A&O – BIAS – congenital and acquired


NOTES on BIAS — Congenital and Acquired


Read: A Critic at Large column in The New Yorker September 21, 2020 Issue pp 69-73 ( https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/09/21/black-scholars-confront-white-supremacy-in-classical-music )

A significant issue in ART and in ETHOLOGY is the effect of BIAS–explicit or implicit–on the quality of representing the real or perceived world.  Bias is manifest in the selectivity of perception, conception, ways of thinking, and actions.  They are of congenital and acquired origin and even the best of intentions for equity and justice–even honor, love, truth, or beauty–are affected by selectivity from organs of sensations and thought through those of coordinated behavior, intentional or not.  Elements of our nature evolved over countless generations because of their contributions to biological fitness are intertwined with those acquired throughout our development since conception.


BIAS–as PREJUDICE — is amongst the principle obstacles to understanding how to solve problems:   We need a “theory of the situation” and then reliable facts to understand how best to solve challenging problems, from personal through societal.

EVEN IF the problem being solved has no obvious implications for living a moral life, enhancing your welfare and that of those around you, the untieably tangled knot of biases affects the actions your problem-solving might lead to.  Sometimes maladaptive or dysfunctional biases may color the outcome no matter how satisfying

ESHEWAL of BIAS in ETHOLOGY is a tenet of its optimal implementation.  Avoiding or correcting errors of fact is the basis of scientific representation of the natural world and its processes. (“tell the best story possible with the best facts available”)