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Automaticity and Bias in Thought and Action

October 7th and 8th, 2019

TU Dortmund University

Internationales Begegnungszentrum (IBZ)


Final Website II.001


Conference description


Many debates in philosophy of mind and action tend to be based on the (tacit) assumption that thinking and acting are in general consciously executed and controlled by the subject. Empirical evidence form psychology, however, questions this basic assumption. Much of our thinking and acting is automatic: they do not require much attention, can take place in the absence of intentions and may be difficult to control. To mention some examples: automatization plays a central role in skillful and for habitual actions. The debate on “implicit biases” emphasizes that some roots of discrimination lie in automatic cognitive processes. Self-deception seems to exhibit at least some characteristics of an automatic cognitive process.

This conference brings together philosophers and psychologists to discuss these topics. It has two aims: first, to tackle conceptual and theoretical issues pertaining to automaticity itself; second, to explore the significance of automaticity for the way we conceive of ourselves as acting and thinking beings.

The conference is part of a project on “Automaticity in Thought and Action and their Significance for our Self-Understanding”, sponsored by MERCUR. It is organized by its project members Katja Crone & Anna Welpinghus (TU Dortmund University), Albert Newen & Francesco Marchi (Ruhr-University Bochum) and Neil Roughley & Flavia Felletti (University Duisburg-Essen).

Local organization: Anna Welpinghus, Max Gab & Katja Crone.




Day 1 (October 7, 2019)


9:30 Welcome

9:45 -11:15 Keynote: Agnes Moors (KU Leuven): Predicting behavior requires the development of implicit measures of values and expectancies of behavior options rather than of attitudes towards stimuli (Abstract)

11:15-11:45 Coffee

11:45-12:45 Lieke Asma (HfPh Munich): Why conscious action and indispensable automatic processes are compatible (Abstract)

12:45-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:30 Keynote: Eric Mandelbaum (CUNY): The fragmentation of belief (Abstract) 

15:30-16:30 Poster session & coffee

16:30-17:30 Kris Goffin (KU Leuven / U Antwerp): Taking responsibility for our racist emotions (Abstract)

17:30-18:30 Jeroen Rijnders (U Oslo): Automaticity and character development: exploring a tripartite model of moral agency (Abstract)

- Dinner -


Day 2 (October 8, 2019)

9:45-11:15 Keynote: Klaus Rothermund (FSU Jena): Increasing the validity of implicit measures: New solutions for assessment, conceptualization, and action explanation (Abstract)

11:15-11:45 Coffee

11:45-12:45 Talk: Juan Pablo Bermúdez (U Externado Colombia): Is the mental more automatic than the bodily? (Abstract)

12:45-14:00 Lunch

14-15:30 Keynote: Josefa Toribio (ICREA – Barcelona): Fragmentationalism and implicit biases (Abstract)






Participation is free but registration is required. Please register by September 22nd via e-mail with Anna Welpinghus (Anna . Welpinghus (at) tu-dortmund . de).


Travelling information




Max Gab, M.A.
Tel.: 0231 755-4262