- freely available
Philosophies 2017, 2(2), 12; doi:10.3390/philosophies2020012
2. Concern about Bias in Philosophy
3. What Does the Research Show?
4. Blind Ambition
5. Philosophers on Bias in Hiring
She offers the example of cv bias, where “The right name makes the reader rate one as more likely to be interviewed, more likely to be hired…and a better prospect for mentoring”  (p. 244). It is “almost certain” this “unfairness” also occurs “within philosophy”, and so “there are almost certain to be some excellent students receiving lower marks and less encouragement than they should; some excellent philosophers not getting the jobs they should get”  (p. 246), and “Philosophy as a field is the worse for this”  (p. 247). For support she offers a few name-swapping studies  (p. 244, fn. 4), most notably by Moss-Racusin et al.  and Steinpreis et al.  which occur in artificial contexts and in only the latter case concerned an academic position, though in a different field: psychology. Curiously, Steinpreis et al. found no gendered effects for tenure decisions, but perhaps most importantly, the sample sizes of around 65 respondents for the female-cv and 60 for the male were not huge—the discrepancy in responses is just at the fringes of the margin of error.11 Steinpreis et al.’s results have not been corroborated by STEM hiring audits , nor replicated in experiments performed by Bertrand and Mullainathan  and Williams and Ceci . Despite this, philosophers overlook these limitations and go on to make exaggerated claims about hiring biases. Given the zeal with which Departments are promoting diversity initiatives, it is not hard to explain why this is happening.These are unconscious, automatic tendencies to associate certain traits with members of particular social groups, in ways that lead to some very disturbing errors: we tend to judge members of stigmatized groups more negatively, in a whole host of ways. (p. 244)
Saul also writes as if it is “well-established that the presence of a male or female name on a CV has a strong effect on how that CV is evaluated,”  (p. 41) though with support from the two previously mentioned works by Moss-Racusin et al.  and Steinpreis et al. .CVs with women’s names are likely to be seen as less good than CVs with men’s names. As we have noted, letters of recommendation are likely to be weaker for women than for men. And women may well have had more trouble than men at getting publications. Women will also very likely face stereotype threat, often in the form of an overwhelmingly (or wholly) male team of interviewers adding to the stress of the already hideously stressful interview process. (p. 45)
6. Other Evidence Concerning Implicit Bias in Academia
7. Stereotype Threat and Curriculum Inclusivity
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- 2As of May 18 2017 these materials are offline, though many of the references can be found at the entry for Implicit Bias at The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy .
- 5E.g., Saul writes: “Psychologists have established that these biases are not (readily) amenable to direct conscious control ... a conscious, direct effort to simply not be biased is unlikely to succeed…”  (pp. 257, 259).
- 6Daniel J. Levitin: (http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/videoAndAudio/channels/publicLecturesAndEvents/player.aspx?id=2838) . For overviews of the scientific controversy see http://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/07-08/psychometric.aspx  and http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beautiful-minds/201101/does-the-implicit-association-test-iat-really-measure-racial-prejudice-p ; see also [31,32,33]. See also replies to Newell and Shanks, including Hahn, A and Gawronski, B. who concede “unawareness of psychological processes is often inferred from insufficient evidence” . In their rejoinder, Newell and Shanks “thoroughly concur…that the role of unconscious processes in [IAT tasks] has been substantially exaggerated” .
- 7This parallels the reasoning that led Nature to withdraw its endorsement of the study about gender bias in manuscript reviewing.
- 9The author shares the view expressed on Alternet that Malcolm Gladwell is America’s most successful propagandist and corporate shill.
- 10“The results show that evaluators—regardless of sex—respond differently, depending on whether the name is a man’s or a woman’s or is associated with blacks or whites” (p. 213).
- 1129/65 subjects deemed the woman hireable as did 45/60 the man. Assuming there were about 100k psychologists (with a university address), margins of error are about 16 and 14.5  (Figure 1, pp. 509, 518).
- 12To be precise, Bertrand and Mullainathan  (p. 998) found no evidence resumes with female names were disadvantaged, and small, statistically insignificant evidence they were favored.
- 13See Benétreau-Dupin and Beaulac  for some further criticism of Haslanger.
- 15The reaction in the philosophical blogosphere was mostly negative and dismissive. Williams responds to many alleged weaknesses in their method and other criticisms in a series of blog posts .
- 16Though see Sesardic and de Clercq . Their article is cogently argued, carefully researched, and worthy of philosophers’ attention despite appearing in the obscure organ of a rightwing think-tank. Their vehicle of publication perhaps says more about editors and referees at philosophy journals than the authors’ political orientation (the frosty reception of the present manuscript by reviewers at various other venues, sometimes rising even to sexist ad hominem, has been instructive to this author).
- 17Perhaps I am stereotyping, but it would not be surprised to find explicit prejudices in business schools. Meanwhile, in at least two of the other fields exhibiting temporal discrimination—health and education—men are so underrepresented that this might be a factor in recruitment.
- 18How do we know that? Let us be reminded of the ubiquitous post hoc fallacy that since many philosophy majors tend to find decent employment, philosophy is a good career choice. Philosophy is also unusual amongst the humanities in that an undergraduate degree normally doesn’t qualify one for employment as a teacher in the local school system. Might many students realize this?
- 19One possibly important way philosophy is unlike the rest of the humanities (and like STEM disciplines) is that the average doctoral candidate has exceptional GRE scores, which are more often achieved by high-SES men. See Templer and Tomeo . Mean quantitative scores seem to be better predictors of gender distributions than other factors, such as “ability beliefs” .
- 20Nonetheless, this article received an endorsement from the American Philosophical Association .
- 21As the study was published online in mid-2015 this may explain why Washington and Kelly missed it.
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