Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):953-975 (2021)

Ron Mallon
Washington University in St. Louis
Some psychologists aim to secure a role for psychological explanations in understanding contemporary social disparities, a concern that plays out in debates over the relevance of the Implicit Association Test. Meta-analysts disagree about the predictive validity of the IAT and about the importance of implicit attitudes in explaining racial disparities. Here, I use the IAT to articulate and explore one route to establishing the relevance of psychological attitudes with small effects: an appeal to a process of “accumulation” that aggregates small effects into large harms. After characterizing mechanisms of accumulation and considering some candidate examples, I argue that such mechanisms suggest how a contemporary attitude with small effects could figure in the explanation of large disparities, but they do not vindicate the importance of such an attitude since such mechanisms are typically also determined by competing causes. I close by sketching several strategies for advancing a defense of the relevance of attitudes with small effects.
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-020-00521-6
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References found in this work BETA

Causality and Explanation.Wesley C. Salmon - 1997 - Oxford University Press.
The Imperative of Integration.Elizabeth Anderson - 2010 - Princeton University Press.

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