published on April 5, 2017
Debiasing the Philosophy Classroom
This paper is situated at the intersection of ethics, pedagogy, and bias. Various challenges for pedagogy that are posed by explicit and implicit bias are discussed. Potential solutions to such challenges are then explored. These include practices such as enhanced thought experiments, interviews, research projects, in-depth role-playing, action projects, and appropriately morally deferential experiential service-learning. Moral imagination can be beneficially stretched through adopting differing moral lenses and engaging and encouraging multiple empathizing; art and literary narrative provide helpful tools to this end. Also recommended is critical scrutiny focused on personal biases (including teacher bias) and developing curriculum focused on moral literacy. Such moves of necessity span from individual to public action given the environmental components of the operations of bias. Shaping ourselves through intentional environment construction and avoidance of undesirable environments is therefore identified as a valuable technique. Finally, the potential contribution of loving-kindness meditation is addressed. Although we may be unable at present to eradicate problematic forms of bias, there are multiple methods available to begin to ameliorate the harms associated with those forms of bias.