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Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 1Metaphysics and Epistemology$
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Michael Brownstein and Jennifer Saul

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198713241

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198713241.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

De-Freuding Implicit Attitudes

De-Freuding Implicit Attitudes

(p.104) 1.4 De-Freuding Implicit Attitudes
Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 1

Edouard Machery

Oxford University Press

Psychologists and philosophers treat implicit attitudes as automatic and unconscious mental states—a view reminiscent of Freud’s theory of unconscious desires and urges. I present a competing view about the nature of attitudes, and show that it is better supported by the empirical evidence. I argue that attitudes are not mental states at all; a fortiori, they are not unconscious and automatic mental states. Rather, they are traits—viz. multitrack dispositions to behave and cognize in valenced ways. On this view, then, there are no implicit attitudes. This characterization (“the trait picture of attitudes”) provides the best explanation of several puzzling properties found in the psychology of attitudes, such as the weak correlations between indirect measures of alleged implicit attitudes, their contextual variation, and the low predictive validity of the measures of alleged implicit attitudes.

Keywords:   attitudes, automaticity, unconscious, traits, multitrack dispositions, mental states, predictive validity, contextual variation

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