femaleness (see e.g. Haslanger, this volume). And although psychologists have not studied philosophers’ stereotypes of philosophy,13they have extensively studied stereotypes of mathematics. Mathematics is strongly stereotyped as male (e.g. Nosek et. al. 2002), and it seems reasonable to suppose that Anglophone philosophy,with its heavy use of logic, will inherit this stereotype. (It is true that not all Anglophone philosophy makes heavy use of logic, but nonetheless logical competence is generally viewed as a necessary condition for success in the field: logic courses are widely required of both undergraduate and postgraduate philosophy students.)13The study I am currently involved with, noted above, is the one exception.
It seems very likely, then that philosophers will display implicit bias against women and that women in philosophy will experience stereotype threat.14 (The literature15 on both these topics also tells us that people will often be unaware that either of these things are happening.) It would be very surprising, then, if these forces did not play a role in the under-representation of women in philosophy.16I have sometimes heard it suggested that philosophers would not be subject to implicit bias against stigmatised social groups, due to their greater ability to be objective. Research has shown, however, that people systematically overestimate their own ability to be objective (Uhlmann and Cohen 2006). Even more importantly, it turns out that being primed with objectivity (e.g. asked to tick a box rating one’s own objectivity) increases susceptibility to gender bias in job applicant evaluation (Uhlmann and Cohen 2006). If that’s right, then philosophers may be especially subject to implicit biases, rather than especially immune from them. One might also object that philosophers are unlikely to hold the same sorts of views of women in philosophy as the public at large—after all, our views about philosophy are in general different from those in the broader population. The first thing to note is that this objection is only applicable to claims specifically about women in philosophy (e.g. that philosophy is stereotyped as male). Even if correct, it would have no bearing on the claim that philosophers are likely to make the same sorts of negative evaluations of women in general that other humans do. But I don’t really see any reason to suppose that14One might worry that accepting the existence of stereotype threat would commit one to the thought that women are actually performing less well than men at philosophy—so we shouldn’t be worried by (for example) all-male conferences, since these simply reflect the fact that women are producing inferior philosophy.