Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy 2021-22, Session 10

Harmful habits: Responsibility for implicitly biased behaviour
Josefa Toribio (Logos, ICREA, University of Barcelona)

12 November 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: This talk has a two-fold goal. First, I defend the view that the prejudicial behaviour that results from implicit biases is best understood as a type of habitual action — as a harmful, yet deeply entrenched, passively acquired, socially relevant type of habit. Second, I explore how characterizing such implicitly biased behaviour as a habit aids our understanding of the responsibility we bear for it. As habits are ultimately susceptible of being controlled, agents ought to be held responsible for their implicit biased actions. Yet, the blaming response should target agents only insofar as they have failed (while being able) to develop a particular kind of ability: the ability to spot the kind of situations that require the exercise of the relevant intellectual, moral, social, and prudential obligations. Being thus responsible, however, is consistent with the agent’s not being blameworthy. For the automaticity of the blamed agent’s implicitly biased behaviour makes it unintentional relative to intellectual, moral, social, and prudential values that she already cares about.


The room has a limited number of seats. Pre-registration is required at <> until a day before the event. Note that this is an in-person event and everyone should wear a mask.