Sophie Stammers (KCL) started the afternoon with her paper ‘Not Conscious, Not Responsible?’. Stammers critically examined the account of bias and responsibility given in Neil Levy’s book (which he has presented on this blog). Stammers put pressure on three claims of Levy’s:
1) Agents are not conscious of the morally relevant facts regarding attitudes which generate implicitly biased actions.
2) Implicitly biased actions are generated by attitudes which are inconsistent with the agent’s endorsed values.
3) Implicitly biased actions are generated by attitudes which are not responsive to reasons at the personal-level.
With respect to 1), Stammers discussed the specificity of the morally relevant facts, and depending on this, whether agents might after all be aware of such facts. With respect to 2), she discussed what is meant by an agent’s endorsed values. And with respect to 3) she gave two interpretations of the claim by distinguishing two ways of interpreting what it means for actions to not be responsive to reasons. Stammers concluded with the claims that agents might be conscious of some morally relevant facts, that some aspects of their actions are assessable, and that implicit biases might be no less responsive to reasons than some explicit attitudes (the latter of which we are morally responsible for).