Four Types of Moral Wriggle Room: Uncovering Mechanisms of Racial Discrimination

In: Miranda Fricker and Michael Brady (eds.), The Epistemic Life of Groups: Essays in the Epistemology of Collectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2016. 173-188. Preprint PDF.

Recent experiments in behavioral economics reveal that individuals frequently use so-called ‘moral wriggle room’ to avoid complying with costly normative demands. Different opportunities for strategic information manipulation are classified by developing a typology of ‘moral wriggle rooms’. ‘Moral wriggling’ can often operate in an unconscious, yet systematic way. The example of racial discrimination shows how such self-serving biases promote subtle, indirect forms of discrimination.