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Addressing Irrelevant Influences with Epistemic Humility

EasyChair Preprint no. 766

12 pagesDate: February 2, 2019


Implicit bias is an irrelevant influence which is pervasive in rational deliberation as well as in doxastic deliberation, and the doxastic attitudes informed by implicit biases have potentially far-reaching negative consequences. However, unlike other irrelevant influences, implicit biases are less likely to be identified by epistemic agents as factors which affect the rationality of doxastic attitudes since their presence in epistemic agents is difficult to identify by asking epistemic agents to reflect on singular beliefs or doxastic attitudes. Rather, identifying implicit biases as irrelevant influences in doxastic deliberation often requires the evaluation of many beliefs or actions of an epistemic agent to determine whether a pattern of bias exists. Consequently, reactive approaches to addressing irrelevant influences in belief formation which ask agents to reflect on singular doxastic attitudes may be ill-suited to address irrelevant influences like implicit bias. In this paper, I offer a proactive solution for mitigating the negative effects of irrelevant influences like implicit bias, which requires that epistemic agents embrace epistemic humility in forming beliefs which they have good reason to think could be affected by irrelevant influences. In conjunction with reactive approaches to addressing irrelevant influences, epistemic humility about the extent to which epistemic agents’ doxastic attitudes are informed by implicit bias and similar irrelevant influences has the potential to form better and more reliable epistemic agents in the long term.

Keyphrases: Doxastic Deliberation, Epistemic Humility, implicit bias, Irrelevant Influences, virtue epistemology

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Joseph Gurrola},
  title = {Addressing Irrelevant Influences with Epistemic Humility},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 766},
  doi = {10.29007/p5t3},
  year = {EasyChair, 2019}}
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