Guiding question are attitudes the sort of thing that

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Guiding question: Are attitudes the sort of thing that are apt for normative evaluation? Possible answers: 1. No – An attitude is bad only if it leads to bad (harmful or unjust) consequences. 2. Yes – An attitude can be intrinsically bad: the mere having of those attitudes is something reprehensible. Kelly and Roeddert's position. Reasons in support of Kelly and Roeddert's view: 1. We disapprove of someone having explicit racist attitudes (thoughts and feelings) even if that person never acts on them. “While it's good that the man refrains from acting on these racist thoughts and feelings, it is unfortunate and morally condemnable that he has such attitudes at all “(528) 2. Certain non-racial attitudes (thoughts and feelings) seem to be wrong (inappropriate, or even reprehensible) independently of their actions. 3. Racist mental states, in and of themselves, can be morally problematic. December 6, 2012: The Ethics of Implicit Bias (cont.) “These considerations are meant to show that explicit thoughts and feelings, apart from the behavioral consequences they might bring about, can be subject to moral evaluation. If this is right, can the same be said about implicit thoughts and feelings?” (528). What are implicit biases? Minimal understanding of implicit attitudes : an implicit attitude is simply a tendency to associate one concept with another What is the relationship between implicit biases and rationality? Can we say that implicit biases are rational? - No. “With respect to the issue of rationality, our point is that if implicit attitudes are construed in this very minimal way – as indicating only that a person associates two concepts – it appears they can be rational in some sense (e.g., insofar the association between concepts accurately reflects a correlation or statistical regularity that holds among those referents of the concepts” (528) Does that show that implicit attitudes, insofar as they are rational, are moral? Two issues Are all implicit attitudes rational? It does not seem so . (“...there will almost be a 'remainder': an implicit association that goes beyond what rationality endorses”) - p. 530 Even if an implicit bias is rational, it can still be immoral. (“Rationality and morality are different virtues, so it should be expected that a person can have the one without the other”) - p. 529
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Kelly and Roeddert: We shouldn't focus on rationality in order to determine whether implicit racial biases are immoral or not. Instead, let us first examine why explicitly racist attitudes are problematic and then consider whether the same story can be told about implicit attitudes. Why are explicit racist attitudes morally problematic? Garcia: Racism is a deformation of affect and the will. Explicit racist attitudes are morally problematic because they are opposed to benevolence and justice. Benevolence: “Disposition to do good, desire to promote the happiness of others, kindness, generosity, charitable feeling.” Justice: The quality of treating everyone justly (equally, unless there are morally relevant reasons); to be fair.
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