2017 Winner: Kelsey Vicars

Kelsey Vicars is both a recent graduate and current student at Simon Fraser University. She completed two bachelor’s degrees at SFU, including an honours degree in philosophy. She has just begun a Master’s degree at SFU. Kelsey has broad interests in philosophy: she is mainly interested in philosophy of science (specifically philosophy of physics, scientific and mathematical explanations, and neurophilosophy), ethics (specifically moral responsibility and the ethical implications of implicit bias), and political philosophy (specifically Indigenous philosophy).

Download her winning paper Implicit Bias and Emergent Moral Wrongs.



Implicit Bias and Emergent Moral Wrongs

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.

2017 Short List

Congratulations to the the following applicants whose papers were short listed for the Keenan Prize for 2017!

  • James Belford from Brock University – Hegel’s Synthesis of Individualism and Communitarianism
  • Adrian K. Yee from UBC – On the Impossibility of Kantian Enlightenment
  • Kelsey Brady from McGill University – What is the Point of Ideal Theory?
  • William Rooney from Queen’s University – Political Participation for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities through Supported Decision-Making