Kelsey Vicars


Keenan Prize 2017

March 21, 2018

Congratulations to current MA graduate student, Kelsey Vicars, whose paper Implicit Bias and Emergent Moral Wrongs won this year's Keenan Prize.

Abstract: My research will explore the normative structure of implicit bias. This project will focus on the philosophical implications of bias in social cognition, and will address the question of moral responsibility for implicit bias. I will argue that individual implicitly biased behaviours constitute moral harms, but are not themselves moral wrongs. This means that the average person is generally not responsible for implicitly biased behaviour. This argument suggests a shift in focus from the current discourse, which has generally assumed that implicit biases always produce wrongs. I will then challenge another assumption in the moral responsibility literature that presupposes that collective level wrongs are always aggregates of individual level wrongs, and will suggest that collective level wrongs can emerge from collections of mere harms.

"The Keenan Prize [awarded annually] is an independent $1,500 cash prize that awards Canadian undergraduate papers on the topics of social and political philosophy, philosophy of history and philosophy of law. It is funded and run by its student board with help from donors to Dr. The Brian M. Keenan Fund held with the Winnipeg Foundation.

Papers are accepted every year from Feb 1st through to May 31st. Any papers received outside of these dates Central Standard time will not be considered."