Joshua Knobe Yale University
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  • Faculty, Yale University
  • PhD, Princeton University, 2005.

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  1. Zoltán Gendler Szabó & Joshua Knobe (forthcoming). Modals with a Taste of the Deontic. Semantics and Pragmatics.
    The aim of this paper is to present an explanation for the impact of normative considerations on people’s assessment of certain seemingly purely descriptive matters. The explanation is based on two main claims. First, a large category of expressions are tacitly modal: they are contextually equivalent to modal proxies. Second, the interpretation of predominantly circumstantial or teleological modals is subject to certain constraints which make certain possibilities salient at the expense of others.
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  2. Joshua Knobe (forthcoming). Free Will and the Scientific Vision. In Edouard Machery & Elizabeth O.’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge.
    A review of existing work in experimental philosophy on intuitions about free will. The paper argues that people ordinarily understand free human action, not as something that is caused by psychological states (beliefs, desires, etc.) but as something that completely transcends the normal causal order.
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  3. Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Shaun Nichols (eds.) (forthcoming). Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
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  4. Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Shaun Nichols (eds.) (forthcoming). Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 1. Oxford University Press.
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  5. Joshua Knobe & Seth Yalcin (forthcoming). Epistemic Modals and Context: Experimental Data. Semantics and Pragmatics.
    Recently, a number of theorists (MacFarlane (2003, 2011), Egan et al. (2005), Egan (2007), Stephenson (2007a,b)) have argued that an adequate semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals calls for some technical notion of relativist truth and/or relativist content. Much of this work has relied on an empirical thesis about speaker judgments, namely that competent speakers tend to judge a present-tense bare epistemic possibility claim true only if the prejacent is compatible with their information. Relativists have in particular appealed to judgments (...)
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  6. Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.) (2014). Experimental Philosophy: Volume 2. OUP USA.
    Experimental Philosophy: Volume 2 contains fourteen articles -- thirteen previously published and one new -- that reflect the fast-moving changes in the field over the last five years.
     
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  7. George E. Newman, Julian De Freitas & Joshua Knobe (2014). Beliefs About the True Self Explain Asymmetries Based on Moral Judgment. Cognitive Science 38 (5):n/a-n/a.
    Past research has identified a number of asymmetries based on moral judgments. Beliefs about (a) what a person values, (b) whether a person is happy, (c) whether a person has shown weakness of will, and (d) whether a person deserves praise or blame seem to depend critically on whether participants themselves find the agent's behavior to be morally good or bad. To date, however, the origins of these asymmetries remain unknown. The present studies examine whether beliefs about an agent's “true (...)
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  8. Joshua Knobe, Sandeep Prasada & George Newman (2013). Dual Character Concepts and the Normative Dimension of Conceptual Representation. Cognition 127 (2):242-257.
    Five experiments provide evidence for a class of ‘dual character concepts.’ Dual character concepts characterize their members in terms of both (a) a set of concrete features and (b) the abstract values that these features serve to realize. As such, these concepts provide two bases for evaluating category members and two different criteria for category membership. Experiment 1 provides support for the notion that dual character concepts have two bases for evaluation. Experiments 2-4 explore the claim that dual character concepts (...)
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  9. Joshua Knobe & Richard Samuels (2013). Thinking Like a Scientist: Innateness as a Case Study. Cognition 126 (1):72-86.
  10. Alex Shaw & Joshua Knobe (2013). Not All Mutualism is Fair, and Not All Fairness is Mutualistic. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (1):100 - 101.
    The target article convincingly argues that mutualistic cooperation is supported by partner choice. However, we will suggest that mutualistic cooperation is not the basis of fairness; instead, fairness is based on impartiality. In support of this view, we show that adults are willing to destroy others' resources to avoid inequality, a result predicted by impartiality but not by mutualistic cooperation.
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  11. Wesley Buckwalter, Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols, N. Ángel Pinillos, Philip Robbins, Hagop Sarkissian, Chris Weigel & Jonathan M. Weinberg (2012). Experimental Philosophy. Oxford Bibliographies Online (1):81-92.
    Bibliography of works in experimental philosophy.
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  12. Florian Cova, Julien Dutant, Edouard Machery, Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols & Eddy Nahmias (eds.) (2012). La Philosophie Expérimentale. Vuibert.
    La philosophie expérimentale est un mouvement récent qui tente de faire progresser certains débats philosophiques grâce à l'utilisation de méthodes expérimentales. À la différence de la philosophie conventionnelle qui privilégie l'analyse conceptuelle ou la spéculation, la philosophie expérimentale préconise le recours aux études empiriques pour mieux comprendre les concepts philosophiques. Apparue il y a une dizaine d'années dans les pays anglo-saxons, cette approche constitue actuellement l'une des branches les plus dynamiques de la philosophie contemporaine. -/- L'objectif de cet ouvrage est (...)
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  13. Joshua Knobe, Wesley Buckwalter, Philip Robbins, Hagop Sarkissian, Tamler Sommers & Shaun Nichols (2012). Experimental Philosophy. Annual Review of Psychology 63 (50):72-73.
    Experimental philosophy is a new interdisciplinary field that uses methods normally associated with psychology to investigate questions normally associated with philosophy. The present review focuses on research in experimental philosophy on four central questions. First, why is it that people's moral judgments appear to influence their intuitions about seemingly nonmoral questions? Second, do people think that moral questions have objective answers, or do they see morality as fundamentally relative? Third, do people believe in free will, and do they see free (...)
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  14. Jonathan Schaffer & Joshua Knobe (2012). Contrastive Knowledge Surveyed. Noûs 46 (4):675-708.
    Suppose that Ann says, “Keith knows that the bank will be open tomorrow.” Her audience may well agree. Her knowledge ascription may seem true. But now suppose that Ben—in a different context—also says “Keith knows that the bank will be open tomorrow.” His audience may well disagree. His knowledge ascription may seem false. Indeed, a number of philosophers have claimed that people’s intuitions about knowledge ascriptions are context sensitive, in the sense that the very same knowledge ascription can seem true (...)
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  15. Brent Strickland, Matt Fisher & Joshua Knobe (2012). Moral Structure Falls Out of General Event Structure. Psychological Inquiry 23 (2):198-205.
    The notion of agency has been explored within research in moral psychology and, quite separately, within research in linguistics. Moral psychologists have suggested that agency attributions play a role in moral judgments, while linguists have argued that agency attributions play a role in syntactic intuitions. -/- To explore the connection between these two lines of research, we report the results of an experiment in which we manipulate syntactic cues for agency and show a corresponding impact on moral judgments. This result (...)
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  16. Joshua Knobe (2011). Finding the Mind in the Body. In Max Brockman (ed.), Future Science: Essays from the Cutting Edge. Random House. 184-196.
  17. Joshua Knobe (2011). Is Morality Relative? Depends on Your Personality. The Philosophers' Magazine 52 (52):66-71.
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  18. Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (2011). Free Will and the Bounds of the Self. In Robert Kane (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford.
    If you start taking courses in contemporary cognitive science, you will soon encounter a particular picture of the human mind. This picture says that the mind is a lot like a computer. Specifically, the mind is made up of certain states and certain processes. These states and processes interact, in accordance with certain general rules, to generate specific behaviors. If you want to know how those states and processes got there in the first place, the only answer is that they (...)
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  19. Jonathan Phillips, Luke Misenheimer & Joshua Knobe (2011). The Ordinary Concept of Happiness (and Others Like It). Emotion Review 71 (3):929-937.
    Consider people’s ordinary concept of belief. This concept seems to pick out a particular psychological state. Indeed, one natural view would be that the concept of belief works much like the concepts one finds in cognitive science – not quite as rigorous or precise, perhaps, but still the same basic type of notion. But now suppose we turn to other concepts that people ordinarily use to understand the mind. Suppose we consider the concept happiness. Or the concept love. How are (...)
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  20. Hagop Sarkissian, John Park, David Tien, Jennifer Wright & Joshua Knobe (2011). Folk Moral Relativism. Mind and Language 26 (4):482-505.
    It has often been suggested that people's ordinary understanding of morality involves a belief in objective moral truths and a rejection of moral relativism. The results of six studies call this claim into question. Participants did offer apparently objectivist moral intuitions when considering individuals from their own culture, but they offered increasingly relativist intuitions considering individuals from increasingly different cultures or ways of life. The authors hypothesize that people do not have a fixed commitment to moral objectivism but instead tend (...)
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  21. C. Daryl Cameron, Joshua Knobe & B. Keith Payne (2010). Do Theories of Implicit Race Bias Change Moral Judgments? Social Justice Research 23:272-289.
    Recent work in social psychology suggests that people harbor “implicit race biases,” biases which can be unconscious or uncontrollable. Because awareness and control have traditionally been deemed necessary for the ascription of moral responsibility, implicit biases present a unique challenge: do we pardon discrimination based on implicit biases because of its unintentional nature, or do we punish discrimination regardless of how it comes about? The present experiments investigated the impact such theories have upon moral judgments about racial discrimination. The results (...)
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  22. Joshua Knobe (2010). Action Trees and Moral Judgment. Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):555-578.
    It has sometimes been suggested that people represent the structure of action in terms of an action tree. A question now arises about the relationship between this action tree representation and people’s moral judgments. A natural hypothesis would be that people first construct a representation of the action tree and then go on to use this representation in making moral judgments. The present paper argues for a more complex view. Specifically, the paper reports a series of experimental studies that appear (...)
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  23. Joshua Knobe (2010). Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.
    It has often been suggested that people’s ordinary capacities for understanding the world make use of much the same methods one might find in a formal scientific investigation. A series of recent experimental results offer a challenge to this widely-held view, suggesting that people’s moral judgments can actually influence the intuitions they hold both in folk psychology and in causal cognition. The present target article distinguishes two basic approaches to explaining such effects. One approach would be to say that the (...)
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  24. Joshua Knobe (2010). The Person as Moralist Account and its Alternatives. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):353-365.
    The commentators offer helpful suggestions at three levels: (1) explanations for the particular effects discussed in the target article; (2) implications of those effects for our understanding of the role of moral judgment in human cognition; and (3) more theoretical questions about the overall relationship between ordinary cognition and systematic science. The present response takes up these three issues in turn.
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  25. Joshua Knobe & John Doris (2010). Responsibility. In John Doris & The Moral Psychology Research Group (eds.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press.
    Much of the agenda for contemporary philosophical work on moral responsibility was set by Strawson’s (1962) essay ‘Freedom and Resentment.’ In that essay, Strawson suggests that we focus not so much on metaphysical speculation as on understanding the actual practice of moral responsibility judgment. The hope is that we will be able to resolve the apparent paradoxes surrounding moral responsibility if we can just get a better sense of how this practice works and what role it serves in people’s lives. (...)
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  26. Joshua Knobe & John M. Doris (2010). Responsibility. In John Michael Doris (ed.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press.
    A great deal of fascinating research has gone into an attempt to uncover the fundamental criteria that people use when assigning moral responsibility. Nonetheless, it seems that most existing accounts fall prey to one counterexample or another. The underlying problem, we suggest, is that there simply isn't any single system of criteria that people apply in all cases of responsibility attribution. Instead, it appears that people use quite different criteria in different kinds of cases. [This paper was originally circulated under (...)
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  27. Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Edouard Machery (2010). Editorial: Dimensions of Experimental Philosophy. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3):315-318.
    Editorial: Dimensions of Experimental Philosophy Content Type Journal Article Pages 315-318 DOI 10.1007/s13164-010-0037-9 Authors Joshua Knobe, Program in Cognitive Science and Department of Philosophy, Yale University, New Haven, CT USA Tania Lombrozo, Department of Psychology, UC Berkeley, 3210 Tolman Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA Edouard Machery, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, 1017 CL, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA Journal Review of Philosophy and Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume (...)
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  28. Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Edouard Machery (2010). Editorial: Psychology and Experimental Philosophy. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):157-160.
    Recent years have seen an explosion of new work at the intersection of philosophy and experimental psychology. This work takes the concerns with moral and conceptual issues that have so long been associated with philosophy and connects them with the use of systematic and well-controlled empirical investigations that one more typically finds in psychology. Work in this new field often goes under the name "experimental philosophy".
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  29. Tamar A. Kreps, Benoît Monin & Joshua Knobe (2010). Are Mental States Assessed Relative to What Most People “Should” or “Would” Think? Prescriptive and Descriptive Components of Expected Attitudes. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):341.
    For Knobe, observers evaluate mental states by comparing agents' statements with the attitudes they are expected to hold. In our analysis, Knobe's model relies primarily on what agents should think, and little on expectancies of what they would think. We show the importance and complexity of including descriptive and prescriptive norms if one is to take expectancies seriously.
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  30. Hagop Sarkissian, Amita Chatterjee, Felipe De Brigard, Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols & Smita Sirker (2010). Is Belief in Free Will a Cultural Universal? Mind and Language 25 (3):346-358.
    Recent experimental research has revealed surprising patterns in people's intuitions about free will and moral responsibility. One limitation of this research, however, is that it has been conducted exclusively on people from Western cultures. The present paper extends previous research by presenting a cross-cultural study examining intuitions about free will and moral responsibility in subjects from the United States, Hong Kong, India and Colombia. The results revealed a striking degree of cross-cultural convergence. In all four cultural groups, the majority of (...)
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  31. Christopher Hitchcock & Joshua Knobe (2009). Cause and Norm. Journal of Philosophy 106 (11):587-612.
    Much of the philosophical literature on causation has focused on the concept of actual causation, sometimes called token causation. In particular, it is this notion of actual causation that many philosophical theories of causation have attempted to capture.2 In this paper, we address the question: what purpose does this concept serve? As we shall see in the next section, one does not need this concept for purposes of prediction or rational deliberation. What then could the purpose be? We will argue (...)
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  32. Yoel Inbar, David A. Pizarro, Joshua Knobe & Paul Bloom (2009). Disgust Sensitivity Predicts Intuitive Disapproval of Gays. Emotion 9 (3): 435– 43.
    Two studies demonstrate that a dispositional proneness to disgust (“disgust sensitivity”) is associated with intuitive disapproval of gay people. Study 1 was based on previous research showing that people are more likely to describe a behavior as intentional when they see it as morally wrong (see Knobe, 2006, for a review). As predicted, the more disgust sensitive participants were, the more likely they were to describe an agent whose behavior had the side effect of causing gay men to kiss in (...)
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  33. Joshua Knobe (2009). Answers to Five Questions. In Jesús H. Aguilar & Andrei A. Buckareff (eds.), Philosophy of Action: 5 Questions. Automatic Press.
    Back when I was a college freshman, I started working as a research assistant to a young graduate student named Bertram Malle. I hadn’t actually known very much about Malle’s work when I first signed up for the position, but as luck would have it, he was a brilliant researcher with an innovative new approach. Malle was interested in understanding people’s ordinary intuitions about intentional action – the way in which people’s ascriptions of belief, desire, awareness and so forth ultimately (...)
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  34. Joshua Knobe (2009). Folk Judgments of Causation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):238-242.
    When scientists are trying to uncover the causes of a given outcome, they often make use of statistical information. Thus, if scientists wanted to know whether there was a causal relationship between attending philosophy lectures and learning philosophy, they might randomly assign students to either attend or not attend certain lectures and then check to see whether those who attended the lectures ended up learning more philosophy than those who did not.
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  35. Joshua Knobe & Sean D. Kelly (2009). Can One Act for a Reason Without Acting Intentionally? In Constantine Sandis (ed.), New Essays on the Explanation of Action. Palgrave Macmillan. 169--183.
     
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  36. Joshua Knobe & Erica Preston‐Roedder (2009). The Ordinary Concept of Valuing. Philosophical Issues 19 (1):131-147.
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  37. Joshua Knobe & Erica Roedder (2009). The Ordinary Concept of Valuing. In Ernest Sosa & Enrique Villanueva (eds.), Metaethics. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.. 131-147.
    The concept of valuing plays an important role in the way we think about people’s attitudes toward the things they care about most. We invoke this concept in sentences like: I value your friendship. We need to find a leader who truly values political equality. To live a good life, one must always return to the things one values most. Yet there also seem to be cases in which a person has a strong desire for a particular object but in (...)
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  38. Dean Pettit & Joshua Knobe (2009). The Pervasive Impact of Moral Judgment. Mind and Language 24 (5):586-604.
    Shows that the very same asymmetries that arise for intentionally also arise from deciding, desiring, in favor of, opposed to, and advocating. It seems that the phenomenon is not due to anything about the concept of intentional action in particular. Rather, the effects observed for the concept of intentional action should be regarded as just one manifestation of the pervasive impact of moral judgment.
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  39. Dean Pettit & Joshua Knobe (2009). The Pervasive Impact of Moral Judgment. Mind and Language 24 (5):586-604.
    A series of recent studies have shown that people's moral judgments can affect their intuitions as to whether or not a behavior was performed intentionally. Prior attempts to explain this effect can be divided into two broad families. Some researchers suggest that the effect is due to some peculiar feature of the concept of intentional action in particular, while others suggest that the effect is a reflection of a more general tendency whereby moral judgments exert a pervasive influence on folk (...)
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  40. Jonathan Phillips & Joshua Knobe (2009). Moral Judgments and Intuitions About Freedom. Psychological Inquiry 20 (1):30-36.
    Reeder’s article offers a new and intriguing approach to the study of people’s ordinary understanding of freedom and constraint. On this approach, people use information about freedom and constraint as part of a quasi-scientific effort to make accurate inferences about an agent’s motives. Their beliefs about the agent’s motives then affect a wide variety of further psychological processes, including the process whereby they arrive at moral judgments. In illustrating this new approach, Reeder cites an elegant study he conducted a number (...)
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  41. Fiery Cushman, Joshua Knobe & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2008). Moral Appraisals Affect Doing/Allowing Judgments. Cognition 108 (2):353-380.
    An extensive body of research suggests that the distinction between doing and allowing plays a critical role in shaping moral appraisals. Here, we report evidence from a pair of experiments suggesting that the converse is also true: moral appraisals affect doing/allowing judgments. Specifically, morally bad behavior is more likely to be construed as actively ‘doing’ than as passively ‘allowing’. This finding adds to a growing list of folk concepts influenced by moral appraisal, including causation and intentional action. We therefore suggest (...)
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  42. Joshua Knobe (2008). Can a Robot, an Insect or God Be Aware? Scientific American.
  43. Joshua Knobe (2008). Folk Psychology: Science and Morals. In Daniel Hutto & Matthew Ratcliffe (eds.), Folk Psychology Reassessed. Springer Press.
    It is widely agreed that folk psychology plays an important role in people’s moral judgments. For a simple example, take the process by which we determine whether or not an agent is morally blameworthy. Although the judgment here is ultimately a moral one, it seems that one needs to use a fair amount of folk psychology along the way. Thus, one might determine that an agent broke the vase intentionally and therefore conclude that she is blameworthy for breaking it. Here (...)
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  44. Joshua Knobe & Ben Fraser (2008). Causal Judgment and Moral Judgment: Two Experiments. In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology. MIT Press.
    It has long been known that people’s causal judgments can have an impact on their moral judgments. To take a simple example, if people conclude that a behavior caused the death of ten innocent children, they will therefore be inclined to regard the behavior itself as morally wrong. So far, none of this should come as any surprise. But recent experimental work points to the existence of a second, and more surprising, aspect of the relationship between causal judgment and moral (...)
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  45. Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.) (2008). Experimental Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    The present volume provides an introduction to the major themes of work in experimental philosophy, bringing together some of the most influential articles in ...
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  46. Joshua Knobe & Jesse J. Prinz (2008). Intuitions About Consciousness: Experimental Studies. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):67-83.
    When people are trying to determine whether an entity is capable of having certain kinds of mental states, they can proceed either by thinking about the entity from a *functional* standpoint or by thinking about the entity from a *physical* standpoint. We conducted a series of studies to determine how each of these standpoints impact people’s mental state ascriptions. The results point to a striking asymmetry. It appears that ascriptions of states involving phenomenal consciousness are sensitive to physical factors in (...)
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  47. John M. Doris, Joshua Knobe & Robert L. Woolfolk (2007). Variantism About Responsibility. Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):183–214.
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  48. Joshua Knobe (2007). Acting Intentionally and Acting for a Reason. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 27 (1):119-122.
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  49. Joshua Knobe (2007). Experimental Philosophy. Philosophy Compass 2 (1):81–92.
    Claims about people's intuitions have long played an important role in philosophical debates. The new field of experimental philosophy seeks to subject such claims to rigorous tests using the traditional methods of cognitive science – systematic experimentation and statistical analysis. Work in experimental philosophy thus far has investigated people's intuitions in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics. Although it is now generally agreed that experimental philosophers have made surprising discoveries about people's intuitions in each of these areas, (...)
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  50. Joshua Knobe (2007). Experimental Philosophy and Philosophical Significance. Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):119 – 121.
    Kauppinen argues that experimental philosophy cannot help us to address questions about the semantics of our concepts and that it therefore has little to contribute to the discipline of philosophy. This argument raises fascinating questions in the philosophy of language, but it is simply a red herring in the present context. Most researchers in experimental philosophy were not trying to resolve semantic questions in the first place. Their aim was rather to address a more traditional sort of question, the sort (...)
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  51. Joshua Knobe (2007). Folk Psychology: Science and Morals. In. In Daniel D. Hutto & Matthew Ratcliffe (eds.), Folk Psychology Re-Assessed. Kluwer/Springer Press. 157--173.
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  52. Joshua Knobe (2007). Reason Explanation in Folk Psychology. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):90–106.
    Consider the following explanation: (1) George took his umbrella because it was just about to rain. This is an explanation of a quite distinctive sort. It is profoundly different from the sort of explanation we might use to explain, say, the movements of a bouncing ball or the gradual rise of the tide on a beach. Unlike these other types of explanations, it explains an agent’s behavior by describing the agent’s own _reasons_ for performing that behavior. Explanations that work in (...)
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  53. Joshua Knobe (2007). Sentimental Rules. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (3):727-729.
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  54. Joshua Knobe (2007). Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (3):727–729.
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  55. Joshua Knobe & Brian Leiter (2007). The Case for Nietzschean Moral Psychology. In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality. Oxford University Press.
    Contemporary moral psychology has been dominated by two broad traditions, one usually associated with Aristotle, the other with Kant. The broadly Aristotelian approach emphasizes the role of childhood upbringing in the development of good moral character, and the role of such character in ethical behavior. The broadly Kantian approach emphasizes the role of freely chosen conscious moral principles in ethical behavior. We review a growing body of experimental evidence that suggests that both of these approaches are predicated on an implausible (...)
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  56. Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (2007). An Experimental Philosophy Manifesto. In Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Experimental Philosophy. Oxford University Press. 3--14.
    It used to be a commonplace that the discipline of philosophy was deeply concerned with questions about the human condition. Philosophers thought about human beings and how their minds worked. They took an interest in reason and passion, culture and innate ideas, the origins of people’s moral and religious beliefs. On this traditional conception, it wasn’t particularly important to keep philosophy clearly distinct from psychology, history, or political science. Philosophers were concerned, in a very general way, with questions about how..
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  57. Bertram F. Malle, Joshua Knobe & S. Nelson (2007). Actor-Observer Asymmetries in Explanations of Behavior: New Answers to an Old Question. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 9 (4):491-514.
    A long series of studies in social psychology have shown that the explanations people give for their own behaviors are fundamentally different from the explanations they give for the behaviors of others. Still, a great deal of uncertainty remains about precisely what sorts of differences one finds here. We offer a new approach to addressing the problem. Specifically, we distinguish between two levels of representation ─ the level of linguistic structure (which consists of the actual series of words used in (...)
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  58. Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (2007). Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions. Noûs 41 (4):663–685.
    An empirical study of people's intuitions about freedom of the will. We show that people tend to have compatiblist intuitions when they think about the problem in a more concrete, emotional way but that they tend to have incompatiblist intuitions when they think about the problem in a more abstract, cognitive way.
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  59. Joshua Knobe (2006). The Concept of Intentional Action: A Case Study in the Uses of Folk Psychology. Philosophical Studies 130 (2):203-231.
    It is widely believed that the primary function of folk psychology lies in the prediction, explanation and control of behavior. A question arises, however, as to whether folk psychology has also been shaped in fundamental ways by the various other roles it plays in people’s lives. Here I approach that question by considering one particular aspect of folk psychology – the distinction between intentional and unintentional behaviors. The aim is to determine whether this distinction is best understood as a tool (...)
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  60. Joshua Knobe & Arudra Burra (2006). Experimental Philosophy and Folk Concepts: Methodological Considerations. Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):331-342.
    Experimental philosophy is a comparatively new field of research, and it is only natural that many of the key methodological questions have not even been asked, much less answered. In responding to the comments of our critics, we therefore find ourselves brushing up against difficult questions about the aims and techniques of our whole enterprise. We will do our best to address these issues here, but the field is progressing at a rapid clip, and we suspect that it will be (...)
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  61. Joshua Knobe & Arudra Burra (2006). The Folk Concepts of Intention and Intentional Action: A Cross-Cultural Study. Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):113-132.
    Recent studies point to a surprising divergence between people's use of the concept of _intention_ and their use of the concept of _acting intentionally_. It seems that people's application of the concept of intention is determined by their beliefs about the agent's psychological states whereas their use of the concept of acting intentionally is determined at least in part by their beliefs about the moral status of the behavior itself (i.e., by their beliefs about whether the behavior is morally good (...)
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  62. Joshua Knobe, Adam Cohen & Alan Leslie (2006). Acting Intentionally and the Side-Effect Effect: 'Theory of Mind' and Moral Judgment. Psychological Science 17:421-427.
    The concept of acting intentionally is an important nexus where ‘theory of mind’ and moral judgment meet. Preschool children’s judgments of intentional action show a valence-driven asymmetry. Children say that a foreseen but disavowed side-effect is brought about 'on purpose' when the side-effect itself is morally bad but not when it is morally good. This is the first demonstration in preschoolers that moral judgment influences judgments of ‘on-purpose’ (as opposed to purpose influencing moral judgment). Judgments of intentional action are usually (...)
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  63. Joshua Knobe, Ken D. Olum & And Alexander Vilenkin (2006). Philosophical Implications of Inflationary Cosmology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):47-67.
    Recent developments in cosmology indicate that every history having a non-zero probability is realized in infinitely many distinct regions of spacetime. Thus, it appears that the universe contains infinitely many civilizations exactly like our own, as well as infinitely many civilizations that differ from our own in any way permitted by physical laws. We explore the implications of this conclusion for ethical theory and for the doomsday argument. In the infinite universe, we find that the doomsday argument applies only to (...)
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  64. J. Knobe (2005). Moral Cognition and Theory of Mind: Exploring the Connections. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9:357-359.
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  65. Joshua Knobe (2005). Cognitive Processes Shaped by the Impulse to Blame. Brooklyn Law Review 71:929-937.
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  66. Joshua Knobe (2005). Ordinary Ethical Reasoning and the Ideal of 'Being Yourself'. Philosophical Psychology 18 (3):327 – 340.
    The psychological study of ethical reasoning tends to concentrate on a few specific issues, with the bulk of the research going to the study of people's attitudes toward moral rules or the welfare of others. But people's ethical reasoning is also shaped by a wide range of other concerns. Here I focus on the importance that people attach to the ideal of being yourself. It is shown that certain experimental results - results that seemed anomalous and inexplicable to researchers who (...)
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  67. Joshua Knobe (2005). Theory of Mind and Moral Cognition: Exploring the Connections. Trends in Cognitive Science 9 (8):357-359.
    An extremely brief (3 page) review of recent work on the ways in which people's moral judgments can influence their use of folk-psychological concepts.
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  68. Joshua Knobe, Dingmar Van Eck, Susan Blackmore, Henk Bij De Weg, John Barresi, Roblin Meeks, Julian Kiverstein & Drew Rendall (2005). Reviews. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 18 (6):785 – 817.
  69. Joshua Knobe (2004). Folk Psychology and Folk Morality: Response to Critics. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):270-279.
    It is often implied, and sometimes explicitly asserted, that folk psychology is best understood as a kind of predictive device. The key contention of this widely held view is that people apply folk-psychological concepts because the application of these concepts enables them to predict future behavior. If we know what an agent believes, desires, intends, etc., we can make a pretty good guess about what he or she will do next. It seems to me that this picture is not quite (...)
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  70. Joshua Knobe (2004). Intention, Intentional Action and Moral Considerations. Analysis 64 (2):181–187.
  71. Joshua Knobe (2004). Intuitions in the Test-Tube. The Philosophers' Magazine 28:37-39.
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  72. Joshua Knobe (2004). What is Experimental Philosophy? The Philosophers' Magazine 28:37-39.
    Since the earliest days of analytic philosophy, it has been a common practice to appeal to intuitions about particular cases. Typically, the philosopher presents a hypothetical situation and then makes a claim of the form: ‘In this case, we would surely say....’ This claim about people’s intuitions then forms a part of an argument for some more general theory about the nature of our concepts or our use of language. One puzzling aspect of this practice is that it so rarely (...)
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  73. Joshua Knobe & Gabriel Mendlow (2004). The Good, the Bad and the Blameworthy: Understanding the Role of Evaluative Reasoning in Folk Psychology. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):252-258.
    People ordinarily make sense of their own behavior and that of others by invoking concepts like belief, desire, and intention. Philosophers refer to this network of concepts and related principles as 'folk psychology.' The prevailing view of folk psychology among philosophers of mind and psychologists is that it is a proto-scientific theory whose function is to explain and predict behavior.
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  74. Joshua Knobe & Gabriel S. Mendlow (2004). The Good, the Bad and the Blameworthy: Understanding the Role of Evaluative Reasoning in Folk Psychology. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):252.
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  75. Joshua Knobe (2003). Intentional Action and Side Effects in Ordinary Language. Analysis 63 (3):190–194.
    There has been a long-standing dispute in the philosophical literature about the conditions under which a behavior counts as 'intentional.' Much of the debate turns on questions about the use of certain words and phrases in ordinary language. The present paper investigates these questions empirically, using experimental techniques to investigate people's use of the relevant words and phrases. g.
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  76. Joshua Knobe (2003). Intentional Action in Folk Psychology: An Experimental Investigation. Philosophical Psychology 16 (2):309-325.
    Four experiments examined people’s folk-psychological concept of intentional action. The chief question was whether or not _evaluative _considerations — considerations of good and bad, right and wrong, praise and blame — played any role in that concept. The results indicated that the moral qualities of a behavior strongly influence people’s judgements as to whether or not that behavior should be considered ‘intentional.’ After eliminating a number of alternative explanations, the author concludes that this effect is best explained by the hypothesis (...)
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  77. Joshua Knobe & Bertram Malle (2002). Self and Other in the Explanation of Behavior: 30 Years Later. Psychologica Belgica 42:113-130.
    It has been hypothesized that actors tend to attribute behavior to the situation whereas observers tend to attribute behavior to the person (Jones & Nisbett 1972). The authors argue that this simple hypothesis fails to capture the complexity of actual actor-observer differences in people’s behavioral explanations. A new framework is proposed in which reason explanations are distinguished from explanations that cite causes, especially stable traits. With this framework in place, it becomes possible to show that there are a number of (...)
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  78. Bertram F. Malle & Joshua Knobe (2001). The Distinction Between Desire and Intention: A Folk-Conceptual Analysis. In Bertram Malle, L. J. Moses & Dare Baldwin (eds.), Intentions and Intentionality: Foundations of Social Cognition. Mit Press. 45--67.
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  79. Joshua Knobe & Bertram Malle (1997). The Folk Concept of Intentionality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 33:101-121.
    When perceiving, explaining, or criticizing human behavior, people distinguish between intentional and unintentional actions. To do so, they rely on a shared folk concept of intentionality. In contrast to past speculative models, this article provides an empirically-based model of this concept. Study 1 demonstrates that people agree substantially in their judgments of intentionality, suggesting a shared underlying concept. Study 2 reveals that when asked to directly define the term intentional, people mention four components of intentionality: desire, belief, intention, and awareness. (...)
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  80. Joshua Knobe, Paul Bloom & David Pizarro, College Students Implicitly Judge Interracial Sex and Gay Sex to Be Morally Wrong.
    College students implicitly judge interracial sex and gay sex to be morally wrong Some moral intuitions arise from psychological processes that are not fully accessible to consciousness. For instance, most people disapprove of consensual adult incest between siblings, but are unable to articulate why—they just feel that it is wrong (Haidt, 2001). More generally, there is evidence for at least two sources of moral judgment: explicit conscious reasoning and tacit intuitions, which are motivated by emotional responses (Greene et al., 2001) (...)
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  81. Joshua Knobe & Jesse Prinz, Experimental Studies of Intuitions About Consciousness: Methodological and Statistical Details.
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