Profiles, Probabilities, and Stereotypes

Author:   Frederick Schauer
Publisher:   Harvard University Press
Edition:   New edition
ISBN:  

9780674021181


Pages:   384
Publication Date:   02 May 2006
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   Awaiting stock   Availability explained
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Profiles, Probabilities, and Stereotypes


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Overview

This book employs a careful, rigorous, yet lively approach to the timely question of whether we can justly generalize about members of a group on the basis of statistical tendencies of that group. For instance, should a military academy exclude women because, on average, women are more sensitive to hazing than men? Should airlines force all pilots to retire at age sixty, even though most pilots at that age have excellent vision? Can all pit bulls be banned because of the aggressive characteristics of the breed? And, most controversially, should government and law enforcement use racial and ethnic profiling as a tool to fight crime and terrorism? Frederick Schauer strives to analyze and resolve these prickly questions. When the law thinks like an actuary --makes decisions about groups based on averages--the public benefit can be enormous. On the other hand, profiling and stereotyping may lead to injustice. And many stereotypes are self-fulfilling, while others are simply spurious. How, then, can we decide which stereotypes are accurate, which are distortions, which can be applied fairly, and which will result in unfair stigmatization? These decisions must rely not only on statistical and empirical accuracy, but also on morality. Even statistically sound generalizations may sometimes have to yield to the demands of justice. But broad judgments are not always or even usually immoral, and we should not always dismiss them because of an instinctive aversion to stereotypes. As Schauer argues, there is good profiling and bad profiling. If we can effectively determine which is which, we stand to gain, not lose, a measure of justice.

Full Product Details

Author:   Frederick Schauer
Publisher:   Harvard University Press
Imprint:   The Belknap Press
Edition:   New edition
Dimensions:   Width: 12.90cm , Height: 2.20cm , Length: 20.20cm
Weight:   0.380kg
ISBN:  

9780674021181


ISBN 10:   0674021185
Pages:   384
Publication Date:   02 May 2006
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Professional & Vocational
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   Awaiting stock   Availability explained
The supplier is currently out of stock of this item. It will be ordered for you and placed on backorder. Once it does come back in stock, we will ship it out for you.

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Reviews

Rather than indulge recriminations about racism or simple-minded nostrums about public safety, Schauer has shown that a society ruled by laws needs to make generalizations and, yes, create profiles. -- Eli Lehrer Weekly Standard 20040315 As Frederick Schauer argues in his excellent book, though we are right to suspect that all general rules are discriminatory, we are wrong to suppose that it is therefore better to trust individuals. This is because no individual is truly capable of judging each case on its merits; individuals simply bring their own personal generalisations to bear on the case in question...Schauer suggests that we should all toughen up about stereotyping, accept it as an inevitable fact of life, and instead of trying to avoid it, concentrate on coming up with the best stereotypes we can. -- David Runciman London Review of Books 20040805 In an era in which profiling, stereotyping, and generalizing are suspect Frederick Schauer's Profiles, Probabilities, and Stereotypes is a frank, in-depth look at the justifications for such practices. Schauer takes an unpopular stance in supporting the use of generalization over particularization, opening the reader's eyes to the fact that society operates on multiple levels by the widespread use of generalization...Schauer addresses the intriguing question of why we find some generalizations acceptable and others morally outrageous...Schauer skillfully develops his thesis that the outcomes of applying general rules are often preferable to those that would result from applying a rule's rationale individually in each case. Profiles, Probabilities, and Stereotypes faces controversial issues with aplomb and will capture any reader interested in how fairness, equality, morality, stability, and community are interrelated. -- Melanie Kilpatrick Federal Lawyer 20040601


As Frederick Schauer argues in his excellent book, though we are right to suspect that all general rules are discriminatory, we are wrong to suppose that it is therefore better to trust individuals. This is because no individual is truly capable of judging each case on its merits; individuals simply bring their own personal generalisations to bear on the cause in question... Schauer suggests that we should all toughen up about stereotyping, accept it as an inevitable fact of life, and instead of trying to avoid it, concentrate on coming up with the best stereotypes we can. - David Runciman, London Review of Books


Author Information

Frederick Schauer is David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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