Does implicit bias threaten the semicompatibilist position on free will and responsibility?

Gregory, David G (2021) Does implicit bias threaten the semicompatibilist position on free will and responsibility? Doctoral thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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GREGORY, DAVID GEORGE (2021) Does Implicit Bias Threaten the Semicompatibilist Position on Free Will and Responsibility_.pdf - Accepted Version
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Abstract

The nature and limitations of human freedom have been discussed for millennia and continue to be widely and enthusiastically debated today. This is not surprising, as our sense of freedom is felt to be an essential part of what it is to be human and many fundamental issues, such as responsibility, praise and blame are commonly considered to depend on how freely behaviour is undertaken. Understanding human freedom is valuable in itself and in terms of implications for other important areas, for example, the Law and Government policy. This Thesis critically examines the semicompatibilist free will position in the context of implicit bias. Specifically, I answer the question, does implicit bias threaten the semicompatibilist position on free will and responsibility? A threat arises if behavioural expression of implicit bias is not subject to semicompatibilist conditions of agent control and so responsibility (guidance control) in the presence of compelling argument and substantial evidence supporting the counter position, that agents are responsible for such behaviour. Responding to this question, I provide in Part I a brief historical perspective of the discussion of human freedom, followed by description of some major positions within the free will debate, focusing on semicompatibilism. Part II explores implicit bias in terms of what it is, how it is measured and implications for responsibility and control of influenced behaviour. Having gained insight into semicompatibilism and established a model of implicit bias, Part III examines the impact of implicit bias on the semicompatibilist position, assessing and reaching conclusions concerning the ability of semicompatibilists to accommodate the phenomenon of implicit bias within their explanatory model. I then consider the implications of implicit bias for a particular defence of semicompatibilism from one of its major threats, the problem of moral luck. I show that semicompatibilism successfully accommodates the phenomenon of implicit bias; agent responsibility for issuing behaviour is confirmed, in harmony with the presented models of implicit bias. A particular understanding of implicit bias is found to cause a problem for defence of semicompatibilism from the luck problem. In response to the question, does implicit bias threaten the semicompatibilist position on free will and responsibility? I conclude that semicompatibilism, as a position on free will and responsibility, is immune from threats that originate from implicit bias.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: freewill, moral responsibility
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: David George Gregory
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2021 08:48
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2021 08:48
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1784

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