Simon Fitzpatrick John Carroll University
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  • Faculty, John Carroll University
  • PhD, University of Sheffield, 2006.

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About me
I am currently Associate Professor of Philosophy at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. Before that I held a post-doc with the AHRC Culture and the Mind Project at the University of Sheffield in the UK. My main interests are in the philosophy of psychology (particularly animal cognition and empirical moral psychology) and the philosophy of science (particularly Ockham's Razor/simplicity and scientific realism).
My works
11 items found.
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  1.  17
    H. Clark Barrett, Alexander Bolyanatz, Alyssa N. Crittenden, Daniel M. T. Fessler, Simon Fitzpatrick, Michael Gurven, Joseph Henrich, Martin Kanovsky, Geoff Kushnick, Anne Pisor, Brooke A. Scelza, Stephen Stich, Chris von Rueden, Wanying Zhao & Stephen Laurence (forthcoming). Small-Scale Societies Exhibit Fundamental Variation in the Role of Intentions in Moral Judgment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    Intent and mitigating circumstances play a central role in moral and legal assessments in large-scale industrialized societies. Al- though these features of moral assessment are widely assumed to be universal, to date, they have only been studied in a narrow range of societies. We show that there is substantial cross-cultural variation among eight traditional small-scale societies (ranging from hunter-gatherer to pastoralist to horticulturalist) and two Western societies (one urban, one rural) in the extent to which intent and mitigating circumstances influence (...)
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  2. Simon Fitzpatrick (forthcoming). Against Morgan's Canon. In Kristin Andrews & Jacob Beck (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds. Routledge
  3.  4
    Simon Fitzpatrick & Grant Goodrich (forthcoming). Building a Science of Animal Minds: Lloyd Morgan, Experimentation, and Morgan’s Canon. Journal of the History of Biology.
    Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1852–1936) is widely regarded as the father of modern comparative psychology. Yet, Morgan initially had significant doubts about whether a genuine science of comparative psychology was even possible, only later becoming more optimistic about our ability to make reliable inferences about the mental capacities of non-human animals. There has been a fair amount of disagreement amongst scholars of Morgan’s work about the nature, timing, and causes of this shift in Morgan’s thinking. We argue that Morgan underwent two (...)
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  4.  49
    Simon Fitzpatrick (2015). Nativism, Empiricism, and Ockham’s Razor. Erkenntnis 80 (5):895-922.
    This paper discusses the role that appeals to theoretical simplicity have played in the debate between nativists and empiricists in cognitive science. Both sides have been keen to make use of such appeals in defence of their respective positions about the structure and ontogeny of the human mind. Focusing on the standard simplicity argument employed by empiricist-minded philosophers and cognitive scientists—what I call “the argument for minimal innateness”—I identify various problems with such arguments—in particular, the apparent arbitrariness of the relevant (...)
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  5.  47
    Simon Fitzpatrick (2014). Distinguishing Between Three Versions of the Doctrine of Double Effect Hypothesis in Moral Psychology. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (4):505-525.
    Based on the results of empirical studies of folk moral judgment, several researchers have claimed that something like the famous Doctrine of Double Effect may be a fundamental, albeit unconscious, component of human moral psychology. Proponents of this psychological DDE hypothesis have, however, said surprisingly little about how the distinction at the heart of standard formulations of the principle—the distinction between intended and merely foreseen consequences—might be cognised when we make moral judgments about people’s actions. I first highlight the problem (...)
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  6. Simon Fitzpatrick (2014). Moral Realism, Moral Disagreement, and Moral Psychology. Philosophical Papers 43 (2):161-190.
    This paper considers John Doris, Stephen Stich, Alexandra Plakias, and colleagues’ recent attempts to utilize empirical studies of cross-cultural variation in moral judgment to support a version of the argument from disagreement against moral realism. Crucially, Doris et al. claim that the moral disagreements highlighted by these studies are not susceptible to the standard ‘diffusing’ explanations realists have developed in response to earlier versions of the argument. I argue that plausible hypotheses about the cognitive processes underlying ordinary moral judgment and (...)
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  7. Simon Fitzpatrick (2013). Doing Away with the No Miracles Argument. In Dennis Dieks & Vassilios Karakostas (eds.), Recent Progress in Philosophy of Science: Perspectives and Foundational Problems. Springer
    The recent debate surrounding scientific realism has largely focused on the “no miracles” argument (NMA). Indeed, it seems that most contemporary realists and anti-realists have tied the case for realism to the adequacy of this argument. I argue that it is mistake for realists to let the debate be framed in this way. Realists would be well advised to abandon the NMA altogether and pursue an alternative strategy, which I call the “local strategy”.
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  8. Simon Fitzpatrick (2013). Kelly on Ockham's Razor and Truth-Finding Efficiency. Philosophy of Science 80 (2):298-309.
    This paper discusses Kevin Kelly’s recent attempt to justify Ockham’s Razor in terms of truth-finding efficiency. It is argued that Kelly’s justification fails to warrant confidence in the empirical content of theories recommended by Ockham’s Razor. This is a significant problem if, as Kelly and many others believe, considerations of simplicity play a pervasive role in scientific reasoning, underlying even our best tested theories, for the proposal will fail to warrant the use of these theories in practical prediction.
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  9.  84
    Simon Fitzpatrick (2013). Simplicity in the Philosophy of Science. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  10. Simon Fitzpatrick (2009). The Primate Mindreading Controversy : A Case Study in Simplicity and Methodology in Animal Psychology. In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press 224--246.
  11.  56
    Simon Fitzpatrick (2008). Doing Away with Morgan’s Canon. Mind and Language 23 (2):224–246.
    Morgan’s Canon is a very widely endorsed methodological principle in animal psychology, believed to be vital for a rigorous, scientific approach to the study of animal cognition. In contrast I argue that Morgan’s Canon is unjustified, pernicious and unnecessary. I identify two main versions of the Canon and show that they both suffer from very serious problems. I then suggest an alternative methodological principle that captures all of the genuine methodological benefits that Morgan’s Canon can bring but suffers from none (...)
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