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On how NOT to structure an argument - Prejudices

Author: A Philosophical Mind
Mar 12th 2017
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A short thesis on Prejudices
A bias is a preference or outlook to give or hold a different perspective, often accompanied by a refusal to consider the possible merits of alternative points of view.

All the biases, are something we ALL have (yes even me) :) - it has been evolutionary hardwired into us as a sort of shortcut to decision making when speed was more important than accuracy...

For instance - tending to see advocacy in your surroundings even when there are none:
When you lived on the savanna and could be eaten by a lion at any moment - the people who thought 'LION!!!' every time a twig broke or a shadow moved (even when there was no lion) were the ones who survived in the long run....

So, they are not bad as such... but in cases where accuracy (i.e. the truth) matters, then we need to be aware of them, so they can be countered and we can get it right, when we need to.

Note: No bias stand alone, but are all part of a larger network of biases either working with or against each other.

When it comes to biases, they are usually divided into 5 categories:
1. Cognitive biases
2. Conflicts of interest
3. Prejudices
4. Statistical biases
5. Contextual biases

In this blog, we will look at Prejudices.

Prejudices:
Prejudices are unfounded beliefs or unreasonable attitudes towards a person or group member based solely on their group membership, and it is unusually resistant to rational influence and is prior to, or not based on, actual experience.

What Prejudices are NOT, are reasonable attitudes or beliefs founded in reality and/or experiences.
So, believing that men on average are stronger than women because of more muscle mass is not prejudiced.

As prejudices refer to a persons membership of a group there are an untold number of possible prejudices you can hold as there are an untold number of ways to classify groups of people, but when we talk about prejudices in Philosophy/Psychology, to be classified as a prejudice in a scientific sense the prejudice need to be prevalent in society as a whole or in a clearly defined sub-group of society, and as such there are generally 6 accepted prejudices.
1. Sexism
2. Classism
3. Racism
4. Discrimination based on sexual orientation
5. Discrimination based on religion
6. Discrimination based on language

Sexism:
Sexism is a prejudice or discrimination based on a persons sex or gender, either male or female (misandry/misogyny) and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to the other. Extreme sexism may foster sexual harassment, rape, and other forms of sexual violence.

Classism:
Classism is a prejudice or discrimination based on social class. It includes individual attitudes, behaviors, systems of policies, and practices that are set up to benefit the upper class at the expense of the lower class or vice versa.

Racism:
Racism is a prejudice or discrimination based on race or ethnicity and includes the idea that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups that are different in their social behavior and innate capacities and that can be ranked as inferior or superior.

Associated social actions may include nativism, otherness, segregation, hierarchical ranking, and supremacism.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation:
Sexual discrimination is a prejudice or discrimination based a persons sexual orientation (homo-/bi-/heterosexual).

Discrimination based on religion:
Religious discrimination is a prejudice or discrimination based a persons religious affiliations (Christian/Muslim/Jewish/etc.) and those who practice institutionalized religion, which focuses more on social and political aspects of religious events, are more likely to have an increase in prejudice whereas those who practice interiorized religion, in which believers devote themselves to their beliefs, are most likely to have a decrease in prejudice.

Discrimination based on language:
Linguistic discrimination is a prejudice or discrimination based on a persons use of language (accent/vocabulary/spelling/etc.).

Based on a difference in use of language, a person may automatically form judgments about another person's wealth, education, social status, character or other traits which may then lead to the unjustifiable treatment of the person.

Modern prejudices:
In modern times, new classifications of prejudices have arisen, mainly in the field of feminist intersectionality, things like Ageism (discrimination based on age), ableism (discrimination based on a persons disability), weightism (discrimination based on a persons weight), lookism (discrimination based on a persons attractiveness), genderism (discrimination based on a persons gender variance), etc.

It is important here to reiterate, that to be classified as a prejudice in a scientific sense the prejudice need to be prevalent in society as a whole or in a clearly defined sub-group of society and not just held by 2 people in Idaho, and NOT be reasonable attitudes or beliefs founded in reality and/or experiences.

And it has been contended by most outside the realm of feminist intersectionality that the above-mentioned prejudices are not prevalent in society as a whole and the attribution of the prejudices to all or most straight white men, as a sub-group of society, is in itself a form of sexism, racism, and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In addition to that, because some of them, like genderism, consist of, in a scientific sense, non-existent gender classifications (gender neutral, gender fluid, etc.), they are not based in reality and/or experience, and can therefor not be classified as prejudices.

Good now you know what your (and my) flaws are, so now you can identify them in others and avoid them in yourself :)

Now go forth and find the truth...

A Philosophical Mind