•  242
    Ethical Automaticity
    with A. Madva
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (1): 68-98. 2012.
    Social psychologists tell us that much of human behavior is automatic. It is natural to think that automatic behavioral dispositions are ethically desirable if and only if they are suitably governed by an agent’s reflective judgments. However, we identify a class of automatic dispositions that make normatively self-standing contributions to praiseworthy action and a well-lived life, independently of, or even in spite of, an agent’s reflective judgments about what to do. We argue that the fundame…Read more
  •  176
    Rationalizing flow: agency in skilled unreflective action
    Philosophical Studies 168 (2): 545-568. 2014.
    In recent work, Peter Railton, Julia Annas, and David Velleman aim to reconcile the phenomenon of “flow”—broadly understood as describing the “unreflective” aspect of skilled action—with one or another familiar conception of agency. While there are important differences between their arguments, Railton, Annas, and Velleman all make, or are committed to, at least one similar pivotal claim. Each argues, directly or indirectly, that agents who perform skilled unreflective actions can, in principle,…Read more
  •  156
    How do cognition and affect interact to produce action? Research in intergroup psychology illuminates this question by investigating the relationship between stereotypes and prejudices about social groups. Yet it is now clear that many social attitudes are implicit. This raises the question: how does the distinction between cognition and affect apply to implicit mental states? An influential view—roughly analogous to a Humean theory of action—is that “implicit stereotypes” and “implicit prejudic…Read more
  •  138
    Conceptuality and practical action: A critique of Charles Taylor's verstehen social theory
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 40 (1): 59-83. 2010.
    In their recent debate, Hubert Dreyfus rejects John McDowell’s claim that perception is permeated with "mindedness" and argues instead that ordinary embodied coping is largely "nonconceptual." This argument has important, yet largely unacknowledged consequences for normative social theory, which this article demonstrates through a critique of Charles Taylor’s Verstehen thesis. If Dreyfus is right that "the enemy of expertise is thought," then Taylor is denied his defense against charges of relat…Read more
  •  133
    The Normativity of Automaticity
    with Alex Madva
    Mind and Language 27 (4): 410-434. 2012.
    While the causal contributions of so-called ‘automatic’ processes to behavior are now widely acknowledged, less attention has been given to their normative role in the guidance of action. We develop an account of the normativity of automaticity that responds to and builds upon Tamar Szabó Gendler's account of ‘alief’, an associative and arational mental state more primitive than belief. Alief represents a promising tool for integrating psychological research on automaticity with philosophical wo…Read more
  •  132
    Attributionism and Moral Responsibility for Implicit Bias
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (4): 765-786. 2016.
    Implicit intergroup biases have been shown to impact social behavior in many unsettling ways, from disparities in decisions to “shoot” black and white men in a computer simulation to unequal gender-based evaluations of résumés and CVs. It is a difficult question whether, and in what way, agents are responsible for behaviors affected by implicit biases. I argue that in paradigmatic cases agents are responsible for these behaviors in the sense that the behavior is “attributable” to them. That is, …Read more
  •  102
    What do implicit measures measure?
    with Alex Madva and Bertram Gawronski
    WIREs Cognitive Science 1-13. 2019.
    We identify several ongoing debates related to implicit measures, surveying prominent views and considerations in each debate. First, we summarize the debate regarding whether performance on implicit measures is explained by conscious or unconscious representations. Second, we discuss the cognitive structure of the operative constructs: are they associatively or propositionally structured? Third, we review debates whether performance on implicit measures reflects traits or states. Fourth, we dis…Read more
  •  90
    We consider a range of cases—both hypothetical and actual—in which agents apparently know how to \ but fail to believe that the way in which they in fact \ is a way for them to \. These “no-belief” cases present a prima facie problem for Intellectualism about knowledge-how. The problem is this: if knowledge-that entails belief, and if knowing how to \ just is knowing that some w is a way for one to \, then an agent cannot both know how to \ and fail to believe that w, the way that she \s, is a w…Read more
  •  43
    The Background, the Body and the Internet: Locating Practical Understanding in Digital Culture
    Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 15 (1): 36-48. 2011.
    In recent years, Hubert Dreyfus has put forward a critique of the social and cultural effects of the Internet on modern societies based on the value of what he calls “the background” of largely tacit and unarticulated social norms. While Dreyfus is right to turn to the “background” in order to understand the effects of the Internet on society and culture, his unequivocally negative conclusions are unwarranted. I argue that a modified account of the background – one more attuned to what the Frenc…Read more
  •  30
    In what they call their “manual of the sanities”—a positive psychology handbook describing contemporary research on strengths of character—Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman argue that “there is no true disadvantage of having too much self-control.” This claim is widely endorsed in the research literature. I argue that it is false. My argument proceeds in three parts. First, I identify conceptual confusion in the definition of self-control, specifically as it pertains to the claim that you…Read more
  •  14
    Implicit bias
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2017.
    “Implicit bias” is a term of art referring to relatively unconscious and relatively automatic features of prejudiced judgment and social behavior. While psychologists in the field of “implicit social cognition” study “implicit attitudes” toward consumer products, self-esteem, food, alcohol, political values, and more, the most striking and well-known research has focused on implicit attitudes toward members of socially stigmatized groups, such as African-Americans, women, and the LGBTQ community…Read more
  •  7
    Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 1: Metaphysics and Epistemology (edited book)
    with Jennifer Saul
    Oxford University Press. 2016.
    Most people show unconscious bias in their evaluations of social groups, in ways that may run counter to their conscious beliefs. This volume addresses key metaphysical and epistemological questions about implicit bias, including its effect on scientific research, gender stereotypes in philosophy, and the role of heuristics in biased reasoning.
  •  6
    Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 2: Moral Responsibility, Structural Injustice, and Ethics (edited book)
    with Jennifer Saul
    Oxford University Press UK. 2016.
    There is abundant evidence that most people, often in spite of their conscious beliefs, values and attitudes, have implicit biases. 'Implicit bias' is a term of art referring to evaluations of social groups that are largely outside conscious awareness or control. These evaluations are typically thought to involve associations between social groups and concepts or roles like 'violent,' 'lazy,' 'nurturing,' 'assertive,' 'scientist,' and so on. Such associations result at least in part from common …Read more
  •  5
    Most people show unconscious bias in their evaluations of social groups, in ways that may run counter to their conscious beliefs. Volume 1 addresses key metaphysical and epistemological questions on this kind of implicit bias, while Volume 2 turns to the themes of moral responsibility and injustice.
  •  4
    Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volumes 1 and 2: Metaphysics and Epistemology (edited book)
    with Jennifer Saul
    Oxford University Press UK. 2016.
    Implicit Bias and Philosophy brings the work of leading philosophers and psychologists together to explore core areas of psychological research on implicit bias, as well as the ramifications of implicit bias for core areas of philosophy. Volume I: Metaphysics and Epistemology addresses key metaphysical and epistemological questions on implicit bias, including the effect of implicit bias on scientific research, gender stereotypes in philosophy, and the role of heuristics in biased reasoning. Volu…Read more
  •  1
    Implicit Bias and Philosophy (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  • The central contention of The Implicit Mind is that understanding the two faces of spontaneity-its virtues and vices-requires understanding the "implicit mind." In turn, Michael Brownstein maintains that understanding the implicit mind requires the consideration of three sets of questions. First, what are implicit mental states? What kind of cognitive structure do they have? Second, how should we relate to our implicit attitudes? Are we responsible for them? Third, how can we improve the ethics …Read more