About this topic
Summary Experimental philosophy is a new movement that uses systematic experimental studies to shed light on philosophical issues. In other words, experimental philosophers apply the methods commonly associated with psychology (experimentation, statistical analysis, developmental research, reaction time studies, patient studies, and so on), but they use those methods to address the kinds of questions that have been traditionally associated with philosophy. The experimental philosophy movement is united more by a shared methodology than by a shared research agenda or metaphilosophical viewpoint. Thus, while work in experimental philosophy makes use of systematic empirical study, this methodology has been applied to a wide array of different philosophical questions, and researchers have offered quite different views about the way in which such experimental work can prove philosophically valuable. So perhaps the best way to become acquainted with the field of experimental philosophy is to look in detail at the actual research findings.
Key works Key work in experimental philosophy has been done in virtually all areas of philosophy including philosophy of language (Turri 2013, Machery et al 2004), mind (Sytsma & Machery 2010), metaphysics (Mark et al 2011), intentionality (Knobe 2010, Young et al 2006), free will and moral responsibility (Nichols & Knobe 2007Nichols 2011), metaethics (Sarkissian et al 2011Sarkissian et al 2010), and epistemology (Weinberg et al 2001, Beebe & Buckwalter 2010, Starmans & Friedman 2012).
Introductions Buckwalter & Sytsma forthcoming provide a general introduction to experimental philosophy. Knobe & Nichols 2008  and Knobe & Nichols 2013 include collections of some of the early papers in experimental philosophy that established the field, as well as new commentaries and responses from a broader range of philosophers. Knobe et al 2012 provides an up-to-date review of research in experimental philosophy. This introduction is written for an audience of psychologists and therefore tends to emphasize empirical findings rather than philosophical implications. There have also been several excellent introductory textbooks including Sytsma & Livengood 2015, Alexander 2012, and Mallon & Nichols 2012 juxtaposing traditional and cutting edge experimental readings. Experimental philosophy is a rapidly growing field, and breaking xphi news and results can be found at the Experimental Philosophy Blog and on Facebook and Twitter
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  1. Decision Conflict Drives Reaction Times and Utilitarian Responses in Sacrificial Dilemmas.Alejandro Rosas, Juan Pablo Bermúdez & David Aguilar-Pardo - 2019 - Judgment and Decision Making 14:555-564.
    In the sacrificial moral dilemma task, participants have to morally judge an action that saves several lives at the cost of killing one person. According to the dual process corrective model of moral judgment suggested by Greene and collaborators (2001; 2004; 2008), cognitive control is necessary to override the intuitive, deontological force of the norm against killing and endorse the utilitarian perspective. However, a conflict model has been proposed more recently to account for part of the evidence in favor of (...)
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  2. Testing for the Phenomenal: Intuition, Metacognition, and Philosophical Methodology.Miguel Egler - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (1):48-66.
    Recent empirical studies raise methodological concerns about the use of intuitions in philosophy. According to one prominent line of reply, these concerns are unwarranted since the empirical studies motivating them do not control for the putatively characteristic phenomenology of intuitions. This paper makes use of research on metacognitive states that have precisely this phenomenology to argue that the above reply fails. Furthermore, it shows that empirical findings about these metacognitive states can help philosophers make better informed assessments of their warrant (...)
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  3. What Does "Mind-Wandering" Mean To The Folk? An Empirical Investigation.Zachary C. Irving, Aaron Glasser, Alison Gopnik & Chandra Sekhar Sripada - manuscript
    Although mind-wandering research is rapidly progressing, stark disagreements are emerging about what the term “mind-wandering” means. Four prominent views define mind-wandering as 1) task-unrelated thought, 2) stimulus-independent thought, 3) unintentional thought, or 4) dynamically unguided thought. Although theorists claim to capture the ordinary understanding of mind-wandering, no systematic studies have assessed these claims. Two large factorial studies present participants (n=545) with vignettes that describe someone’s thoughts and ask whether her mind was wandering, while systematically manipulating features relevant to the four (...)
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  4. No Hope for the Irrelevance Claim.Miguel Egler - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    Empirical findings about intuitions putatively cast doubt on the traditional methodology of philosophy. Herman Cappelen and Max Deutsch have argued that these methodological concerns are unmotivated as experimental findings about intuitions are irrelevant for assessments of the methodology of philosophy—I dub this the ‘Irrelevance Claim’. In this paper, I first explain that for Cappelen and Deutsch to vindicate the Irrelevance Claim from a forceful objection, their arguments have to establish that intuitions play no epistemically significant role whatsoever in philosophy—call this (...)
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  5. Nietzsche and Moral Psychology.Daniel Telech & Brian Leiter - 2016 - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 103-115.
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  6. Definite Descriptions and the Alleged East–West Variation in Judgments About Reference.Yu Izumi, Masashi Kasaki, Yan Zhou & Sobei Oda - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (5):1183-1205.
    Machery et al. presented data suggesting the existence of cross-cultural variation in judgments about the reference of proper names. In this paper, we examine a previously overlooked confound in the subsequent studies that attempt to replicate the results of Machery et al. using East Asian languages. Machery et al. and Sytsma et al. claim that they have successfully replicated the original finding with probes written in Chinese and Japanese, respectively. These studies, however, crucially rely on uses of articleless, ‘bare noun (...)
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  7. Experimenting with Ethics in the Twenty-First Century.Jessica Wahman - 2011 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 25 (1):33.
  8. Exploring the Relations Between Categorization and Decision Making with Regard to Realistic Face Stimuli.James T. Townsend, Kam M. Silva, Jesse Spencer-Smith & Michael J. Wenger - 2000 - Pragmatics and Cognition 8 (1):83-105.
    Categorization and decision making are combined in a task with photorealistic faces. Two different types of face stimuli were assigned probabilistically into one of two fictitious groups; based on the category, faces were further probabilistically assigned to be hostile or friendly. In Part I, participants are asked to categorize a face into one of two categories, and to make a decision concerning interaction. A Markov model of categorization followed by decision making provides reasonable fits to Part I data. A Markov (...)
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Experimental Aesthetics
  1. Intuitions on the Individuation of Musical Works. An Empirical Study.Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė & Vilius Dranseika - forthcoming - British Journal of Aesthetics:ayz051.
    Philosophers often consider better compliance with prevalent pre-theoretical intuitions to be an advantage of a theory of ontology of musical works. However, despite many predictions of what these intuitions on relevant questions might be, so far there is only one experimental philosophy study on the repeatability of musical works by Christopher Bartel. We decided to examine the intuitions concerning the individuation of musical works by creating scenarios reflecting the differences in the positions of musical ontologists: pure and timbral sonicism, instrumentalism, (...)
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  2. An Empirical Investigation of Guilty Pleasures.Kris Goffin & Florian Cova - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (7):1129-1155.
    ABSTRACTIn everyday language, the expression ‘guilty pleasure’ refers to instances where one feels bad about enjoying a particular artwork. Thus, one’s experience of guilty pleasure seems to involv...
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  3. De Pulchritudine Non Est Disputandum? A Cross‐Cultural Investigation of the Alleged Intersubjective Validity of Aesthetic Judgment.Florian Cova, Christopher Y. Olivola, Edouard Machery, Stephen Stich, David Rose, Mario Alai, Adriano Angelucci, Renatas Berniūnas, Emma E. Buchtel, Amita Chatterjee, Hyundeuk Cheon, In‐Rae Cho, Daniel Cohnitz, Vilius Dranseika, Ángeles E. Lagos, Laleh Ghadakpour, Maurice Grinberg, Ivar Hannikainen, Takaaki Hashimoto, Amir Horowitz, Evgeniya Hristova, Yasmina Jraissati, Veselina Kadreva, Kaori Karasawa, Hackjin Kim, Yeonjeong Kim, Minwoo Lee, Carlos Mauro, Masaharu Mizumoto, Sebastiano Moruzzi, Jorge Ornelas, Barbara Osimani, Carlos Romero, Alejandro Rosas, Massimo Sangoi, Andrea Sereni, Sarah Songhorian, Paulo Sousa, Noel Struchiner, Vera Tripodi, Naoki Usui, Alejandro V. del Mercado, Giorgio Volpe, Hrag A. Vosgerichian, Xueyi Zhang & Jing Zhu - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (3):317-338.
    Since at least Hume and Kant, philosophers working on the nature of aesthetic judgment have generally agreed that common sense does not treat aesthetic judgments in the same way as typical expressions of subjective preferences—rather, it endows them with intersubjective validity, the property of being right or wrong regardless of disagreement. Moreover, this apparent intersubjective validity has been taken to constitute one of the main explananda for philosophical accounts of aesthetic judgment. But is it really the case that most people (...)
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  4. Is Beauty in the Folk Intuition of the Beholder? Some Thoughts on Experimental Philosophy and Aesthetics.Emanuele Arielli - 2018 - Rivista di Estetica 69:21-39.
    In this paper I will discuss some issues related to a recent trend in experimental philosophy (or x-phi), and try to show the reasons of its late (and scarce) involvement with aesthetics, compared to other areas of philosophical investigation. In order to do this, it is first necessary to ask how an autonomous experimental philosophy of aesthetics could be related to the long-standing tradition of psychological experimental aesthetics. After distinguishing between a “narrow” and a “broad” approach of experimental philosophy, I (...)
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  5. Dual Character Art Concepts.Shen-yi Liao, Aaron Meskin & Joshua Knobe - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):102-128.
    Our goal in this paper is to articulate a novel account of the ordinary concept ART. At the core of our account is the idea that a puzzle surrounding our thought and talk about art is best understood as just one instance of a far broader phenomenon. In particular, we claim that one can make progress on this puzzle by drawing on research from cognitive science on dual character concepts. Thus, we suggest that the very same sort of phenomenon that (...)
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  6. The Beauty (?) of Mathematical Proofs.Catarina Dutilh Novaes - 2019 - In Andrew Aberdein & Matthew Inglis (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 63-93.
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  7. A Defence of Experimental Philosophy in Aesthetics.Clotilde Torregrossa - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-23.
    Although experimental philosophy is now over a decade old, it has only recently been introduced to the domain of philosophical aesthetics. So why is there already a need to defend it? Because, as I argue in this paper, we can anticipate the three main types of objection generally addressed to experimental philosophy and show that none of them concern experimental philosophers in aesthetics. I begin with some general considerations about experimental philosophy and its, sometimes conflicting, characteristics. This framework is designed (...)
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  8. Estimating the Reproducibility of Experimental Philosophy.Florian Cova, Brent Strickland, Angela Abatista, Aurélien Allard, James Andow, Mario Attie, James Beebe, Renatas Berniūnas, Jordane Boudesseul, Matteo Colombo, Fiery Cushman, Rodrigo Diaz, Noah N’Djaye Nikolai van Dongen, Vilius Dranseika, Brian D. Earp, Antonio Gaitán Torres, Ivar Hannikainen, José V. Hernández-Conde, Wenjia Hu, François Jaquet, Kareem Khalifa, Hanna Kim, Markus Kneer, Joshua Knobe, Miklos Kurthy, Anthony Lantian, Shen-yi Liao, Edouard Machery, Tania Moerenhout, Christian Mott, Mark Phelan, Jonathan Phillips, Navin Rambharose, Kevin Reuter, Felipe Romero, Paulo Sousa, Jan Sprenger, Emile Thalabard, Kevin Tobia, Hugo Viciana, Daniel Wilkenfeld & Xiang Zhou - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-36.
    Responding to recent concerns about the reliability of the published literature in psychology and other disciplines, we formed the X-Phi Replicability Project to estimate the reproducibility of experimental philosophy. Drawing on a representative sample of 40 x-phi studies published between 2003 and 2015, we enlisted 20 research teams across 8 countries to conduct a high-quality replication of each study in order to compare the results to the original published findings. We found that x-phi studies – as represented in our sample (...)
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  9. The Content-Dependence of Imaginative Resistance.Hanna Kim, Markus Kneer & Michael T. Stuart - forthcoming - In Florian Cova & Sébastien Réhault (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Aesthetics. Bloomsbury.
    An observation of Hume’s has received a lot of attention over the last decade and a half: Although we can standardly imagine the most implausible scenarios, we encounter resistance when imagining propositions at odds with established moral (or perhaps more generally evaluative) convictions. The literature is ripe with ‘solutions’ to this so-called ‘Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance’. Few, however, question the plausibility of the empirical assumption at the heart of the puzzle. In this paper, we explore empirically whether the difficulty we (...)
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  10. Genre Moderates Morality’s Influence on Aesthetics.Shen-yi Liao - manuscript
    The present studies investigate morality’s influence on aesthetics and one potential moderator of that influence: genre. Study 1 finds that people’s moral evaluation positively influence their aesthetic evaluation of an artwork. Study 2 and 3 finds that this influence can be moderated by the contextual factor of genre. These results broaden our understanding of the relationship between morality and aesthetics, and suggest that models of art appreciation should take into account morality and its interaction with context. [Unpublishable 2010-2017.].
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  11. Experimental Philosophical Aesthetics as Public Philosophy.Aaron Meskin & Shen-yi Liao - 2018 - In Sébastien Réhault & Florian Cova (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Aesthetics. New York: Bloomsbury. pp. 309-326.
    Experimental philosophy offers an alternative mode of engagement for public philosophy, in which the public can play a participatory role. We organized two public events on the aesthetics of coffee that explored this alternative mode of engagement. The first event focuses on issues surrounding the communication of taste. The second event focuses on issues concerning ethical influences on taste. -/- In this paper, we report back on these two events which explored the possibility of doing experimental philosophical aesthetics as public (...)
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  12. Aesthetic Adjectives Lack Uniform Behavior.Shen-yi Liao, Louise McNally & Aaron Meskin - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (6):618-631.
    The goal of this short paper is to show that esthetic adjectives—exemplified by “beautiful” and “elegant”—do not pattern stably on a range of linguistic diagnostics that have been used to taxonomize the gradability properties of adjectives. We argue that a plausible explanation for this puzzling data involves distinguishing two properties of gradable adjectives that have been frequently conflated: whether an adjective’s applicability is sensitive to a comparison class, and whether an adjective’s applicability is context-dependent.
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  13. Aesthetic Adjectives: Experimental Semantics and Context-Sensitivity.Shen-yi Liao & Aaron Meskin - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):371–398.
    One aim of this essay is to contribute to understanding aesthetic communication—the process by which agents aim to convey thoughts and transmit knowledge about aesthetic matters to others. Our focus will be on the use of aesthetic adjectives in aesthetic communication. Although theorists working on the semantics of adjectives have developed sophisticated theories about gradable adjectives, they have tended to avoid studying aesthetic adjectives—the class of adjectives that play a central role in expressing aesthetic evaluations. And despite the wealth of (...)
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  14. The Charge From Psychology and Art's Definition.Annelies Monseré - 2016 - Theoria 82 (3):256-273.
    This article argues that the so-called Charge from Psychology does not refute the project of defining art. The charge entails that the project is misguided because it falsely presupposes that the concept of art is classically structured. The charge is challenged by distinguishing philosophers’ normative from psychologists’ descriptive aims. Unlike what many philosophers of art themselves believe, defining art is a normative project, since proposed definitions formulate conditions under which the concept of art should be applied, rather than is applied. (...)
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  15. The Role of Intuitions in the Philosophy of Art.Annelies Monseré - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (7-8):806-827.
    According to Herman Cappelen and Bernard Molyneux, it is widely assumed that intuitions are used as evidence for philosophical theories in all areas of philosophy. Philosophers’ self-image, however, is wrong. This wrong self-image, so they argue, has merely misled metaphilosophers, but has had no substantial implications for philosophical practices. This article examines the role of intuitions in the project of defining art. In accordance with Cappelen and Molyneux, I demonstrate that philosophers of art believe intuitions are used as evidence for (...)
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  16. Experimental Philosophy of Aesthetics.Florian Cova, Amanda Garcia & Shen-yi Liao - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (12):927-939.
    In the past decade, experimental philosophy---the attempt at making progress on philosophical problems using empirical methods---has thrived in a wide range of domains. However, only in recent years has aesthetics succeeded in drawing the attention of experimental philosophers. The present paper constitutes the first survey of these works and of the nascent field of 'experimental philosophy of aesthetics'. We present both recent experimental works by philosophers on topics such as the ontology of aesthetics, aesthetic epistemology, aesthetic concepts, and imagination, as (...)
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  17. Experimental Philosophy and Intuitions on What is Art and What is Not.Annelies Monseré - 2015 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 34 (3).
    It is generally agreed upon that philosophers of art rely on their intuitions to justify or criticize proposed definitions of art. Experimental philosophers, however, have questioned the role of intuition in philosophy, since empirical research shows that philosophers’ intuitions are neither widely shared nor reliable sources of justification. This article aims to apply these experimental challenges to the project of defining art. It will be demonstrated that while experimentalists are right in claiming that philosophers' intuitions cannot be used as epistemic (...)
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  18. Empirically Investigating Imaginative Resistance.Shen-yi Liao, Nina Strohminger & Chandra Sekhar Sripada - 2014 - British Journal of Aesthetics 54 (3):339-355.
    Imaginative resistance refers to a phenomenon in which people resist engaging in particular prompted imaginative activities. Philosophers have primarily theorized about this phenomenon from the armchair. In this paper, we demonstrate the utility of empirical methods for investigating imaginative resistance. We present two studies that help to establish the psychological reality of imaginative resistance, and to uncover one factor that is significant for explaining this phenomenon but low in psychological salience: genre. Furthermore, our studies have the methodological upshot of showing (...)
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  19. Mere Exposure to Bad Art.Aaron Meskin, Mark Phelan, Margaret Moore & Matthew Kieran - 2013 - British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (2):139-164.
  20. Can Folk Aesthetics Ground Aesthetic Realism?Florian Cova & Nicolas Pain - 2012 - The Monist 95 (2):241-263.
    We challenge an argument that aims to support Aesthetic Realism by claiming, first, that common sense is realist about aesthetic judgments because it considers that aesthetic judgments can be right or wrong, and, second, that becauseAesthetic Realism comes from and accounts for “folk aesthetics,” it is the best aesthetic theory available.We empirically evaluate this argument by probing whether ordinary people with no training whatsoever in the subtle debates of aesthetic philosophy consider their aesthetic judgments as right or wrong. Having shown (...)
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  21. Experimental Philosophy of Art.Richard Kamber - 2011 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69 (2):197-208.
    Although experimental philosophers have been busy kindling fires under well-worn armchairs in areas of philosophy as varied as epistemology, normative ethics, theories of reference, and the free will controversy, the philosophy of art has remained largely untouched. As Denis Dutton observes: “There is precious little reference to empirical psychology in contemporary philosophical aesthetics, almost as if philosophers of art have wanted to protect their patch from incursions by psychologists.” I intend to show how techniques borrowed from experimental psychology can bring (...)
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Experimental Philosophy of Action
  1. Normativity in Joint Action.Javier Gomez-Lavin & Matthew Rachar - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (1):97-120.
    The debate regarding the nature of joint action has come to a stalemate due to a dependence on intuitional methods. Normativists, such as Margaret Gilbert, argue that action-relative normative relations are inherent in joint action, while non-normativists, such as Michael Bratman, claim that there are minimal cases of joint action without normative relations. In this work, we describe the first experimental examinations of these intuitions, and report the results of six studies that weigh in favor of the normativist paradigm. Philosophical (...)
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  2. Using Experience Sampling to Examine Links Between Compassion, Eudaimonia, and Prosocial Behavior.Jason D. Runyan, Brian N. Fry, Timothy A. Steenbergh, Nathan L. Arbuckle, Kristen Dunbar & Erin E. Devers - forthcoming - Journal of Personality.
    Objective: Compassion has been associated with eudaimonia and prosocial behavior, and has been regarded as a virtue, both historically and cross-culturally. However, the psychological study of compassion has been limited to laboratory settings and/or standard survey assessments. Here, we use an experience sampling method (ESM) to compare naturalistic assessments of compassion with standard assessments, and to examine compassion, its variability, and associations with eudaimonia and prosocial behavior. -/- Methods: Participants took a survey which included standard assessments of compassion and eudaimonia. (...)
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  3. When Do Circumstances Excuse? Moral Prejudices and Beliefs About the True Self Drive Preferences for Agency-Minimizing Explanations.Simon Cullen - 2018 - Cognition 180:165-181.
    When explaining human actions, people usually focus on a small subset of potential causes. What leads us to prefer certain explanations for valenced actions over others? The present studies indicate that our moral attitudes often predict our explanatory preferences far better than our beliefs about how causally sensitive actions are to features of the actor's environment. Study 1 found that high-prejudice participants were much more likely to endorse non-agential explanations of an erotic same-sex encounter, such as that one of the (...)
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  4. The Semiosis of “Side Effects” in Genetic Interventions.Ramsey Affifi - 2016 - Biosemiotics 9 (3):345-364.
    Genetic interventions, which include transgenic engineering, gene editing, and other forms of genome modification aimed at altering the information “in” the genetic code, are rapidly increasing in power and scale. Biosemiotics offers unique tools for understanding the nature, risks, scope, and prospects of such technologies, though few in the community have turned their attention specifically in this direction. Bruni is an important exception. In this paper, I examine how we frame the concept of “side effects” that result from genetic interventions (...)
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  5. A New Angle on the Knobe Effect: Intentionality Correlates with Blame, Not with Praise.Frank Hindriks, Igor Douven & Henrik Singmann - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (2):204-220.
    In a celebrated experiment, Joshua Knobe showed that people are much more prone to attribute intentionality to an agent for a side effect of a given act when that side effect is harmful than when it is beneficial. This asymmetry has become known as ‘the Knobe Effect’. According to Knobe's Moral Valence Explanation, bad effects trigger the attributions of intentionality, whereas good effects do not. Many others believe that the Knobe Effect is best explained in terms of the high amount (...)
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  6. The Knobe Effect, Indifference, and Constitutional Law.Moshe Cohen-Eliya & Iddo Porat - 2015 - The Law and Ethics of Human Rights 9 (2):229-247.
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  7. The Omissions Account of the Knobe Effect and the Asymmetry Challenge.Katarzyna Paprzycka - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (5):550-571.
    The characteristic asymmetry in intentionality attributions that is known as the Knobe effect can be explained by conjoining an orthodox theory of intentional action with a normative account of intentional omission. On the latter view: omissions presuppose some normative context; there are good reasons why the intentionality of omissions requires agents' knowledge rather than intention. The asymmetry in intentionality attributions in Knobe's cases can be seen to be derivative from an asymmetry in intentional omissions. The omissions account further explains the (...)
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  8. Experimental Philosophy and Naturalism.Bence Nanay - 2015 - In E. Fischer & J. Collins (eds.), Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism and Naturalism. Rethinking Philosophical Method. Routledge. pp. 222-239.
    The aim of this paper is to argue that there has been some mismatch between the naturalist rhetoric of experimental philosophy and its actual practice: experimental philosophy is not necessarily, and not even paradigmatically, a naturalistic enterprise. To substantiate this claim, a case study is given for what genuinely naturalist experimental philosophy would look like.
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  9. Are Intentionality Judgments Fundamentally Moral.Bertram F. Malle & Steve Guglielmo - 2012 - In Robyn Langdon & Catriona Mackenzie (eds.), Emotions, Imagination, and Moral Reasoning. Psychology Press.
  10. Why a Cause Cannot Be Later Than Its Effect.Richard M. Gale - 1965 - Review of Metaphysics 19 (2):209 - 234.
    The aim of this paper will be to try and show why there could not be any acceptable counter-stipulation-example to this analytic truth. The overall strategy will be to articulate the conceptual centrality of this analytic truth by showing that a change in it will cause absurdities to break out in certain neighboring concepts with which the concept of cause has logical liaisons, such as action, possibility, intention, deliberation, memory, responsibility, and punishment: and when we try to protect ourselves from (...)
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  11. Is the 'Trade-Off Hypothesis' Worth Trading For?†.Caldwell Hall & Chapel Hill - unknown
    Edouard Machery's paper, ‘The Folk Concept of Intentional Action: Philosophical and Psychological Issues, ’ puts forth an intriguing new hypothesis concerning recent work in experimental philosophy on the concept of intentional action. As opposed to other hypotheses in the literature, Machery's 'trade-off hypothesis' claims not to rely on moral considerations in explaining folk uses of the concept. In this paper, we critique Machery's hypothesis and offer empirical evidence to reject it. Finally, we evaluate the current state of the debate concerning (...)
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Experimental Philosophy: Free Will
  1. Determinism and Attributions of Consciousness.Gunnar Björnsson & Joshua Shepherd - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    The studies we report indicate that it is possible to manipulate explicit ascriptions of consciousness by manipulating whether an agent’s behavior is deterministically caused. In addition, we explore whether this impact of determinism on consciousness is direct, or mediated by notions linked to agency – notions like moral responsibility, free will, deliberate choice, and sensitivity to moral reasons. We provide evidence of mediation. This result extends work on attributions of consciousness and their connection to attributions of agency by Adam Arico, (...)
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  2. The Conceptual Impossibility of Free Will Error Theory.Andrew James Latham - 2019 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 15 (2):99-120.
    This paper argues for a view of free will that I will call the conceptual impossibility of the truth of free will error theory - the conceptual impossibility thesis. I will argue that given the concept of free will we in fact deploy, it is impossible for our free will judgements - judgements regarding whether some action is free or not - to be systematically false. Since we do judge many of our actions to be free, it follows from the (...)
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  3. When Do Robots Have Free Will? Exploring the Relationships Between (Attributions of) Consciousness and Free Will.Eddy Nahmias, Corey Allen & Bradley Loveall - forthcoming - In Marcus Missal & Andrew Cameron Sims Feltz (eds.), Free Will, Causality, and Neuroscience. Brill.
    While philosophers and scientists sometimes suggest (or take for granted) that consciousness is an essential condition for free will and moral responsibility, there is surprisingly little discussion of why consciousness (and what sorts of conscious experience) is important. We discuss some of the proposals that have been offered. We then discuss our studies using descriptions of humanoid robots to explore people’s attributions of free will and responsibility, of various kinds of conscious sensations and emotions, and of reasoning capacities, and examine (...)
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  4. Indirect Compatibilism.Andrew James Latham - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Sydney
    In this thesis, I will defend a new kind of compatibilist account of free action, indirect conscious control compatibilism (or indirect compatibilism for short), and argue that some of our actions are free according to it. My argument has three components, and involves the development of a brand new tool for experimental philosophy, and the use of cognitive neuroscience. The first component of the argument shows that compatibilism (of some kind) is a conceptual truth. Contrary to the current orthodoxy in (...)
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  5. Free Will Beliefs Predict Attitudes Toward Unethical Behavior and Criminal Punishment.Nathan D. Martin, Davide Rigoni & Kathleen D. Vohs - 2017 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114 (28):7325-7330.
    Do free will beliefs influence moral judgments? Answers to this question from theoretical and empirical perspectives are controversial. This study attempted to replicate past research and offer theoretical insights by analyzing World Values Survey data from residents of 46 countries (n = 65,111 persons). Corroborating experimental findings, free will beliefs predicted intolerance of unethical behaviors and support for severe criminal punishment. Further, the link between free will beliefs and intolerance of unethical behavior was moderated by variations in countries’ institutional integrity, (...)
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  6. When Choices Are Not Personal: The Effect of Statistical and Social Cues on Children's Inferences About the Scope of Preferences.Gil Diesendruck, Shira Salzer, Tamar Kushnir & Fei Xu - 2015 - Journal of Cognition and Development 16 (2):370-380.
    Individual choices are commonly taken to manifest personal preferences. The present study investigated whether social and statistical cues influence young children's inferences about the generalizability of preferences. Preschoolers were exposed to either 1 or 2 demonstrators’ selections of objects. The selected objects constituted 18%, 50%, or 100% of all available objects. We found that children took a single demonstrator's choices as indicative only of his or her personal preference. However, when 2 demonstrators made the same selection, then children inferred that (...)
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  7. Agency Beliefs Over Time and Across Cultures: Free Will Beliefs Predict Higher Job Satisfaction.Gilad Feldman, Jiing-Lih Farh & Kin Fai Ellick Wong - 2018 - Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 44 (3):304-317.
    In three studies, we examined the relationship between free will beliefs and job satisfaction over time and across cultures. Study 1 examined 252 Taiwanese real-estate agents over a 3-months period. Study 2 examined job satisfaction for 137 American workers on an online labor market over a 6-months period. Study 3 extended to a large sample of 14,062 employees from 16 countries and examined country-level moderators. We found a consistent positive relationship between the belief in free will and job satisfaction. The (...)
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  8. Free Will Evolved for Morality and Culture.Andrew E. Monroe, Kathleen D. Vohs & Roy F. Baumeister - 2016 - In Arthur G. Miller (ed.), The Social Psychology of Good and Evil. Guilford Publications.
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  9. The Empirical Psychological Perspectives on Free Will.Rui Dong, Kai-Ping Peng, Feng Yu & Ruo-Qiao Zheng - 2012 - Advances in Psychological Science 20 (11):1869-1878.
    Free will is one of the oldest and most debated topics in the history of philosophy. Both positivist philosophy and humanist philosophy considered the problem of free will to be the most difficult issues to untangle. In recent years, psychologists have begun to apply the methods of empirical science to study the psychological mechanism, impact and expression of free will. The general consensus is that free will is an illusion, but people still believe in its existence. Free will has been (...)
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  10. Free Will and Experimental Philosophy: An Intervention.Tamler Sommers - 2014 - In J. Clausen & Neil Levy (eds.), Handbook of Neuroethics. Springer. pp. 273-286.
    This chapter reviews and then criticizes the dominant approach that experimental philosophers have adopted in their studies on free will and moral responsibility. Section “Experimental Philosophy and Free Will” reviews the experimental literature and the shared approach: probing for intuitions about the so-called compatibility question, whether free will is compatible with causal determinism. Section “The Intervention” argues that this experimental focus on the compatibility question is fundamentally misguided. The critique develops in the form of a dialogue: a staged “intervention” for (...)
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