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  1. Stijn Bruers & Johan Braeckman (2014). A Review and Systematization of the Trolley Problem. Philosophia 42 (2):251-269.
    The trolley problem, first described by Foot (1967) and Thomson (The Monist, 59, 204–217, 1976), is one of the most famous and influential thought experiments in deontological ethics. The general story is that a runaway trolley is threatening the lives of five people. Doing nothing will result in the death of those persons, but acting in order to save those persons would unavoidably result in the death of another, sixth person. It appears that, depending on the situation, we have different (...)
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  2. Alexis De Tiège, Koen Tanghe, Johan Braeckman & Yves Van de Peer (2014). From DNA- to NA-Centrism and the Conditions for Gene-Centrism Revisited. Biology and Philosophy 29 (1):55-69.
    First the ‘Weismann barrier’ and later on Francis Crick’s ‘central dogma’ of molecular biology nourished the gene-centric paradigm of life, i.e., the conception of the gene/genome as a ‘central source’ from which hereditary specificity unidirectionally flows or radiates into cellular biochemistry and development. Today, due to advances in molecular genetics and epigenetics, such as the discovery of complex post-genomic and epigenetic processes in which genes are causally integrated, many theorists argue that a gene-centric conception of the organism has become problematic. (...)
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  3. Katinka J. P. Quintelier, Keiko Ishii, Jason Weeden, Robert Kurzban & Johan Braeckman (2013). Individual Differences in Reproductive Strategy Are Related to Views About Recreational Drug Use in Belgium, The Netherlands, and Japan. Human Nature 24 (2):196-217.
    Individual differences in moral views are often explained as the downstream effect of ideological commitments, such as political orientation and religiosity. Recent studies in the U.S. suggest that moral views about recreational drug use are also influenced by attitudes toward sex and that this relationship cannot be explained by ideological commitments. In this study, we investigate student samples from Belgium, The Netherlands, and Japan. We find that, in all samples, sexual attitudes are strongly related to views about recreational drug use, (...)
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  4. Maarten Boudry & Johan Braeckman (2012). How Convenient! The Epistemic Rationale of Self-Validating Belief Systems. Philosophical Psychology 25 (3):341-364.
    This paper offers an epistemological discussion of self-validating belief systems and the recurrence of ?epistemic defense mechanisms? and ?immunizing strategies? across widely different domains of knowledge. We challenge the idea that typical ?weird? belief systems are inherently fragile, and we argue that, instead, they exhibit a surprising degree of resilience in the face of adverse evidence and criticism. Borrowing from the psychological research on belief perseverance, rationalization and motivated reasoning, we argue that the human mind is particularly susceptible to belief (...)
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  5. Stefaan Blancke, Maarten Boudry & Johan Braeckman (2011). Simulation of Biological Evolution Under Attack, but Not Really: A Response to Meester. Biology and Philosophy 26 (1):113-118.
    The leading Intelligent Design theorist William Dembski (Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham MD, 2002) argued that the first No Free Lunch theorem, first formulated by Wolpert and Macready (IEEE Trans Evol Comput 1: 67–82, 1997), renders Darwinian evolution impossible. In response, Dembski’s critics pointed out that the theorem is irrelevant to biological evolution. Meester (Biol Phil 24: 461–472, 2009) agrees with this conclusion, but still thinks that the theorem does apply to simulations of evolutionary processes. According to Meester, the theorem shows (...)
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  6. Maarten Boudry & Johan Braeckman (2011). Immunizing Strategies and Epistemic Defense Mechanisms. Philosophia 39 (1):145-161.
    An immunizing strategy is an argument brought forward in support of a belief system, though independent from that belief system, which makes it more or less invulnerable to rational argumentation and/or empirical evidence. By contrast, an epistemic defense mechanism is defined as a structural feature of a belief system which has the same effect of deflecting arguments and evidence. We discuss the remarkable recurrence of certain patterns of immunizing strategies and defense mechanisms in pseudoscience and other belief systems. Five different (...)
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  7. Farah Focquaert & Johan Braeckman (2011). Mirroring the Mind: On Empathy and Autism. In Pieter R. Adriaens & Andreas de Block (eds.), Maladapting Minds: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Evolutionary Theory. Oxford University Press. 241.
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  8. Katinka Quintelier, Linda van Speybroeck & Johan Braeckman (2011). Normative Ethics Does Not Need a Foundation: It Needs More Science. Acta Biotheoretica 59 (1):29-51.
    The impact of science on ethics forms since long the subject of intense debate. Although there is a growing consensus that science can describe morality and explain its evolutionary origins, there is less consensus about the ability of science to provide input to the normative domain of ethics. Whereas defenders of a scientific normative ethics appeal to naturalism, its critics either see the naturalistic fallacy committed or argue that the relevance of science to normative ethics remains undemonstrated. In this paper, (...)
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  9. Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke & Johan Braeckman (2010). How Not to Attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical Misconceptions About Methodological Naturalism. [REVIEW] Foundations of Science 15 (3):227-244.
    In recent controversies about Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC), the principle of methodological naturalism (MN) has played an important role. In this paper, an often neglected distinction is made between two different conceptions of MN, each with its respective rationale and with a different view on the proper role of MN in science. According to one popular conception, MN is a self-imposed or intrinsic limitation of science, which means that science is simply not equipped to deal with claims of the supernatural (...)
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  10. Etienne Vermeersch & Johan Braeckman (2009). Floris Van den Berg, de rivier Van herakleitos. Een eigenzinnige visie op de wijsbegeerte. Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Wijsbegeerte 101 (4).
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  11. Farah Focquaert, Johan Braeckman & Steven M. Platek (2008). An Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective on Human Self-Awareness and Theory of Mind. Philosophical Psychology 21 (1):47 – 68.
    The evolutionary claim that the function of self-awareness lies, at least in part, in the benefits of theory of mind (TOM) regained attention in light of current findings in cognitive neuroscience, including mirror neuron research. Although certain non-human primates most likely possess mirror self-recognition skills, we claim that they lack the introspective abilities that are crucial for human-like TOM. Primate research on TOM skills such as emotional recognition, seeing versus knowing and ignorance versus knowing are discussed. Based upon current findings (...)
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  12. Charlotte J. S. De Backer, Mark Nelissen, Patrick Vyncke, Johan Braeckman & Francis T. McAndrew (2007). Celebrities: From Teachers to Friends. [REVIEW] Human Nature 18 (4):334-354.
    In this paper we present two compatible hypotheses to explain interest in celebrity gossip. The Learning Hypothesis explains interest in celebrity gossip as a by-product of an evolved mechanism useful for acquiring fitness-relevant survival information. The Parasocial Hypothesis sees celebrity gossip as a diversion of this mechanism, which leads individuals to misperceive celebrities as people who are part of their social network. Using two preliminary studies, we tested our predictions. In a survey with 838 respondents and in-depth interviews with 103 (...)
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  13. An Ravelingien, Johan Braeckman & Mike Legge (2006). On the Moral Status of Humanized Chimeras and the Concept of Human Dignity. Between the Species 13 (6):7.
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  14. Johan Braeckman (1997). Introduction. Philosophica 59.
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