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Mark Phelan [15]Mark T. Phelan [1]
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Profile: Mark Phelan (Yale University)
  1. Mark Phelan, Making the Metaphor Move: The Problem of Differentiating Figurative and Literal Language.
    Sally and Sid have worked together for a while, and Sally knows Sid to be a hard worker. She might make this point about him by saying, “Sid is a hard worker.” Or, she might make it by saying, “Sid is a Sherman tank.” We all recognize that there is some distinction between the first assertion, in which Sally is speaking literally, and the second, in which she is speaking figuratively. This is a distinction that any theory of figurative language (...)
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  2. Wesley Buckwalter & Mark Phelan (forthcoming). Phenomenal Consciousness Disembodied. In Justin Sytsma (ed.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Mind. Continuum.
    We evaluate the role of embodiment in ordinary mental state ascriptions. Presented are five experiments on phenomenal state ascriptions to disembodied entities such as ghosts and spirits. Results suggest that biological embodiment is not a central principle of folk psychology guiding ascriptions of phenomenal consciousness. By contrast, results continue to support the important role of functional considerations in theory of mind judgments.
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  3. Mark Phelan & Wesley Buckwalter (forthcoming). Analytic Functionalism and Mental State Attribution. Philosophical Topics.
    We argue that the causal account offered by analytic functionalism provides the best account of the folk psychological theory of mind, and that people ordinarily define mental states relative to the causal roles these states occupy in relation to environmental impingements, external behaviors, and other mental states. We present new empirical evidence, as well as review several key studies on mental state ascription to diverse types of entities such as robots, cyborgs, corporations and God, and explain how this evidence supports (...)
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  4. Mark Phelan (2014). Experimental Pragmatics: An Introduction for Philosophers. Philosophy Compass 9 (1):66-79.
    In the past several decades, psychologists and linguists have begun experimentally investigating linguistic pragmatic phenomena. They share the assumption that the best way to study the use of language in context incorporates an experimental methodology, here understood to comprise controlled studies and careful field observations. This article surveys some key projects in experimental pragmatics and relates these projects to ongoing philosophical discussions.
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  5. Wesley Buckwalter & Mark Phelan (2013). Function and Feeling Machines: A Defense of the Philosophical Conception of Subjective Experience. Philosophical Studies 166 (2):349-361.
    Philosophers of mind typically group experiential states together and distinguish these from intentional states on the basis of their purportedly obvious phenomenal character. Sytsma and Machery (Phil Stud 151(2): 299–327, 2010) challenge this dichotomy by presenting evidence that non-philosophers do not classify subjective experiences relative to a state’s phenomenological character, but rather by its valence. However we argue that S&M’s results do not speak to folk beliefs about the nature of experiential states, but rather to folk beliefs about the entity (...)
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  6. Aaron Meskin, Mark Phelan, Margaret Moore & Matthew Kieran (2013). Mere Exposure to Bad Art. British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (2):139-164.
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  7. Mark Phelan (2013). Evidence That Stakes Don't Matter for Evidence. Philosophical Psychology:1-25.
  8. Mark Phelan, Adam Arico & Shaun Nichols (2013). Thinking Things and Feeling Things: On an Alleged Discontinuity in Folk Metaphysics of Mind. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (4):703-725.
    According to the discontinuity view, people recognize a deep discontinuity between phenomenal and intentional states, such that they refrain from attributing feelings and experiences to entities that do not have the right kind of body, though they may attribute thoughts to entities that lack a biological body, like corporations, robots, and disembodied souls. We examine some of the research that has been used to motivate the discontinuity view. Specifically, we focus on experiments that examine people's aptness judgments for various mental (...)
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  9. Mark Phelan (2012). Elements of Moral Cognition by John Mikhail. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  10. Mark Phelan (2012). Experimental Philosophy as an Elephant. Philosophy Now 92:13-16.
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  11. Mark Phelan & Adam Waytz (2012). The Moral Cognition/Consciousness Connection. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):293-301.
  12. Mark Phelan (2011). Just What Are Your Intentions? The Philosophers' Magazine 52 (52):72-77.
    The desire for parsimony – to posit as few explanatory features as possible – has a rich philosophical history and is often given lots of weight in philosophical theory construction. But, as the psychologist Tania Lombrozo has demonstrated, our bias in favour of parsimony can lead us to adopt simple explanations even when it’s far more likely that a complicated explanation is correct.
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  13. Mark Phelan (2010). The Intentional Action Factory. The Philosophers' Magazine 52.
    This short paper, forthcoming as part of a symposium on experimental philosophy to appear in the popular publication, The Philosophers’ Magazine (including contributions by Papineau, Stich, Machery, Sommers, and Knobe), offers an accessible summary of seven years of experimental-philosophical research into intentional action attributions.
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  14. Mark Phelan (2010). The Inadequacy of Paraphrase is the Dogma of Metaphor. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (4):481-506.
    Philosophers have alleged that paraphrases of metaphors are inadequate. They have presented this inadequacy as a datum predicted by, and thus a reason to accept, particular accounts of ‘metaphorical meanings.’ But to what, specifically, does this inadequacy claim amount? I argue that, if this assumption is to have any bearing on the metaphor debate, it must be construed as the comparative claim that paraphrases of metaphors are inadequate compared to paraphrases of literal utterances. But the evidence philosophers have offered does (...)
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  15. Mark Phelan & Hagop Sarkissian (2009). Is the 'Trade-Off Hypothesis' Worth Trading For? Mind and Language 24 (2):164-180.
    Abstract: Recently, the experimental philosopher Joshua Knobe has shown that the folk are more inclined to describe side effects as intentional actions when they bring about bad results. Edouard Machery has offered an intriguing new explanation of Knobe's work—the 'trade-off hypothesis'—which denies that moral considerations explain folk applications of the concept of intentional action. We critique Machery's hypothesis and offer empirical evidence against it. We also evaluate the current state of the debate concerning the concept of intentionality, and argue that, (...)
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  16. Mark T. Phelan & Hagop Sarkissian (2008). The Folk Strike Back; or, Why You Didn't Do It Intentionally, Though It Was Bad and You Knew It. Philosophical Studies 138 (2):291 - 298.
    Recent and puzzling experimental results suggest that people’s judgments as to whether or not an action was performed intentionally are sensitive to moral considerations. In this paper, we outline these results and evaluate two accounts which purport to explain them. We then describe a recent experiment that allegedly vindicates one of these accounts and present our own findings to show that it fails to do so. Finally, we present additional data suggesting no such vindication could be in the offing and (...)
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