Conceptual Centrality and Implicit Bias

How are biases encoded in our representations of social categories? Philosophical and empirical discussions of implicit bias overwhelmingly focus on salient or statistical associations between target features and representations of social categories. These are the sorts of associations probed by the Implicit Association Test and various priming tasks. In this paper, we argue that these discussions systematically overlook an alternative way in which biases are encoded, i.e., in the dependency networks that are part of our representations of social categories. Dependency networks encode information about how the features in a conceptual representation depend on each other, which determines the

Do You See What I See? How Social Differences Influence Mindreading

Disagreeing with others about how to interpret a social interaction is a common occurrence. We often find ourselves offering divergent interpretations of others’ motives, intentions, beliefs, and emotions. Remarkably, philosophical accounts of how we understand others do not explain, or even attempt to explain such disagreements. I argue these disparities in social interpretation stem, in large part, from the effect of social categorization and our goals in social interactions, phenomena long studied by social psychologists. I argue we ought to expand our accounts of how we understand others in order to accommodate these data and explain how such profound disagreements arise amongst informed

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Department of Philosophy

Oklahoma State University

© 2015 by Shannon Spaulding

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