In Michael Brownstein & Jennifer Saul (eds.), Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 2: Moral Responsibility, Structural Injustice, and Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 191-214 (2016)

Clea F. Rees
Cardiff University
Virtue ethics faces two challenges based in ‘dual-process’ models of cognition. The classic situationist worry is that we just do not have reliable motivations at all. One promising response invokes an alternative model of cognition which can accommodate evidence cited in support of dual-process models without positing distinct systems for automatic and deliberative processing. The approach appeals to the potential of automatization to habituate virtuous motivations. This response is threatened by implicit bias which raises the worry that we cannot avoid habituating reliably vicious motivations. I argue that the alternative model of cognition also offers the virtue ethicist a promising response to this second challenge. In particular, the virtue ethicist can respond to the implicitly biased by counselling the habituation of egalitarian virtue, rather than merely the control of anti-egalitarian vice. Research shows both the importance of automatized individual egalitarian commitments and the potential of habituation to automatize deliberatively endorsed egalitarian goals. However, individuals’ ability to sustain and implement their commitments depends crucially on hospitable environments. Communities which themselves embody egalitarian values and which encourage and support their members’ egalitarian commitments are therefore essential. As Aristotle said, individual virtue requires a virtuous community.
Keywords automatisation  cognition  commitment  dual-process  egalitarian  goal  habituation  implicit bias  situationism  virtue ethics
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