In my last post I suggested some reasons for thinking that beliefs based on implicit biases (BBIP) were at least sometimes, epistemically innocent. In this post I will outline some implications of their being so.
I am interested in two kinds of implication, if beliefs based on implicit bias are epistemically innocent, we might think that this tell us something about:
(1) Responsibility for implicit bias.
(2) How we ought to take the implicit bias.
With respect to (1), I do not think BBIP being epistemically innocent brings anything new to the debate. It is the No Relevant Alternatives Condition that we ought to focus on here. If BBIP meet the No Relevant Alternatives Condition, this does not speak against the responsibility or no responsibility views. For example, Jennifer Saul argues that a ‘person should not be blamed for an implicit bias of which they are completely unaware that results solely from the fact that they live in a sexist culture’ (Saul 2013: 55). She goes further arguing that even once one becomes aware of some implicit bias one holds, it does not follow that one can then control how that bias affects one’s behaviour, and so one should still ought not be blamed for having it (Saul 2013: 55). Saul’s claim that individuals are unaware of their implicit bias is in line with beliefs based on them meeting the No Relevant Alternatives condition, so she may not object to my claim that BBIP meet this condition. You might think then, that BBIP being epistemically innocence (specifically: meeting the No Relevant Alternatives Condition), speaks for no responsibility views.