if they were made aware of. My defense of that claim will involve framing the issue in terms of kinds of control-based and knowledge based exculpating conditions commonly taken to excuse actions, laying out the core features of implicit biases, and considering whether anything about the character or operation of implicit biases themselves satisfies those conditions, or guarantees that actions influenced by them should be excused. I formulate and reject several arguments that suggest a positive answer. I then present a thought experiment designed to support my central claim, and pump the intuition that not all of the knowledge relevant to moral responsibility and exculpation need be “in the head” of the agent whose actions are being evaluated. Finally, I comment on some general features of my approach and the questions that it raises.

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