Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 251–265 | Cite as

Explicit Reasons, Implicit Stereotypes and the Effortful Control of the Mind

Article

Abstract

Research in psychology clearly shows that implicit biases contribute significantly to our behaviour. What is less clear, however, is whether we are responsible for our implicit biases in the same way that we are responsible for our explicit beliefs. Neil Levy has argued recently that explicit beliefs are special with regard to the responsibility we have for them, because they unify the agent. In this paper we point out multiple ways in which implicit biases also unify the agent. We then examine Levy’s claim that the assertibility of explicit beliefs means that they have a unique way of unifying the agent by being available for syntactical operations. We accept that syntactical operations are important, but worry that they are less straightforwardly connected to the unification of agents than Levy claims.

Keywords

Explicit reasons Implicit biases Moral responsibility Assertibility Control Mental actions 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophy Psychology and Language SciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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