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Profile: Shaun Nichols (University of Arizona)
Profile: Stephen Nichols (Johns Hopkins University)
Profile: Susan Sue Ahrens, Junk, Nichols (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire)
  1. Shaun Nichols, Is Religion What We Want? Motivation and the Cultural Transmission of Religious Representations.
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  2. Shaun Nichols (web). Mindreading and the Philosophy of Mind. In J. Prinz (ed.), The Oxford Handbook on Philosophy of Psychology. Oxford University Press.
    In J. Prinz (ed.) The Oxford Handbook on Philosophy of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.
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  3. Shaun Nichols, College of Charleston.
    Introspection plays a crucial role in Modern philosophy in two different ways. From the beginnings of Modern philosophy, introspection has been used a tool for philosophical exploration in a variety of thought experiments. But Modern philosophers (e.g., Locke and Hume) also tried to characterize the nature of introspection as a psychological phenomenon. In contemporary philosophy, introspection is still frequently used in thought experiments. And in the analytic tradition, philosophers have tried to characterize conceptually necessary features of introspection.2 But over the (...)
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  4. Shaun Nichols, On the Psychological Diversity of Moral Insensitivity.
    When we learn of atrocities committed by psychopaths and by suicide terrorists, we are shocked by the evident lack of normal feeling for their fellow human beings. (By suicide terrorists, I mean to include not just the people who..
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  5. Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich, How to Read Your Own Mind: A Cognitive Theory of Self-Consciousness.
    The topic of self-awareness has an impressive philosophical pedigree, and sustained discussion of the topic goes back at least to Descartes. More recently, selfawareness has become a lively issue in the cognitive sciences, thanks largely to the emerging body of work on “mindreading”, the process of attributing mental states to people (and other organisms). During the last 15 years, the processes underlying mindreading have been a major focus of attention in cognitive and developmental psychology. Most of this work has been (...)
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  6. Shaun Nichols, Moral Rationalism and Empirical Immunity.
    With the rapid recent growth of naturalized metaethics, Richard Joyce’s paper sounds an appropriate cautionary note. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by sexy new data and to neglect the difficulties in using the data to draw major philosophical conclusions. One of the central views in the sights of naturalists has been moral rationalism. Jonathan Haidt (2001), Joshua Greene (this volume), Jesse Prinz (forthcoming), and I (2002, 2004b) have all used recent empirical findings to challenge moral rationalist views. Although Joyce is (...)
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  7. Shaun Nichols, Sentiment, Intention, and Disagreement: Replies to Blair & D'Arms.
    I am most grateful to James Blair and Justin D’Arms for commenting on my work. I would be hard put to name two other moral psychologists whose reactions I’d be so keen to hear. There is a striking asymmetry in their commentaries. Blair prefers a minimalist story about moral judgment, maintaining that the appeal to rules is unnecessary. D’Arms, by contrast, maintains that the account I offer is overly simple and that children lack moral concepts despite their partial facility (...)
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  8. Shaun Nichols, Sentimentalism Naturalized.
    Sentimentalism, the idea that the emotions or sentiments are crucial to moral judgment, has a long and distinguished history. Throughout this history, sentimentalists have often viewed themselves as offering a more naturalistically respectable account of moral judgment. In this paper, I’ll argue that they have not been naturalistic enough. The early, simple versions of sentimentalism met with decisive objections. The contemporary sentimentalist accounts successfully dodge these objections, but only by promoting an account of moral judgment that is far too complex (...)
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  9. Shaun Nichols, Shikhar Kumar & Theresa Lopez, Rational Learners and Non-Utilitarian Rules.
  10. Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Shaun Nichols (eds.) (forthcoming). Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
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  11. Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Shaun Nichols (eds.) (forthcoming). Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 1. Oxford University Press.
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  12. Hannah Tierney, Chris Howard, Victor Kumar, Trevor Kvaran & Shaun Nichols (forthcoming). How Many of Us Are There? In Justin Sytsma (ed.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Mind. Continuum Press.
  13. Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.) (2014). Experimental Philosophy: Volume 2. OUP USA.
    Experimental Philosophy: Volume 2 contains fourteen articles -- thirteen previously published and one new -- that reflect the fast-moving changes in the field over the last five years.
     
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  14. Nina Strohminger & Shaun Nichols (2014). The Essential Moral Self. Cognition 131 (1):159-171.
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  15. D. M. Bartels, T. Kvaran & S. Nichols (2013). Selfless Giving. Cognition 129 (2):392-403.
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  16. Susan Blackmore, Thomas W. Clark, Mark Hallett, John-Dylan Haynes, Ted Honderich, Neil Levy, Thomas Nadelhoffer, Shaun Nichols, Michael Pauen, Derk Pereboom, Susan Pockett, Maureen Sie, Saul Smilansky, Galen Strawson, Daniela Goya Tocchetto, Manuel Vargas, Benjamin Vilhauer & Bruce Waller (2013). Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Lexington Books.
     
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  17. Oisín Deery, Matthew S. Bedke & Shaun Nichols (2013). Phenomenal Abilities: Incompatibilism and the Experience of Agency. In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. Oxford University Press. 126–50.
    Incompatibilists often claim that we experience our agency as incompatible with determinism, while compatibilists challenge this claim. We report a series of experiments that focus on whether the experience of having an ability to do otherwise is taken to be at odds with determinism. We found that participants in our studies described their experience as incompatibilist whether the decision was (i) present-focused or retrospective, (ii) imagined or actual, (iii) morally salient or morally neutral. The only case in which participants did (...)
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  18. Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich (2013). If Folk Intuitions Vary, Then What? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):618-635.
    We have recently presented evidence for cross-cultural variation in semantic intuitions and explored the implications of such variation for philosophical arguments that appeal to some theory of reference as a premise. Devitt (2011) and Ichikawa and colleagues (forthcoming) offer critical discussions of the experiment and the conclusions that can be drawn from it. In this response, we reiterate and clarify what we are really arguing for, and we show that most of Devitt’s and Ichikawa and colleagues’ criticisms fail to address (...)
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  19. Thomas Nadelhoffer, Saeideh Heshmati, Deanna Kaplan & Shaun Nichols (2013). Folk Retributivism And The Communication Confound. Economics and Philosophy 29 (2):235-261.
    Retributivist accounts of punishment maintain that it is right to punish wrongdoers, even if the punishment has no future benefits. Research in experimental economics indicates that people are willing to pay to punish defectors. A complementary line of work in social psychology suggests that people think that it is right to punish wrongdoers. This work suggests that people are retributivists about punishment. However, all of the extant work contains an important potential confound. The target of the punishment is expected to (...)
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  20. Shaun Nichols (2013). Brute Retributivisrn. In Thomas A. Nadelhoffer (ed.), The Future of Punishment. Oup Usa. 25.
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  21. Shaun Nichols (2013). Free Will and Error. In Gregg Caruso (ed.), Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Lexington Books. 203.
  22. Shaun Nichols (2013). The Indeterminist Intuition: Source and Status. The Monist 95 (2):290-307.
    Evidence from experimental philosophy indicates that people think that their choices are not determined. What remains unclear is why people think this. Denying determinism is rather presumptuous given people’s general ignorance about the nature of the universe. In this paper, I’ll argue that the belief in indeterminism depends on a default presumption that we know the factors that influence our decision making. That presumption was reasonable at earlier points in intellectual history. But in light of work in cognitive science, we (...)
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  23. Shaun Nichols & Mark Timmons (2013). Experimental Ethics. In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  24. Mark Phelan, Adam Arico & Shaun Nichols (2013). Thinking Things and Feeling Things: On an Alleged Discontinuity in Folk Metaphysics of Mind. 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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  25. David Rose & Shaun Nichols (2013). The Lesson of Bypassing. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (4):599-619.
    The idea that incompatibilism is intuitive is one of the key motivators for incompatibilism. Not surprisingly, then philosophers who defend incompatibilism often claim that incompatibilism is the natural, commonsense view about free will and moral responsibility (e.g., Pereboom 2001, Kane Journal of Philosophy 96:217–240 1999, Strawson 1986). And a number of recent studies find that people give apparently incompatibilist responses in vignette studies. When participants are presented with a description of a causal deterministic universe, they tend to deny that people (...)
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  26. Wesley Buckwalter, Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols, N. Ángel Pinillos, Philip Robbins, Hagop Sarkissian, Chris Weigel & Jonathan M. Weinberg (2012). Experimental Philosophy. Oxford Bibliographies Online (1):81-92.
    Bibliography of works in experimental philosophy.
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  27. Florian Cova, Julien Dutant, Edouard Machery, Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols & Eddy Nahmias (eds.) (2012). La Philosophie Expérimentale. Vuibert.
    La philosophie expérimentale est un mouvement récent qui tente de faire progresser certains débats philosophiques grâce à l'utilisation de méthodes expérimentales. À la différence de la philosophie conventionnelle qui privilégie l'analyse conceptuelle ou la spéculation, la philosophie expérimentale préconise le recours aux études empiriques pour mieux comprendre les concepts philosophiques. Apparue il y a une dizaine d'années dans les pays anglo-saxons, cette approche constitue actuellement l'une des branches les plus dynamiques de la philosophie contemporaine. -/- L'objectif de cet ouvrage est (...)
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  28. Stan Klein & Shaun Nichols (2012). Memory and the Sense of Personal Identity. Mind 121 (483):677-702.
    Memory of past episodes provides a sense of personal identity — the sense that I am the same person as someone in the past. We present a neurological case study of a patient who has accurate memories of scenes from his past, but for whom the memories lack the sense of mineness. On the basis of this case study, we propose that the sense of identity derives from two components, one delivering the content of the memory and the other generating (...)
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  29. Joshua Knobe, Wesley Buckwalter, Philip Robbins, Hagop Sarkissian, Tamler Sommers & Shaun Nichols (2012). Experimental Philosophy. Annual Review of Psychology 63 (50):72-73.
    Experimental philosophy is a new interdisciplinary field that uses methods normally associated with psychology to investigate questions normally associated with philosophy. The present review focuses on research in experimental philosophy on four central questions. First, why is it that people's moral judgments appear to influence their intuitions about seemingly nonmoral questions? Second, do people think that moral questions have objective answers, or do they see morality as fundamentally relative? Third, do people believe in free will, and do they see free (...)
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  30. Ron Mallon & Shaun Nichols (2012). Philosophy: Traditional and Experimental Readings. Oup Usa.
    Recently, the fields of empirical and experimental philosophy have generated tremendous excitement, due to unexpected results that have challenged philosophical dogma. Responding to this trend, Philosophy: Traditional and Experimental Readings is the first introductory philosophy reader to integrate cutting-edge work in empirical and experimental philosophy with traditional philosophy. Featuring coverage that is equal parts historical, contemporary, and empirical/experimental, this topically organized reader provides students with a unique introduction to both the core and the vanguard of philosophy.
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  31. Shaun Nichols (2012). The Indeterminist Intuition. The Monist 95 (2):290-307.
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  32. Adam Arico, Brian Fiala, Robert F. Goldberg & Shaun Nichols (2011). The Folk Psychology of Consciousness. Mind and Language 26 (3):327-352.
    This paper proposes the ‘AGENCY model’ of conscious state attribution, according to which an entity's displaying certain relatively simple features (e.g. eyes, distinctive motions, interactive behavior) automatically triggers a disposition to attribute conscious states to that entity. To test the model's predictions, participants completed a speeded object/attribution task, in which they responded positively or negatively to attributions of mental properties (including conscious and non-conscious states) to different sorts of entities (insects, plants, artifacts, etc.). As predicted, participants responded positively to conscious (...)
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  33. Brian Fiala, Adam Arico & Shaun Nichols (2011). On the Psychological Origins of Dualism: Dual-Process Cognition and the Explanatory Gap. In Edward Slingerland & Mark Collard (eds.), Creating Consilience: Issues and Case Studies in teh Integration of the Sciences and Humanities. OUP.
    Consciousness often presents itself as a problem for materialists because no matter which physical explanation we consider, there seems to remain something about conscious experience that hasn't been fully explained. This gives rise to an apparent explanatory gap. The explanatory gulf between the physical and the conscious is reflected in the broader population, in which dualistic intuitions abound. Drawing on recent empirical evidence, this essay presents a dual-process cognitive model of consciousness attribution. This dual-process model, we suggest, provides an important (...)
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  34. Christopher Freiman & Shaun Nichols (2011). Is Desert in the Details? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):121-133.
  35. Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (2011). Free Will and the Bounds of the Self. In Robert Kane (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford.
    If you start taking courses in contemporary cognitive science, you will soon encounter a particular picture of the human mind. This picture says that the mind is a lot like a computer. Specifically, the mind is made up of certain states and certain processes. These states and processes interact, in accordance with certain general rules, to generate specific behaviors. If you want to know how those states and processes got there in the first place, the only answer is that they (...)
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  36. Benjamin Kozuch & Shaun Nichols (2011). Awareness of Unawareness Folk Psychology and Introspective Transparency. Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (11-12):11-12.
  37. Ron Mallon & Shaun Nichols (2011). Dual Processes and Moral Rules. Emotion Review 3 (3):284-285.
    Recent work proclaims a dominant role for automatic, intuitive, and emotional processes in producing ordinary moral judgment, despite the fact that we have little direct evidence about moral judgment “in the wild.” Indirect support comes via an assumption of dual-process theory: that conscious, reasoning processes are resource intensive. We argue that reasoning that employs consciously available moral rules undermines this assumption, but this has not been appreciated because of a failure to distinguish between explanation and justification. We conclude that it (...)
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  38. Shaun Nichols (2011). Experimental Philosophy and the Problem of Free Will. Science 331 (6023):1401-1403.
    Many philosophical problems are rooted in everyday thought, and experimental philosophy uses social scientific techniques to study the psychological underpinnings of such problems. In the case of free will, research suggests that people in a diverse range of cultures reject determinism, but people give conflicting responses on whether determinism would undermine moral responsibility. When presented with abstract questions, people tend to maintain that determinism would undermine responsibility, but when presented with concrete cases of wrongdoing, people tend to say that determinism (...)
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  39. Shaun Nichols (2011). Is Desert in the Details? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):121 - 133.
    Modern political philosophers have been notoriously reluctant to recognize desert in their theories of distributive justice.2 A large measure of the philosophical resistance to desert can be attributed to the fact that much of what people possess ultimately derives from brute luck. If a person’s assets come from brute luck, then she cannot be said truly to deserve those assets. John Rawls suggests that this idea is “one of the fixed points of our considered judgments;”3 Eric Rakowski calls it “uncontroversial;”4 (...)
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  40. Michael Bruno & Shaun Nichols (2010). Intuitions About Personal Identity: An Empirical Study. Philosophical Psychology 23 (3):293-312.
    Williams (1970) argues that our intuitions about personal identity vary depending on how a given thought experiment is framed. Some frames lead us to think that persistence of self requires persistence of one's psychological characteristics; other frames lead us to think that the self persists even after the loss of one's distinctive psychological characteristics. The current paper takes an empirical approach to these issues. We find that framing does affect whether or not people judge that persistence of psychological characteristics is (...)
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  41. Jonathan Cohen & Shaun Nichols (2010). Colours, Colour Relationalism and the Deliverances of Introspection. Analysis 70 (2):218 - 228.
    An important motivation for relational theories of color is that they resolve apparent conflicts about color: x can, without contradiction, be red relative to S1 and not red relative to S2. Alas, many philosophers claim that the view is incompatible with naive, phenomenally grounded introspection. However, when we presented normal adults with apparent conflicts about color (among other properties), we found that many were open to the relationalist's claim that apparently competing variants can simultaneously be correct. This suggests that, philosophers' (...)
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  42. Edouard Machery, Max Deutsch, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, Justin Sytsma & Stephen Stich (2010). Semantic Intuitions: Reply to Lam. Cognition 117 (3):363-366.
  43. Ron Mallon & Shaun Nichols (2010). 1. Moral Rules and Moral Reasoning. In John Doris (ed.), Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press. 297.
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  44. Ron Mallon & Shaun Nichols (2010). Rules. In John Michael Doris (ed.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press.
    Is it wrong to torture prisoners of war for fun? Is it wrong to yank on someone’s hair with no provocation? Is it wrong to push an innocent person in front of a train in order to save five innocent people tied to the tracks? If you are like most people, you answered "yes" to each of these questions. A venerable account of human moral judgment, influential in both philosophy and psychology, holds that these judgments are underpinned by internally represented (...)
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  45. Thomas Nadelhoffer, Eddy A. Nahmias & Shaun Nichols (eds.) (2010). Moral Psychology: Historical and Contemporary Readings. Wiley-Blackwell.
    Moral Psychology: Historical and Contemporary Readings is the first book to bring together the most significant contemporary and historical works on the topic from both philosophy and psychology. Provides a comprehensive introduction to moral psychology, which is the study of psychological mechanisms and processes underlying ethics and morality Unique in bringing together contemporary texts by philosophers, psychologists and other cognitive scientists with foundational works from both philosophy and psychology Approaches moral psychology from an empirically informed perspective Explores a wide range (...)
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  46. Shaun Nichols (2010). An Inquiry Into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. In Thomas Nadelhoffer, Eddy A. Nahmias & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Moral Psychology: Historical and Contemporary Readings. Wiley-Blackwell. 111.
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  47. Shaun Nichols (2010). Emotions, Norms, and the Genealogy of Fairness. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 9 (3):275-296.
    In The Grammar of Society, Bicchieri maintains that behavior in the Ultimatum game (and related economic games) depends on people’s allegiance to ‘social norms’. In this article, I follow Bicchieri in maintaining that an adequate account of people’s behavior in such games must make appeal to norms, including a norm of equal division; I depart from Bicchieri in maintaining that at least part of the population desires to follow such norms even when they do not expect others to follow them. (...)
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  48. Shaun Nichols (2010). Selections fromBeyond Good and Evil and Twilight of the Idols. In Thomas Nadelhoffer, Eddy A. Nahmias & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Moral Psychology: Historical and Contemporary Readings. Wiley-Blackwell. 251.
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  49. Shaun Nichols (2010). The Mind's “I” and the Theory of Mind's “I”. Philosophical Topics 28 (2):171-199.
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