Unconscious Bias

Interactive Workshop

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Delivery method: Online
  • Participants: 2-25
  • Fee €75
Nov. 24th course: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/127043072249
Dec. 5th course: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/127866424919


None of us likes to think of ourselves as biased, and most of us would hate to think that we discriminate, through our attitudes and actions, against some people based on their identity or the group of which they are a part. Yet, to some smaller or larger extent, we all do it.

Research in psychology and sociology has shown the various mechanisms and behaviours through which we respond to diversity. Generally, the greater the perceived differences from us, the greater the discomfort. This leads us to act in ways of which, upon reflection, we would disapprove. That is why we also need a philosophical approach to diversity and bias: thinking strategies that help us reflect on our values, on the meaning of diversity and equality, and finally on how to apply the ethical principles that we discover in our day to day lives.

This workshop uses practical philosophy to lead to a better understanding of diversity, bias and equality; through a combination of short lectures, group discussions and reflective exercises, the aim is to learn to minimize discriminatory thinking and practices through greater ethical awareness.

The strategies will be based on ways of testing and increasing self-awareness; exploring the concepts we use (such as ‘difference’, ‘justice’, ‘kindness’, etc.) in relation to different groups; and applying helpful principles from existing ethical theories (e.g. universalizability of rules, or defining and developing good character traits).

Various forms of diversity will be explored (gender, race, religion, socio-economic status, etc.) and we will discuss how each form may affect justice in various work environments and in daily life.

The workshop will be highly interactive and based on relevant case-studies. To this end, participants are encouraged to bring accounts of their own experience/doubts relating to diversity and bias.



Part I (55 minutes) – Reflection and Awareness

Introduction (5 min)

Mini lecture: What is diversity really? (5 min)

Small group discussion: unacknowledged types of diversity (10 min)

Implicit bias quiz (5 min)

Whole group discussion (10 min)


Case-study 1: Gender

Mini lecture: Gender and sex: between essence and construction (10 min)

Discussion: the importance of differences (10 min)


Short break (5-10 minutes)


Part II (55 minutes) – Practical Strategies

Mini lecture: Justice and Equality: Should we treat everyone in the same way? (5 min) + Kinds of discrimination (5 minutes)


Case-study 2: Race

Small group discussion (10 min)

Whole group feedback (5 min)


Ethics-based strategies

Group work 1: Universal rules (10 min)

Group work 2: Virtues (10 min)

Whole group discussion and conclusion (10 min)


For enquiries please contact: Fiona Lavin at ethics.cpd@ucd.ie