Implicit Bias & Philosophy International Research Project

Unconscious biases against members of stigmatised groups have been studied by psychologists for decades, but only recently have philosophers explored this phenomenon. This project brings researchers from both fields together with policy professionals to work through the implications

Over the last decade, a large psychological literature has developed on implicit biases. There is by now substantial empirical support for the claim that most people— even those who explicitly and sincerely avow egalitarian views—hold what have been described as implicit biases against such groups as blacks, women, gay people, and so on. (This is true even of members of the “target” group.)

These biases are manifested in, for example, association tasks asking subjects to pair positive and negative adjectives with black or white faces: most are much speedier to match black faces with negative adjectives than with positive ones. They are also, it has been argued, manifested in behaviour: studies have shown that those with anti-black implicit biases are less friendly to black experimenters and more likely to classify an ambiguous object as a gun when it’s associated with a black person and as harmless when it’s associated with a white person.

In 2011-2013 the Leverhulme foundation enabled this project to host a series of workshops and a conference, bringing together philosophers, psychologists and others to work through these issues together for the first time. Two volumes of edited papers from these conferences are now forthcoming with Oxford University Press:

  • Michael Brownstein and Jennifer Saul, eds. Implicit Bias and Philosophy Volume I: Metaphysics and Epistemology, Oxford University Press.
  • Michael Brownstein and Jennifer Saul, eds. Implicit Bias and Philosophy Volume II: Moral Responsibility, Structural Injustice, and Ethics, Oxford University Press

The Implicit Bias & Philosophy International Research Network has been made possible by a generous grant from the Leverhulme Trust, the University of Sheffield and persp.


Taking Care of Our Health

Every year, I go to the doctor and get a checkup. It’s simple; we discuss what I’ve been up to the past year, whether there had been any changes in my life style or normal routine. And I get my blood tested.  It’s a good way to evaluate the health of my physical body. If I’m in good health, then I know my daily regimen is adequate; if not, then I know that I need to make some changes.

Similarly, we need to check our spiritual health. We can do this by evaluating how we’re doing with our japa meditation and/or Gauranga breathing. Are we regularly finding time to do these activities daily? Is the quality of our meditation increasing, decreasing, or staying the same? It’s understandable that sometimes work, family life or other personal stresses may take up more of our time now and then. However, japa meditation and Gauranga breathing are important, because they are transcendental activities which bring true happiness to you, the spirit soul, which can make dealing with unforeseen stresses or problems much easier. If you’re like me and find yourself struggling now and then, I have a couple of suggestions that may help get you back on track.

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Deborah Sampson Act

Women have served in various roles in the U.S. military throughout the nation’s history. The first time men and women were shipped out together during wartime conditions was when the U.S.S. Acadia departed from San Diego for the Persian Gulf on September 5, 1990. Since that time, there have been advancements and setbacks in the involvement of women together with men in training and combat settings. In January 2013, the ban on women serving in combat roles was lifted. That was a huge milestone, but the respect and acceptance of women in the military has not made sufficient progress.

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