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Profile: Eric Mandelbaum (Harvard University)
  1. Eric Mandelbaum, Attitude, Inference, Association: On The Propositional Structure of Implicit Bias.
    The overwhelming majority of those who theorize about implicit biases posit that these biases are caused by some sort of association. However, what exactly this claim amounts to is rarely specified. In this paper, I distinguish between understandings of association as a theory of learning, a theory of cognitive structure, a theory of mental processes, and as an implementation base for cognition. I then argue that the crucial senses of association for elucidating implicit bias are the cognitive structure and mental (...)
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  2. Eric Mandelbaum, Ballistic, Automatic, Mandatory: On An Ambiguity in Mandatory Perceptual Processing.
  3. Eric Mandelbaum (forthcoming). The Automatic and the Ballistic: Modularity Beyond Perceptual Processes. Philosophical Psychology:1-10.
    Perceptual processes, in particular modular processes, have long been understood as being mandatory. But exactly what mandatoriness amounts to is left to intuition. This paper identifies a crucial ambiguity in the notion of mandatoriness. Discussions of mandatory processes have run together notions of automaticity and ballisticity. Teasing apart these notions creates an important tool for the modularist's toolbox. Different putatively modular processes appear to differ in their kinds of mandatoriness. Separating out the automatic from the ballistic can help the modularist (...)
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  4. Eric Mandelbaum (2013). Against Alief. Philosophical Studies 165 (1):197-211.
    This essay attempts to clarify the nature and structure of aliefs. First I distinguish between a robust notion of aliefs and a deflated one. A robust notion of aliefs would introduce aliefs into our psychological ontology as a hitherto undiscovered kind, whereas a deflated notion of aliefs would identify aliefs as a set of pre-existing psychological states. I then propose the following dilemma: one the one hand, if aliefs have propositional content, then it is unclear exactly how aliefs differ from (...)
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  5. Eric Mandelbaum (2013). Numerical Architecture. Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (1):367-386.
    The idea that there is a “Number Sense” (Dehaene, 1997) or “Core Knowledge” of number ensconced in a modular processing system (Carey, 2009) has gained popularity as the study of numerical cognition has matured. However, these claims are generally made with little, if any, detailed examination of which modular properties are instantiated in numerical processing. In this article, I aim to rectify this situation by detailing the modular properties on display in numerical cognitive processing. In the process, I review literature (...)
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  6. Eric Mandelbaum (2013). Thinking is Believing. Inquiry 57 (1):55-96.
    Inquiry, Volume 57, Issue 1, Page 55-96, February 2014.
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  7. Eric Mandelbaum & David Ripley (2012). Explaining the Abstract/Concrete Paradoxes in Moral Psychology: The NBAR Hypothesis. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):351-368.
    For some reason, participants hold agents more responsible for their actions when a situation is described concretely than when the situation is described abstractly. We present examples of this phenomenon, and survey some attempts to explain it. We divide these attempts into two classes: affective theories and cognitive theories. After criticizing both types of theories we advance our novel hypothesis: that people believe that whenever a norm is violated, someone is responsible for it. This belief, along with the familiar workings (...)
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  8. Eric Mandelbaum (2011). What is the Narrow Content of Fence (and Other Definitionally and Interpretationally Primitive Concepts)? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):138-138.
    It's unclear what narrow content is interpersonally shared for concepts that don't originate from core cognition yet are still definitionally and interpretationally primitive. A primary concern is that for these concepts, one cannot draw a principled distinction between inferences that are content determining and those that aren't. The lack of a principled distinction imperils an account of interpersonally shared concepts.
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  9. Mike Bruno & Eric Mandelbaum (2010). Locke's Answer to Molyneux's Thought Experiment. History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (2):165-80.
    Philosophical discussions of Molyneux's problem within contemporary philosophy of mind tend to characterize the problem as primarily concerned with the role innately known principles, amodal spatial concepts, and rational cognitive faculties play in our perceptual lives. Indeed, for broadly similar reasons, rationalists have generally advocated an affirmative answer, while empiricists have generally advocated a negative one, to the question Molyneux posed after presenting his famous thought experiment. This historical characterization of the dialectic, however, somewhat obscures the role Molyneux's problem has (...)
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  10. Eric Mandelbaum & David Ripley (2010). Expectations and Morality: A Dilemma. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):346-346.
    We propose Knobe's explanation of his cases encounters a dilemma: Either his explanation works and, counterintuitively, morality is not at the heart of these effects; or morality is at the heart of the effects and Knobe's explanation does not succeed. This dilemma is then used to temper the use of the Knobe paradigm for discovering moral norms.
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  11. Felipe De Brigard, Eric Mandelbaum & David Ripley (2009). Responsibility and the Brain Sciences. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):511-524.
    Some theorists think that the more we get to know about the neural underpinnings of our behaviors, the less likely we will be to hold people responsible for their actions. This intuition has driven some to suspect that as neuroscience gains insight into the neurological causes of our actions, people will cease to view others as morally responsible for their actions, thus creating a troubling quandary for our legal system. This paper provides empirical evidence against such intuitions. Particularly, our studies (...)
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