Recent Events

2018 Graduate Student Essay Prize Thursday, April 12th , 2018 5:00 – 7:00pm, Reception to Follow 6th Floor Lounge NYU Philosophy Department, 5 Washington Place, NYC Ege Yumusak (Harvard) “Implicit Bias and the Unconscious” ABSTRACT: The metaphysics of implicit bias has been an area of heated debates involving philosophers and psychologists. Most theorists of implicit bias posit that associations underwrite implicit bias. Recent dissenters have argued that propositional attitudes undergird this pernicious attitude. However, the propositional attitude view of implicit bias does not satisfyingly explain its various manifestations that are underwritten by its diverse contents. In this paper my criticism targets: (1) legitimacy of ascriptions of unconscious mental content, and (2) the phenomenology of implicit bias. The first criticism focuses on a common assumption in philosophy of mind—the equivalence of content in the conscious and unconscious domain—and raises problems regarding the propositional attitude theorist's strategy to ascribe propositional attitudes to explain implicit biases which they locate in the unconscious mind of the subject. Second, I argue that the similarities between a more familiar mental phenomenon— the phenomenon of moods—and the conscious manifestations of implicit bias have been ignored. I identify several parallels between moods and implicit bias: their context-dependence, the subject’s lack of awareness of their source, their effects on the salience and valence of their targets, and their simultaneous responsiveness and recalcitrance to reasons. I argue that an explanatorily robust view of implicit bias must be commensurate with this analogy. I end with a proposal that I dub the indeterminate content view, which avoids these problems and promises explanatory power. Contact us at: SWIP-Analytic is made possible through the generous support of NYU’s New York Institute of Philosophy, and The CUNY Graduate Center: Department of Philosophy, Office of the Provost, John H. Kornblith Family Chair, and Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies

Elanor Taylor poster

“Group Agency vs. Collective Agency:  A Matter of Point of View” by Carol Rovane

ABSTRACT: Some philosophers are prepared to allow that a group of human beings can function as an individual agent, that deliberates and acts from a point of view of its own – a group point of view that is distinct from the points of view of its human constituents.   These philosophers generally assume that if such a group agent were to emerge, its human constituents would still retain their status as individual agents in their own rights, each with a separate point of view.  However, this assumption wrongly assimilates group agency and collective agency.   Collective agency is by definition the agency of many;  whereas, in cases of genuine group agency, a group of human beings comes to deliberate and act literally as one.  The process by which this is accomplished cannot leave the points of view of the group’s human constituents intact as they were before.  Either the process will absorb all of their agency and thereby obliterate the very distinctions between their points of view, or it will absorb a part of their agency and thereby occasion rational fragmentation within their human lives – a situation that is not entirely dissimilar to dissociative identity disorder, only it is not pathological.  These points about group agency have profound implications for the issue of personal responsibility.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 5:00-7:00 PM
CUNY Graduate Center Room 5489, 365 Fifth Avenue, NYC

Professor Jane Friedman, New York University

“Inquiry and the Doxastic Attitudes”

ABSTRACT: In this talk I’ll give the start of a theory of inquiry and inquiring, tying these to some familiar folk-psychological attitudes.  After that I’ll use this bit of the theory to characterize some different doxastic attitudes: belief, degrees of belief, and suspension of judgment.  I’ll use the theory of inquiry to argue that belief — the traditionalist’s “full” belief — has a special role to play in inquiry. Degrees of belief, even extremely high ones, don’t play the same sort of role.  I’ll bring some of the results of the talk to bear on suspension of judgment as well.  In general, the hope is to helpfully orient the doxastic around inquiry.


2014-2015 Events
2013-2014 Events