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Implicit bias: a sin of omission?

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author van Loon Marie,
Project Irrationality
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Philosophical Explorations
Volume (Issue) 24(3)
Page(s) 325 - 336
Title of proceedings Philosophical Explorations
DOI 10.1080/13869795.2021.1923784

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


It is widely believed that implicit bias is common and that it contributes, in part, to the perpetuation of systemic injustice. Hence, the existence of implicit bias raises the question: can individuals be blameworthy for their implicit bias? Here, I consider what it is about implicit bias that renders agents blameworthy. I defend the claim that, when individuals omit to engage in activities that could prevent the influence of implicit bias on their behavior, they may be blamed for their implicit bias. The plausibility of my proposal depends on whether individuals are able to engage freely in such activities and on whether there exists an obligation not to be biased (broadly put). I will answer positively to the former question and open the way for an answer to the latter, and tougher, question.