Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett, Birmingham “Virtually Imagining Our Biases”
A number of studies have investigated how immersion in a virtual reality environment can affect participants’ implicit gender or racial biases. These studies presume an associationist understanding of the nature of implicit bias. However, recently philosophers have made a case for understanding implicit biases not (or not exclusively), in terms of associations, but rather as propositionally structured (Levy 2015, Mandelbaum 2016, Sullivan-Bissett 2019). However, no propositionalist has considered the work from virtual reality studies and how to integrate it into their theories. In this paper I examine the empirical work on virtual reality and implicit bias against this non-associationist background, in particular, looking at the belief and imagination models of implicit bias. I argue that the results therein are best accommodated by a model of bias that understands them as unconscious imaginings.
Ema Sullivan-Bissett is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, working primarily in the philosophy of mind and psychology. Her work is primarily on issues in philosophy of mind and psychology, specifically belief and its connection to truth, monothematic delusion, and implicit bias. She is also interested in biological approaches to what are characteristically thought to be normative questions in philosophy of mind and epistemology.
Seminars start at 3pm via MS Teams.
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