Bias, norms, introspection, and the bias blind spot1

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Abstract

In this paper, I sketch a general framework for theorizing about bias and bias attributions. According to the account, paradigmatic cases of bias involve systematic departures from genuine norms. I attempt to show that the account illuminates a number of important psychological phenomena, including: the fact that accusations of bias frequently inspire not only denials but also countercharges of bias (“you only think that I'm biased because you're biased!”); the fact that we tend to see ourselves as less biased than our peers (the so-called ‘bias blind spot’); and the fact that we tend to see people who share our views as less biased than people who don't. I explore the circumstances in which we're committed to believing that those who disagree with us are not only mistaken but also biased simply because they disagree with us in the way that they do. In addition, the account also sheds light on another notorious and well-documented psychological phenomenon: the fact that introspection is an unreliable way of detecting our biases. On the account that I offer, the unreliability of introspection for this purpose isn't a contingent fact that depends on the finer details of human psychology but rather holds of necessity: even God could not have made us creatures who reliably detect our own biases by way of introspection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-105
Number of pages25
JournalPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research
Volume108
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Keywords

  • Bias
  • Bias Blind Spot
  • Disagreement
  • Introspection
  • Naive Realism
  • Norms
  • Rationality

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