The 20th century has been a tumultuous time in psychology – a century in which the discipline struggled with basic questions about its intellectual identity, but nonetheless managed to achieve spectacular growth and maturation. It’s not surprising, then, that psychology has attracted sustained philosophical attention and stimulated rich philosophical debate. Some of this debate was aimed at understanding, and sometimes criticizing, the assumptions, concepts and explanatory strategies prevailing in the psychology of the time. But much philosophical work has also been (...) devoted to exploring the implications of psychological findings and theories for broader philosophical questions like: Are humans really rational animals? How malleable is human nature? and Do we have any innate knowledge or innate ideas? One particularly noteworthy fact about philosophy of psychology in the 20th century is that, in the last quarter of the century, the distinction between psychology and the philosophy of psychology began to dissolve as philosophers played an increasingly active role in articulating and testing empirical theories about the mind and psychologists became increasingly interested in the philosophical underpinnings and implications of their work. Our survey is divided into five sections, each focusing on an important theme in 20th century psychology which has been the focus of philosophical attention and has benefited from philosophical scrutiny. (shrink)
The exercise of willpower is puzzling because it seems to require that a person both most wants to act on a wayward desire, and most wants to resist this desire, and this seems impossible. There are two accounts that try to resolve this puzzle of synchronic self-control, Jeanette Kennett and Michael Smith’s ‘non-actional’ account and Alfred Mele’s ‘ancillary action’ account. I criticize these accounts because they set too strong constraints on what kinds of synchronic self-control are possible, and thus what (...) willpower could turn out to be. I then propose a ‘divided mind’ account that helps make sense of particularly strong forms of willpower that cannot be accommodated on the alternative accounts. On the divided mind account, motivational architecture is divided between a deliberative motivational system and an emotional motivational system, and willpower is a proprietary action exclusively available to the deliberative system. I address potential objections to the divided mind account. One objection says that it is not in fact possible for a weaker desire to defeat a stronger one. A second objection says that actions that arise exclusively from parts of a mind cannot be said to belong to the whole agent. (shrink)
The side-effect effect, in which an agent who does not speci␣cally intend an outcome is seen as having brought it about intentionally, is thought to show that moral factors inappropriately bias judgments of intentionality, and to challenge standard mental state models of intentionality judgments. This study used matched vignettes to dissociate a number of moral factors and mental states. Results support the view that mental states, and not moral factors, explain the side-effect effect. However, the critical mental states appear not (...) to be desires as proposed in standard models, but rather ‘deeper’ evaluative states including values and core evaluative attitudes. (shrink)
Incompatibilists and compatibilists (mostly) agree that there is a strong intuition that a manipulated agent, i.e., an agent who is the victim of methods such as indoctrination or brainwashing, is unfree. They differ however on why exactly this intuition arises. Incompatibilists claim our intuitions in these cases are sensitive to the manipulated agent’s lack of ultimate control over her actions, while many compatibilists argue that our intuitions respond to damage inflicted by manipulation on the agent’s psychological and volitional capacities. Much (...) hangs on this issue because manipulation-based arguments are among the most important for defending incompatibilist views of free will. In this paper, I investigate this issue from a experimental perspective, using a set of statistical methods well suited for identifying the features of hypothetical cases people’s intuitions are responding to. Results strongly support the compatibilist view—subjects’ tendency to judge that a manipulated agent is unfree was found to depend on their judgments that the agent suffers impairments to certain psychological/volitional capacities that compatibilists say are the basis for free will. I discuss the significance of these results for the use of manipulation cases in the philosophical debate about free will. (shrink)
According to Interest-Relative Invariantism, whether an agent knows that p, or possesses other sorts of epistemic properties or relations, is in part determined by the practical costs of being wrong about p. Recent studies in experimental philosophy have tested the claims of IRI. After critically discussing prior studies, we present the results of our own experiments that provide strong support for IRI. We discuss our results in light of complementary findings by other theorists, and address the challenge posed by a (...) leading intellectualist alternative to our view. (shrink)
Recently, a number of philosophers have advanced a surprising conclusion: people's judgments about whether an agent brought about an outcome intentionally are pervasively influenced by normative considerations. In this paper, we investigate the ‘Chairman case’, an influential case from this literature and disagree with this conclusion. Using a statistical method called structural path modeling, we show that people's attributions of intentional action to an agent are driven not by normative assessments, but rather by attributions of underlying values and characterological dispositions (...) to the agent. In a second study, we examined people's judgments about what they think drives asymmetric intuitions in the Chairman case and found that people are highly inaccurate in identifying which features of the case their intuitions track. In the final part of the paper, we discuss how the statistical methods used in this study can help philosophers with the critical features problem, the problem of figuring out which among the myriad features present in hypothetical cases are the critical ones that our intuitions are responsive to. We show how the methods used in this study have some advantages over both armchair methods used by traditional philosophers and survey methods used by experimental philosophers. (shrink)
In this article, I survey four key questions about willpower: How is willpower possible? Why does willpower fail? How does willpower relate to other self-regulatory processes? and What are the connections between willpower and weakness of will? Empirical research into willpower is growing rapidly and yielding some fascinating new findings. This survey emphasizes areas in which empirical progress in understanding willpower helps to advance traditional philosophical debates.
Recent studies by experimental philosophers demonstrate puzzling asymmetries in people’s judgments about intentional action, leading many philosophers to propose that normative factors are inappropriately influencing intentionality judgments. In this paper, I present and defend the Deep Self Model of judgments about intentional action that provides a quite different explanation for these judgment asymmetries. The Deep Self Model is based on the idea that people make an intuitive distinction between two parts of an agent’s psychology, an Acting Self that contains the (...) desires, means-end beliefs, and intentions that are the immediate causal source of an agent’s actions, and a Deep Self, which contains an agent’s stable and central psychological attitudes, including the agent’s values, principles, life goals, and other more fundamental attitudes. The Deep Self Model proposes that when people are asked to make judgments about whether an agent brought about an outcome intentionally, in addition to standard criteria proposed in traditional models, people also assess an additional ‘Concordance Criterion’: Does the outcome concord with the psychological attitudes of the agent’s Deep Self? I show that the Deep Self Model can explain a very complex pattern of judgment asymmetries documented in the experimental philosophy literature, and does so in a way that has significant advantages over competing models. (shrink)
It is often thought that if an adaptationist explanation of some behavioural phenomenon is true, then this fact shows that a culturist explanation of the very same phenomenon is false, or else the adaptationist explanation preempts or crowds out the culturist explanation in some way. This chapter shows why this so-called competition thesis is misguided. Two evolutionary models are identified — the Information Learning Model and the Strategic Learning Model — which show that adaptationist reasoning can help explain why cultural (...) learning evolved. These models suggest that there will typically be a division of labor between adaptationist and culturist explanations. It is then shown that the Strategic Learning Model, which has been widely neglected by adaptationist thinkers, has important and underappreciated implications for a question that has long been contentious in the behavioural sciences — the question of the malleability of human nature. (shrink)
Humans are unique in the animal world in the extent to which their day-to-day behavior is governed by a complex set of rules and principles commonly called norms. Norms delimit the bounds of proper behavior in a host of domains, providing an invisible web of normative structure embracing virtually all aspects of social life. People also find many norms to be deeply meaningful. Norms give rise to powerful subjective feelings that, in the view of many, are an important part of (...) what it is to be a human agent. Despite the vital role of norms in human lives and human behavior, and the central role they play in explanations in the social sciences, there has been very little systematic attention devoted to norms in cognitive science. Much existing research is partial and piecemeal, making it difficult to know how individual findings cohere into a comprehensive picture. Our goal in this essay is to offer an account of the psychological mechanisms and processes underlying norms that integrates what is known and can serve as a framework for future research. (shrink)
Recent studies of emotion mindreading reveal that for three emotions, fear, disgust, and anger, deficits in face-based recognition are paired with deficits in the production of the same emotion. What type of mindreading process would explain this pattern of paired deficits? The simulation approach and the theorizing approach are examined to determine their compatibility with the existing evidence. We conclude that the simulation approach offers the best explanation of the data. What computational steps might be used, however, in simulation-style emotion (...) detection? Four alternative models are explored: a generate-and-test model, a reverse simulation model, a variant of the reverse simulation model that employs an “as if” loop, and an unmediated resonance model. (shrink)
The problem of moral compliance is the problem of explaining how moral norms are sustained over extented stretches of time despite the existence of selfish evolutionary incentives that favor their violation. There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of solutions that have been offered to the problem of moral compliance, the reciprocity-based account and the punishment-based account. In this paper, I argue that though the reciprocity-based account has been widely endorsed by evolutionary theorists, the account is in fact deeply implausible. I (...) provide three arguments that suggest that moral norms are sustained by punishment, not reciprocity. But in addition to solving the problem of moral compliance, the punishment-based account provides an additional important theoretical dividend. It points the way for how theorists might build an evolutionary account of a feature of human groups that has long fascinated and troubled social scientists and moral philosophers – the existence of moral diversity. (shrink)
Book Information The Importance of Being Understood: Folk Psychology as Ethics. The Importance of Being Understood: Folk Psychology as Ethics Adam Morton , London; New York: Routledge , 2002 , 240 , US$95 ( cloth ), US$29.95 ( paper ) By Adam Morton. London; New York: Routledge. Pp. 240. US$95 (cloth:), US$29.95 (paper:).