Should We Explain Racism in Terms of Patchy Endorsements?
Maria Forsberg (Stockholm University)

September 28, 2017, 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Department of Philosophy , Uppsala Universitet

Engelska Parken, E2-1077
Thunbergsvägen 3H
Uppsala
Sweden

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Uppsala University

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Many people who sincerely assert that all races are equal nevertheless exhibit tendencies to treat blacks differently from whites. For example, they tend to prefer a white a job applicant over an equally qualified black applicant, give a black person less speaking time than a white person, and make less eye contact with a black person than a white person.

Neil Levy has recently introduced what he takes to be a new mental state kind: patchy endorsement. He also argues that mental states of this kind explain the racist tendencies that many people exhibit.

In this talk, I argue that we should not explain the tendencies in terms of patchy endorsements. I start off by suggesting that we should only appeal to such states in our explanations of the tendencies if we have a case for thinking that the states can provide better causal explanations of them than states of kinds that we are already familiar with. I then consider the ability of patchy endorsements to provide causal explanations of the tendencies, and suggest that that we have no such case. Finally, I conclude that we should not explain the tendencies in terms of patchy endorsements.

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