About this topic

These papers explore a range of issues in metaphysics by drawing on empirical work.  While much of the current work has been focused on the ordinary understanding of causation (see Experimental Philosophy: Causation), other work has focused on issues such as event individuation, mereology, personal identity, and temporal experience. This work is largely focused on bringing certain empirical results to bear on relevant disputes in metaphysics.  But some of this work—especially early work by Alvin Goldman and more recently Laurie Paul—is more programmatic (e.g., arguing for the relevance of cognitive science to metaphysics).

Key works Personal identity: Nichols & Bruno 2010.  Temporal experience: Paul 2010.  Event individuation: Goldman 2007.  Mereology: Rose & Schaffer 2017.  Causation: see Experimental Philosophy: Causation.

For useful overviews of the relevance of cognitive science to metaphysics see e.g., Goldman 1987, Goldman 1989, Goldman 2007, Paul 2010

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  1. Reflection on the dairy industrial modernization in S. Miguel (1941-1946). An experimental philosophy essay on the ontology of time.Miguel Soares de Albergaria - 2018 - Omnia 8 (2).
    This paper presents a case study for the elucidation of historical time. Specifically, it configures the sudden modernization of dairy industry in an island whose other historic dimensions shall have however remained relatively stable, S. Miguel (Azores), in view of a complete explanation of this process. On the basis of such explanation, certain inferences, according to Hempel's deductive model, are considered legitimate, on the theoretical formulation of time that can frame such a process. Namely, proposing the theses of A-theory (McTaggart) (...)
Experimental Philosophy: Causation
  1. Folk Intuitions of Actual Causation: A Two-Pronged Debunking Explanation.David Rose - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1323-1361.
    How do we determine whether some candidate causal factor is an actual cause of some particular outcome? Many philosophers have wanted a view of actual causation which fits with folk intuitions of actual causation and those who wish to depart from folk intuitions of actual causation are often charged with the task of providing a plausible account of just how and where the folk have gone wrong. In this paper, I provide a range of empirical evidence aimed at showing just (...)
  2. Normality and Actual Causal Strength.Thomas F. Icard, Jonathan F. Kominsky & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognition 161:80-93.
    Existing research suggests that people's judgments of actual causation can be influenced by the degree to which they regard certain events as normal. We develop an explanation for this phenomenon that draws on standard tools from the literature on graphical causal models and, in particular, on the idea of probabilistic sampling. Using these tools, we propose a new measure of actual causal strength. This measure accurately captures three effects of normality on causal judgment that have been observed in existing studies. (...)
  3. Folk Judgments of Causation.Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):238-242.
    Experimental studies suggest that people’s ordinary causal judgments are affected not only by statistical considerations but also by moral considerations. One way to explain these results would be to construct a model according to which people are trying to make a purely statistical judgment but moral considerations somehow distort their intuitions. The present paper offers an alternative perspective. Specifically, the author proposes a model according to which the very same underlying mechanism accounts for the influence of both statistical and moral (...)
  4. Two Types of Typicality: Rethinking the Role of Statistical Typicality in Ordinary Causal Attributions.Justin Sytsma, Jonathan Livengood & David Rose - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (4):814-820.
    Empirical work on the use of causal language by ordinary people indicates that their causal attributions tend to be sensitive not only to purely descriptive considerations, but also to broadly moral considerations. For example, ordinary causal attributions appear to be highly sensitive to whether a behavior is permissible or impermissible. Recently, however, a consensus view has emerged that situates the role of permissibility information within a broader framework: According to the consensus, ordinary causal attributions are sensitive to whether or not (...)
  5. Causal Superseding.Jonathan F. Kominsky, Jonathan Phillips, Tobias Gerstenberg, David Lagnado & Joshua Knobe - 2015 - Cognition 137:196-209.
    When agents violate norms, they are typically judged to be more of a cause of resulting outcomes. In this paper, we suggest that norm violations also affect the causality attributed to other agents, a phenomenon we refer to as "causal superseding." We propose and test a counterfactual reasoning model of this phenomenon in four experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 provide an initial demonstration of the causal superseding effect and distinguish it from previously studied effects. Experiment 3 shows that this causal (...)
  6. Unifying Morality’s Influence on Non-Moral Judgments: The Relevance of Alternative Possibilities.Jonathan Phillips, Jamie B. Luguri & Joshua Knobe - 2015 - Cognition 145:30-42.
    Past work has demonstrated that people’s moral judgments can influence their judgments in a number of domains that might seem to involve straightforward matters of fact, including judgments about freedom, causation, the doing/allowing distinction, and intentional action. The present studies explore whether the effect of morality in these four domains can be explained by changes in the relevance of alternative possibilities. More precisely, we propose that moral judgment influences the degree to which people regard certain alternative possibilities as relevant, which (...)
  7. Highlighting the Causal Meaning of Causal Test Questions in Contexts of Norm Violations.Jana Samland & Michael Waldmann - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society.
    Experiments have shown that prescriptive norms often influence causal inferences. The reason for this effect is still not clear. One problem of the studies is that the term ‘cause’ in the test questions is ambiguous and can refer to both the causal mechanism and the agent’s accountability. Possibly subjects interpreted the causal test question as a request to assess accountability rather than causality. Scenarios that put more stress on the causal mechanism should therefore yield no norm effect. Consequently, Experiment 1 (...)
  8. Graded Causation and Defaults.Joseph Y. Halpern & Christopher Hitchcock - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):413-457.
    Recent work in psychology and experimental philosophy has shown that judgments of actual causation are often influenced by consideration of defaults, typicality, and normality. A number of philosophers and computer scientists have also suggested that an appeal to such factors can help deal with problems facing existing accounts of actual causation. This article develops a flexible formal framework for incorporating defaults, typicality, and normality into an account of actual causation. The resulting account takes actual causation to be both graded and (...)
  9. The Good, the Bad, and the Timely: How Temporal Order and Moral Judgment Influence Causal Selection.Kevin Reuter, Lara Kirfel, Raphael van Riel & Luca Barlassina - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5:1-10.
    Causal selection is the cognitive process through which one or more elements in a complex causal structure are singled out as actual causes of a certain effect. In this paper, we report on an experiment in which we investigated the role of moral and temporal factors in causal selection. Our results are as follows. First, when presented with a temporal chain in which two human agents perform the same action one after the other, subjects tend to judge the later agent (...)
  10. Experimental Philosophy and Causal Attribution.Jonathan Livengood & David Rose - 2016 - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell.
    Humans often attribute the things that happen to one or another actual cause. In this chapter, we survey some recent philosophical and psychological research on causal attribution. We pay special attention to the relation between graphical causal modeling and theories of causal attribution. We think that the study of causal attribution is one place where formal and experimental techniques nicely complement one another.
  11. Causation, Norms, and Omissions: A Study of Causal Judgments.Randolph Clarke, Joshua Shepherd, John Stigall, Robyn Repko Waller & Chris Zarpentine - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):279-293.
    Many philosophical theories of causation are egalitarian, rejecting a distinction between causes and mere causal conditions. We sought to determine the extent to which people's causal judgments discriminate, selecting as causes counternormal events—those that violate norms of some kind—while rejecting non-violators. We found significant selectivity of this sort. Moreover, priming that encouraged more egalitarian judgments had little effect on subjects. We also found that omissions are as likely as actions to be judged as causes, and that counternormative selectivity appears to (...)
  12. Manipulating Morality: Third‐Party Intentions Alter Moral Judgments by Changing Causal Reasoning.Jonathan Phillips & Alex Shaw - 2014 - Cognitive Science 38 (8):1320-1347.
    The present studies investigate how the intentions of third parties influence judgments of moral responsibility for other agents who commit immoral acts. Using cases in which an agent acts under some situational constraint brought about by a third party, we ask whether the agent is blamed less for the immoral act when the third party intended for that act to occur. Study 1 demonstrates that third-party intentions do influence judgments of blame. Study 2 finds that third-party intentions only influence moral (...)
  13. Predicting Moral Judgments From Causal Judgments.Emmanuel Chemla, Paul Egré & Philippe Schlenker - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (1):21-48.
    Several factors have been put forward to explain the variability of moral judgments for superficially analogous moral dilemmas, in particular in the paradigm of trolley cases. In this paper we elaborate on Mikhail's view that (i) causal analysis is at the core of moral judgments and that (ii) causal judgments can be quantified by linguistic methods. According to this model, our moral judgments depend both on utilitarian considerations (whether positive effects outweigh negative effects) and on a representation of the causal (...)
  14. Demoralizing Causation.David Danks, David Rose & Edouard Machery - 2013 - Philosophical Studies (2):1-27.
    There have recently been a number of strong claims that normative considerations, broadly construed, influence many philosophically important folk concepts and perhaps are even a constitutive component of various cognitive processes. Many such claims have been made about the influence of such factors on our folk notion of causation. In this paper, we argue that the strong claims found in the recent literature on causal cognition are overstated, as they are based on one narrow type of data about a particular (...)
  15. Portable Causal Dependence: A Tale of Consilience.Christopher Hitchcock - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):942-951.
    This article describes research pursued by members of the McDonnell Collaborative on Causal Learning. A number of members independently converged on a similar idea: one of the central functions served by claims of actual causation is to highlight patterns of dependence that are highly portable into novel contexts. I describe in detail how this idea emerged in my own work and also in that of the psychologist Tania Lombrozo. In addition, I use the occasion to reflect on the nature of (...)
  16. Causal-Explanatory Pluralism: How Intentions, Functions, and Mechanisms Influence Causal Ascriptions.Tania Lombrozo - 2010 - Cognitive Psychology 61 (4):303-332.
    Both philosophers and psychologists have argued for the existence of distinct kinds of explanations, including teleological explanations that cite functions or goals, and mechanistic explanations that cite causal mechanisms. Theories of causation, in contrast, have generally been unitary, with dominant theories focusing either on counterfactual dependence or on physical connections. This paper argues that both approaches to causation are psychologically real, with different modes of explanation promoting judgments more or less consistent with each approach. Two sets of experiments isolate the (...)
  17. Norms, Causes, and Alternative Possibilities.Peter Menzies - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):346-347.
    I agree with Knobe's claim in his “Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist” article that moral considerations are integral to the workings of people's competence in making causal judgments. However, I disagree with the particular explanation he gives of the way in which moral considerations influence causal judgments. I critically scrutinize his explanation and outline a better one.
  18. Culpable Control and Deviant Causal Chains.Mark Alicke & David Rose - 2012 - Personality and Social Psychology Compass 6 (10):723-735.
    Actions that are intended to produce harmful consequences can fail to achieve their desired effects in numerous ways. We refer to action sequences in which harmful intentions are thwarted as deviant causal chains. The culpable control model of blame (CCM)is a useful tool for predicting and explaining the attributions that observers make of the actors whose harmful intentions go awry. In this paper, we describe six types of deviant causal chains; those in which: an actor’s attempt is obviated by the (...)
  19. Following the FAD: Folk Attributions and Theories of Actual Causation.Jonathan Livengood, Justin Sytsma & David Rose - manuscript
    Using structural equations and directed graphs, Christopher Hitchcock (2007a) proposes a theory specifying the circumstances in which counterfactual dependence of one event e on another event c is necessary and sufficient for c to count as an actual cause of e. In this paper, we argue that Hitchcock is committed to a widely-endorsed folk attribution desideratum (FAD) for theories of actual causation. We then show experimentally that Hitchcock’s theory does not satisfy the FAD, and hence, it is in need of (...)
  20. Causation: Empirical Trends and Future Directions.David Rose & David Danks - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):643-653.
    Empirical research has recently emerged as a key method for understanding the nature of causation, and our concept of causation. One thread of research aims to test intuitions about the nature of causation in a variety of classic cases. These experiments have principally been used to try to resolve certain debates within analytic philosophy, most notably that between proponents of transference and dependence views of causation. The other major thread of empirical research on our concept of causation has investigated the (...)
  21. The Meaning of Cause and Prevent: The Role of Causal Mechanism.Clare R. Walsh & Steven A. Sloman - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (1):21-52.
    How do people understand questions about cause and prevent? Some theories propose that people affirm that A causes B if A's occurrence makes a difference to B's occurrence in one way or another. Other theories propose that A causes B if some quantity or symbol gets passed in some way from A to B. The aim of our studies is to compare these theories' ability to explain judgements of causation and prevention. We describe six experiments that compare judgements for causal (...)
  22. Culpable Control or Moral Concepts?Mark Alicke & David Rose - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):330-331.
    Knobe argues in his target article that asymmetries in intentionality judgments can be explained by the view that concepts such as intentionality are suffused with moral considerations. We believe that the “culpable control” model of blame can account both for Knobe's side effect findings and for findings that do not involve side effects.
  23. Blaming Badly.Mark Alicke - 2008 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 8 (1-2):179-186.
    Moral philosophers, legal theorists, and psychologists who study moral judgment are remarkably agreed in prescribing how to blame people. A blameworthy act occurs when an actor intentionally, negligently or recklessly causes foreseen, or foreseeable, harmful consequences without any compelling mitigating or extenuating circumstances. This simple formulation conveniently forestalls intricacies about how to construe concepts such as will, causation, foresight, and mitigation, but putting that aside for the moment, it seems fair to say that blame “professionals” share compatible conceptions of how (...)
  24. Causation, Norm Violation, and Culpable Control.Alicke Mark, Rose David & Bloom Dori - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy 108 (12):670-696.
    Causation is one of philosophy's most venerable and thoroughly-analyzed concepts. However, the study of how ordinary people make causal judgments is a much more recent addition to the philosophical arsenal. One of the most prominent views of causal explanation, especially in the realm of harmful or potentially harmful behavior, is that unusual or counternormative events are accorded privileged status in ordinary causal explanations. This is a fundamental assumption in psychological theories of counterfactual reasoning, and has been transported to philosophy by (...)
  25. Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist.Joshua Knobe - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.
    It has often been suggested that people’s ordinary capacities for understanding the world make use of much the same methods one might find in a formal scientific investigation. A series of recent experimental results offer a challenge to this widely-held view, suggesting that people’s moral judgments can actually influence the intuitions they hold both in folk psychology and in causal cognition. The present target article distinguishes two basic approaches to explaining such effects. One approach would be to say that the (...)
  26. Cause and Norm.Christopher Hitchcock & Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (11):587-612.
    Much of the philosophical literature on causation has focused on the concept of actual causation, sometimes called token causation. In particular, it is this notion of actual causation that many philosophical theories of causation have attempted to capture.2 In this paper, we address the question: what purpose does this concept serve? As we shall see in the next section, one does not need this concept for purposes of prediction or rational deliberation. What then could the purpose be? We will argue (...)
  27. Causal Judgment and Moral Judgment: Two Experiments.Joshua Knobe & Ben Fraser - 2008 - In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology. MIT Press.
    It has long been known that people’s causal judgments can have an impact on their moral judgments. To take a simple example, if people conclude that a behavior caused the death of ten innocent children, they will therefore be inclined to regard the behavior itself as morally wrong. So far, none of this should come as any surprise. But recent experimental work points to the existence of a second, and more surprising, aspect of the relationship between causal judgment and moral (...)
  28. Moral Appraisals Affect Doing/Allowing Judgments.Fiery Cushman, Joshua Knobe & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2008 - Cognition 108 (2):353-380.
    An extensive body of research suggests that the distinction between doing and allowing plays a critical role in shaping moral appraisals. Here, we report evidence from a pair of experiments suggesting that the converse is also true: moral appraisals affect doing/allowing judgments. Specifically, morally bad behavior is more likely to be construed as actively ‘doing’ than as passively ‘allowing’. This finding adds to a growing list of folk concepts influenced by moral appraisal, including causation and intentional action. We therefore suggest (...)
  29. The Folk Probably Don't Think What You Think They Think: Experiments on Causation by Absence.Jonathan Livengood & Edouard Machery - 2007 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):107–127.
    Folk theories—untutored people’s (often implicit) theories about various features of the world—have been fashionable objects of inquiry in psychology for almost two decades now (e.g., Hirschfeld and Gelman 1994), and more recently they have been of interest in experimental philosophy (Nichols 2004). Folk theories of psy- chology, physics, biology, and ethics have all come under investigation. Folk meta- physics, however, has not been as extensively studied. That so little is known about folk metaphysics is unfortunate for (at least) two reasons. (...)
  30. Folk Psychological Concepts: Causation.Craig Roxborough & Jill Cumby - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (2):205-213.
    Which factors influence the folk application of the concept of causation? Knobe has argued that causal judgments are primarily influenced by the moral valence of the behavior under consideration. Whereas Driver has pointed out that the data Knobe relies on can also be used to support the claim that it is the atypicality of the agent's behavior that influences our willingness to assign causality to that agent. While Knobe and Fraser have provided a further study to address the cogency of (...)
  31. Are the Folk Agent-Causationists?Jason Turner & Eddy Nahmias - 2006 - Mind and Language 21 (5):597-609.
    Experimental examination of how the folk conceptualize certain philosophically loaded notions can provide information useful for philosophical theorizing. In this paper, we explore issues raised in Shaun Nichols' (2004) studies involving people's conception of free will, focusing on his claim that this conception fits best with the philosophical theory of agent-causation. We argue that his data do not support this conclusion, highlighting along the way certain considerations that ought to be taken into account when probing the folk conception of free (...)
Experimental Philosophy: Persons
  1. Good Selves, True Selves: Moral Ignorance, Responsibility, And The Presumption Of Goodness.David Faraci & David Shoemaker - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
  2. Personal Identity.David Shoemaker & Kevin P. Tobia - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford:
    Our aim in this entry is to articulate the state of the art in the moral psychology of personal identity. We begin by discussing the major philosophical theories of personal identity, including their shortcomings. We then turn to recent psychological work on personal identity and the self, investigations that often illuminate our person-related normative concerns. We conclude by discussing the implications of this psychological work for some contemporary philosophical theories and suggesting fruitful areas for future work on personal identity.
  3. Consistent Belief in a Good True Self in Misanthropes and Three Interdependent Cultures.Julian De Freitas, Hagop Sarkissian, George E. Newman, Igor Grossmann, Felipe De Brigard, Andres Luco & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Cognitive Science 42 (S1):134-160.
    People sometimes explain behavior by appealing to an essentialist concept of the self, often referred to as the true self. Existing studies suggest that people tend to believe that the true self is morally virtuous; that is deep inside, every person is motivated to behave in morally good ways. Is this belief particular to individuals with optimistic beliefs or people from Western cultures, or does it reflect a widely held cognitive bias in how people understand the self? To address this (...)
  4. Proper Names, Rigidity, and Empirical Studies on Judgments of Identity Across Transformations.Vilius Dranseika, Jonas Dagys & Renatas Berniunas - forthcoming - Topoi:1-8.
    The question of transtemporal identity of objects in general and persons in particular is an important issue in both philosophy and psychology. While the focus of philosophers traditionally was on questions of the nature of identity relation and criteria that allow to settle ontological issues about identity, psychologists are mostly concerned with how people think about identity, and how they track identity of objects and people through time. In this article, we critically engage with widespread use of inferring folk judgments (...)
  5. Diachronic Identity and the Moral Self.Jesse Prinz & Shaun Nichols - 2016 - In Julian Kiverstein (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the Social Mind. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 449-464.
  6. The Role of Moral Beliefs, Memories, and Preferences in Representations of Identity.Larisa Heiphetz, Nina Strohminger & Liane L. Young - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (7):744-767.
    People perceive that if their memories and moral beliefs changed, they would change. We investigated why individuals respond this way. In Study 1, participants judged that identity would change more after changes to memories and widely shared moral beliefs versus preferences and controversial moral beliefs. The extent to which participants judged that changes would affect their relationships predicted identity change and mediated the relationship between type of moral belief and perceived identity change. We discuss the role that social relationships play (...)
  7. Neurodegeneration and Identity.Nina Strohminger & Shaun Nichols - 2015 - Psychological Science 26 (9):1469– 1479.
  8. Psychological Connectedness and Intertemporal Choice.Daniel M. Bartels & Lance J. Rips - 2010 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 139 (1):49-69.
  9. Personal Identity, Direction of Change, and Neuroethics.Kevin Patrick Tobia - 2016 - Neuroethics 9 (1):37-43.
    The personal identity relation is of great interest to philosophers, who often consider fictional scenarios to test what features seem to make persons persist through time. But often real examples of neuroscientific interest also provide important tests of personal identity. One such example is the case of Phineas Gage – or at least the story often told about Phineas Gage. Many cite Gage’s story as example of severed personal identity; Phineas underwent such a tremendous change that Gage “survived as a (...)
  10. Normative Judgments and Individual Essence.Julian De Freitas, Kevin P. Tobia, George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (S3).
    A growing body of research has examined how people judge the persistence of identity over time—that is, how they decide that a particular individual is the same entity from one time to the next. While a great deal of progress has been made in understanding the types of features that people typically consider when making such judgments, to date, existing work has not explored how these judgments may be shaped by normative considerations. The present studies demonstrate that normative beliefs do (...)
  11. The Deep Self Model and Asymmetries in Folk Judgments About Intentional Action.Chandra Sekhar Sripada - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):159-176.
    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 (...)
  12. Folk Concepts of Person and Identity: A Response to Nichols and Bruno.Renatas Berniūnas & Vilius Dranseika - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (1):96-122.
    Nichols and Bruno claim that the folk judge that psychological continuity is necessary for personal identity. In this article, we evaluate this claim. First, we argue that it is likely that in thinking about hypothetical cases of transformations, the folk do not use a unitary concept of personal identity, but instead rely on different concepts of ‘person’, ‘identity’, and ‘individual’. Identity can be ascribed even when post-transformation individuals are no longer categorized as persons. Second, we provide new empirical evidence suggesting (...)
  13. Ego, Egoism and the Impact of Religion on Ethical Experience: What a Paradoxical Consequence of Buddhist Culture Tells Us About Moral Psychology.Jay L. Garfield, Shaun Nichols, Arun K. Rai & Nina Strohminger - 2015 - The Journal of Ethics 19 (3-4):293-304.
    We discuss the structure of Buddhist theory, showing that it is a kind of moral phenomenology directed to the elimination of egoism through the elimination of a sense of self. We then ask whether being raised in a Buddhist culture in which the values of selflessness and the sense of non-self are so deeply embedded transforms one’s sense of who one is, one’s ethical attitudes and one’s attitude towards death, and in particular whether those transformations are consistent with the predictions (...)
  14. Huck Vs. Jojo: Moral Ignorance and the (A)Symmetry of Praise and Blame.David Faraci & David Shoemaker - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy:7-27.
    Presentation and discussion of two new experimental studies surveying intuitions about cases of moral ignorance due to childhood deprivation. Discussion of resulting asymmetry between negative and positive cases and proposal of speculative hypothesis to explain results, The Difficulty Hypothesis.
  15. Personal Identity and the Phineas Gage Effect.Kevin P. Tobia - 2015 - Analysis 75 (3):396-405.
    Phineas Gage’s story is typically offered as a paradigm example supporting the view that part of what matters for personal identity is a certain magnitude of similarity between earlier and later individuals. Yet, reconsidering a slight variant of Phineas Gage’s story indicates that it is not just magnitude of similarity, but also the direction of change that affects personal identity judgments; in some cases, changes for the worse are more seen as identity-severing than changes for the better of comparable magnitude. (...)
  16. Are Artworks More Like People Than Artifacts? Individual Concepts and Their Extensions.George E. Newman, Daniel M. Bartels & Rosanna K. Smith - 2014 - Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (4):647-662.
    This paper examines people's reasoning about identity continuity and its relation to previous research on how people value one-of-a-kind artifacts, such as artwork. We propose that judgments about the continuity of artworks are related to judgments about the continuity of individual persons because art objects are seen as physical extensions of their creators. We report a reanalysis of previous data and the results of two new empirical studies that test this hypothesis. The first study demonstrates that the mere categorization of (...)
  17. Beliefs About the True Self Explain Asymmetries Based on Moral Judgment.George E. Newman, Julian De Freitas & Joshua Knobe - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (1):96-125.
    Past research has identified a number of asymmetries based on moral judgments. Beliefs about what a person values, whether a person is happy, whether a person has shown weakness of will, and whether a person deserves praise or blame seem to depend critically on whether participants themselves find the agent's behavior to be morally good or bad. To date, however, the origins of these asymmetries remain unknown. The present studies examine whether beliefs about an agent's “true self” explain these observed (...)
  18. The Essential Moral Self.Nina Strohminger & Shaun Nichols - 2014 - Cognition 131 (1):159-171.
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