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  1. The Pervasive Impact of Ignorance.Lara Kirfel & Jonathan Phillips - 2023 - Cognition 231 (C):105316.
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  • On the Matter of Essence.Iris Berent - 2021 - Cognition 213 (C):104701.
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  • Happiness is From the Soul: The Nature and Origins of Our Happiness Concept.Fan Yang - 2021 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 150 (2):276-288.
    What is happiness? Is happiness about feeling good or about being good? Across five studies, we explored the nature and origins of our happiness concept developmentally and crosslinguistically. We found that surprisingly, children as young as age 4 viewed morally bad people as less happy than morally good people, even if the characters all have positive subjective states (Study 1). Moral character did not affect attributions of physical traits (Study 2), and was more powerfully weighted than subjective states in attributions (...)
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  • Not the Same Same: Distinguishing Between Similarity and Identity in Judgments of Change.Melissa Finlay & Christina Starmans - 2022 - Cognition 218 (C):104953.
    What makes someone the same person over time? There are (at least) two ways of understanding this question: A person can be the same in the sense of being very similar to how they used to be (similarity), or they can be the same in the sense of being the same individual (numerical identity). In recent years, several papers have claimed to explore the commonsense notion of numerical identity. However, we suggest here that these researchers have instead been studying similarity. (...)
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  • Habit and Identity: Behavioral, Cognitive, Affective, and Motivational Facets of an Integrated Self.Bas Verplanken & Jie Sui - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
  • 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 (...)
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  • Differences in the Evaluation of Generic Statements About Human and Non‐Human Categories.Arber Tasimi, Susan Gelman, Andrei Cimpian & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (7):1934-1957.
    Generic statements express generalizations about categories. Current theories suggest that people should be especially inclined to accept generics that involve threatening information. However, previous tests of this claim have focused on generics about non-human categories, which raises the question of whether this effect applies as readily to human categories. In Experiment 1, adults were more likely to accept generics involving a threatening property for artifacts, but this negativity bias did not also apply to human categories. Experiment 2 examined an alternative (...)
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  • Consider the Tumor: Brain Tumors Decrease Punishment Via Perceptions of Free Will.Alec J. Stinnett & Jessica L. Alquist - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology:1-24.
  • The Future of Moral Responsibility and Desert.Jay Spitzley - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):977-997.
    Most contemporary accounts of moral responsibility take desert to play a central role in the nature of moral responsibility. It is also assumed that desert is a backward-looking concept that is not directly derivable from any forward-looking or consequentialist considerations, such as whether blaming an agent would deter the agent from performing similar bad actions in the future. When determining which account of moral responsibility is correct, proponents of desert-based accounts often take intuitions about cases to provide evidence either in (...)
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  • Responses to Watson, Talbert, and McKenna.David Shoemaker - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (4):999-1010.
    In this essay, I provide responses to the trenchant critical remarks of Michael McKenna, Matt Talbert, and Gary Watson on my book Responsibility from the Margins. In doing so, I provide some new thoughts on the nature of attributability, what work talk of "capacities" is doing in my tripartite, qualities of will theory of responsibility, and what the relation is between our attitudes and practices of holding others and ourselves responsible.
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  • One: But Not the Same.John Schwenkler, Nick Byrd, Enoch Lambert & Matthew Taylor - 2021 - Philosophical Studies (6).
    Ordinary judgments about personal identity are complicated by the fact that phrases like “same person” and “different person” have multiple uses in ordinary English. This complication calls into question the significance of recent experimental work on this topic. For example, Tobia (2015) found that judgments of personal identity were significantly affected by whether the moral change described in a vignette was for the better or for the worse, while Strohminger and Nichols (2014) found that loss of moral conscience had more (...)
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  • Teleological Essentialism: Generalized.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (3).
    Natural/social kind essentialism is the view that natural kind categories, both living and non-living natural kinds, as well as social kinds (e.g., race, gender), are essentialized. On this view, artifactual kinds are not essentialized. Our view—teleological essentialism—is that a broad range of categories are essentialized in terms of teleology, including artifacts. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments typically used to provide evidence of essentialist thinking—involving superficial change (study 1), transformation of insides (study 2) and inferences about offspring (study 3)—we find (...)
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  • Teleological Essentialism.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (4):e12725.
    Placeholder essentialism is the view that there is a causal essence that holds category members together, though we may not know what the essence is. Sometimes the placeholder can be filled in by scientific essences, such as when we acquire scientific knowledge that the atomic weight of gold is 79. We challenge the view that placeholders are elaborated by scientific essences. On our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments (...)
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  • Folk teleology drives persistence judgments.David Rose, Jonathan Schaffer & Kevin Tobia - 2020 - Synthese 197 (12):5491-5509.
    Two separate research programs have revealed two different factors that feature in our judgments of whether some entity persists. One program—inspired by Knobe—has found that normative considerations affect persistence judgments. For instance, people are more inclined to view a thing as persisting when the changes it undergoes lead to improvements. The other program—inspired by Kelemen—has found that teleological considerations affect persistence judgments. For instance, people are more inclined to view a thing as persisting when it preserves its purpose. Our goal (...)
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  • Dual Character Concepts.Kevin Reuter - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (1):e12557.
    Some of philosophy's most central concepts, including art, friendship, and happiness, have been argued to be dual character concepts. Their main characteristic is that they encode not only a descriptive dimension but also an independent normative dimension for categorization. This article introduces the class of dual character concepts and discusses various accounts of their content and structure. A specific focus will be placed on their relation to two other classes of concepts, thick concepts and natural kind concepts. The study of (...)
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  • “They're Not True Humans:” Beliefs About Moral Character Drive Denials of Humanity.Ben Phillips - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (2):e13089.
    A puzzling feature of paradigmatic cases of dehumanization is that the perpetrators often attribute uniquely human traits to their victims. This has become known as the “paradox of dehumanization.” We address the paradox by arguing that the perpetrators think of their victims as human in one sense, while denying that they are human in another sense. We do so by providing evidence that people harbor a dual character concept of humanity. Research has found that dual character concepts have two independent (...)
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  • True Happiness: The Role of Morality in the Folk Concept of Happiness.Jonathan Phillips, Christian Mott, Julian De Freitas, June Gruber & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 146 (2):165-181.
    Recent scientific research has settled on a purely descriptive definition of happiness that is focused solely on agents’ psychological states (high positive affect, low negative affect, high life satisfaction). In contrast to this understanding, recent research has suggested that the ordinary concept of happiness is also sensitive to the moral value of agents’ lives. Five studies systematically investigate and explain the impact of morality on ordinary assessments of happiness. Study 1 demonstrates that moral judgments influence assessments of happiness not only (...)
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  • Counterfactual and Semi-Factual Thoughts in Moral Judgements About Failed Attempts to Harm.Mary Parkinson & Ruth M. J. Byrne - 2017 - Thinking and Reasoning 23 (4):409-448.
    People judge that an individual who attempts to harm someone but fails should be blamed and punished more when they imagine how things could have turned out worse, compared to when they imagine how things could have turned out the same, or when they think only about what happened. This moral counterfactual amplification effect occurs when people believe the protagonist had no reason for the attempt to harm, and not when the protagonist had a reason, as Experiment 1 shows. It (...)
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  • Deep Brain Stimulation, Continuity Over Time, and the True Self.Sven Nyholm & Elizabeth O’Neill - 2016 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 25 (4):647-658.
    One of the topics that often comes up in ethical discussions of deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the question of what impact DBS has, or might have, on the patient’s self. This is often understood as a question of whether DBS poses a “threat” to personal identity, which is typically understood as having to do with psychological and/or narrative continuity over time. In this article, we argue that the discussion of whether DBS is a “threat” to continuity over time is (...)
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  • Psychological Essentialism and the Structure of Concepts.Eleonore Neufeld - 2022 - Philosophy Compass (5):e12823.
    Psychological essentialism is the hypothesis that humans represent some categories as having an underlying essence that unifies members of a category and is causally responsible for their typical attributes and behaviors. Throughout the past several decades, psychological essentialism has emerged as an extremely active area of research in cognitive science. More recently, it has also attracted attention from philosophers, who put the empirical results to use in many different philosophical areas, ranging from philosophy of mind and cognitive science to social (...)
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  • “Internally Wicked”: Investigating How and Why Essentialism Influences Punitiveness and Moral Condemnation.Justin W. Martin & Larisa Heiphetz - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (6):e12991.
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  • Self-Reflection Orients Visual Attention Downward.Yi Liu, Yu Tong & Hong Li - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8.
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  • Pundits and Possibilities: Philosophers Are Not Modal Experts.Daniel Kilov & Caroline Hendy - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-20.
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  • Happiness and Desire Satisfaction.Chris Heathwood - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):57-83.
    This paper develops and defends a novel version of a relatively neglected category of theory of the nature of happiness: the desire-satisfaction theory. My account is similar in its fundamentals to Wayne Davis’s theory of happiness-as-subjective-desire-satisfaction. After arguing that this is the best general way to proceed for the desire-based approach, I develop an improved version of subjective desire satisfactionism in light of recent arguments in the happiness literature.
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  • Good Selves, True Selves: Moral Ignorance, Responsibility, And The Presumption Of Goodness.David Faraci & David Shoemaker - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):606-622.
    According to the Good True Self (GTS) theory, if an action is deemed good, its psychological source is typically viewed as more reflective of its agent’s true self, of who the agent really is ‘deep down inside’; if the action is deemed bad, its psychological source is typically viewed as more external to its agent’s true self. In previous work, we discovered a related asymmetry in judgments of blame- and praiseworthiness with respect to the mitigating effect of moral ignorance via (...)
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  • Virtue Theory for Moral Enhancement.Joao Fabiano - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 12 (2-3):89-102.
    Our present moral traits are unable to provide the level of large-scale co-operation necessary to deal with risks such as nuclear proliferation, drastic climate change and pandemics. In order to survive in an environment with powerful and easily available technologies, some authors claim that we need to improve our moral traits with moral enhancement. But this is prone to produce paradoxical effects, be self-reinforcing and harm personal identity. The risks of moral enhancement require the use of a safety framework; such (...)
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  • The Essence of Essentialism.George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (5):585-605.
    Over the past several decades, psychological essentialism has been an important topic of study, incorporating research from multiple areas of psychology, philosophy and linguistics. At its most basic level, essentialism is the tendency to represent certain concepts in terms of a deeper, unobservable property that is responsible for category membership. Originally, this concept was used to understand people’s reasoning about natural kind concepts, such as TIGER and WATER, but more recently, researchers have identified the emergence of essentialist-like intuitions in a (...)
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  • Addiction, Identity, Morality.Brian D. Earp, Joshua August Skorburg, Jim A. C. Everett & Julian Savulescu - 2019 - AJOB Empirical Bioethics 10 (2):136-153.
    Background: Recent literature on addiction and judgments about the characteristics of agents has focused on the implications of adopting a ‘brain disease’ versus ‘moral weakness’ model of addiction. Typically, such judgments have to do with what capacities an agent has (e.g., the ability to abstain from substance use). Much less work, however, has been conducted on the relationship between addiction and judgments about an agent’s identity, including whether or to what extent an individual is seen as the same person after (...)
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  • Non-Psychological Weakness of Will: Self-Control, Stereotypes, and Consequences.Mathieu Doucet & John Turri - 2014 - Synthese 191 (16):3935-3954.
    Prior work on weakness of will has assumed that it is a thoroughly psychological phenomenon. At least, it has assumed that ordinary attributions of weakness of will are purely psychological attributions, keyed to the violation of practical commitments by the weak-willed agent. Debate has recently focused on which sort of practical commitment, intention or normative judgment, is more central to the ordinary concept of weakness of will. We report five experiments that significantly advance our understanding of weakness of will attributions (...)
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  • Corporate Essence and Identity in Criminal Law.Mihailis E. Diamantis - 2018 - Journal of Business Ethics 154 (4):955-966.
    How can we know whether we are punishing the same corporation that committed some past crime? Though central to corporate criminal justice, legal theorists and philosophers have yet to address the basic question of how corporate identity persists through time. Simple cases, where crime and punishment are close in time and the corporation has changed little, can mislead us into thinking an answer is always easy to come by. The issue becomes more complicated when corporate criminals undergo any number of (...)
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  • Ownership Dilemmas: The Case of Finders Versus Landowners.Peter DeScioli, Rachel Karpoff & Julian De Freitas - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (S3):502-522.
    People sometimes disagree about who owns which objects, and these ownership dilemmas can lead to costly disputes. We investigate the cognitive mechanisms underlying people's judgments about finder versus landowner cases, in which a person finds an object on someone else's land. We test psychological hypotheses motivated directly by three major principles that govern these cases in the law. The results show that people are more likely to favor the finder when the object is in a public space compared to a (...)
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  • Your Visual System Provides All the Information You Need to Make Moral Judgments About Generic Visual Events.Julian De Freitas & George A. Alvarez - 2018 - Cognition 178 (C):133-146.
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  • 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 (...)
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  • 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 (...)
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  • Blame Mitigation: A Less Tidy Take and its Philosophical Implications.Jennifer L. Daigle & Joanna Demaree-Cotton - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (4):490-521.
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  • When Do Circumstances Excuse? Moral Prejudices and Beliefs About the True Self Drive Preferences for Agency-Minimizing Explanations.Simon Cullen - 2018 - Cognition 180 (C):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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  • Beyond Value in Moral Phenomenology: The Role of Epistemic and Control Experiences.James F. M. Cornwell & E. Tory Higgins - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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  • Intellectual Autonomy, Epistemic Dependence and Cognitive Enhancement.J. Adam Carter - 2017 - Synthese:1-25.
    Intellectual autonomy has long been identified as an epistemic virtue, one that has been championed influentially by Kant, Hume and Emerson. Manifesting intellectual autonomy, at least, in a virtuous way, does not require that we form our beliefs in cognitive isolation. Rather, as Roberts and Wood note, intellectually virtuous autonomy involves reliance and outsourcing to an appropriate extent, while at the same time maintaining intellectual self-direction. In this essay, I want to investigate the ramifications for intellectual autonomy of a particular (...)
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  • Attributionism and Moral Responsibility for Implicit Bias.Michael Brownstein - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (4):765-786.
    Implicit intergroup biases have been shown to impact social behavior in many unsettling ways, from disparities in decisions to “shoot” black and white men in a computer simulation to unequal gender-based evaluations of résumés and CVs. It is a difficult question whether, and in what way, agents are responsible for behaviors affected by implicit biases. I argue that in paradigmatic cases agents are responsible for these behaviors in the sense that the behavior is “attributable” to them. That is, behaviors affected (...)
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  • Identity, Virtue Theory, and the Death of Moral Enhancement.Davide Battisti & Federico Bina - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 12 (2-3):114-116.
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  • The Whole Story: Identity and Narrative.Marya Schechtman - forthcoming - In Experimental Philosophy of Identity and the Self. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 99-110.
    The burgeoning use of experimental methods to consider questions of human nature and personal identity has been a fruitful and exciting development, yielding significant and provocative results. This essay argues for the value of including reflection on the treatment of these topics in fictional narratives to complement and deepen results in experimental philosophy. Experimental vignettes are by necessity brief and schematic. This is part of what makes them so effective in the experimental context. The space afforded for detail, complexity, and (...)
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  • The Rational Dynamics of Implicit Thought.Brett Karlan - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Implicit attitudes are mental states posited by psychologists to explain behaviors including implicit racial and gender bias. In this paper I investigate the belief view of the implicit attitudes, on which implicit attitudes are a kind of implicit belief. In particular, I focus on why implicit attitudes, if they are beliefs, are often resistant to updating in light of new evidence. I argue that extant versions of the belief view do not give a satisfactory account of this phenomenon. This is (...)
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  • Me, My (Moral) Self, and I.Jim A. C. Everett, Joshua August Skorburg & Jordan Livingston - forthcoming - In Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott Armstrong (eds.), Neuroscience and Philosophy. pp. 111-138.
    In this chapter, we outline the interdisciplinary contributions that philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience have provided in the understanding of the self and identity, focusing on one specific line of burgeoning research: the importance of morality to perceptions of self and identity. Of course, this rather limited focus will exclude much of what psychologists and neuroscientists take to be important to the study of self and identity (that plethora of self-hyphenated terms seen in psychology and neuroscience: self-regulation, self-esteem, self-knowledge, self-concept, self-perception, (...)
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  • Personal Identity and Dual Character Concepts.Joshua Knobe - forthcoming - In Kevin Tobia (ed.), Experimental Philosophy of Identity and the Self. Bloomsbury.
  • The True Self: A Psychological Concept Distinct From the Self.Nina Strohminger, Joshua Knobe & George Newman - forthcoming - Perspectives on Psychological Science.
    A long tradition of psychological research has explored the distinction between characteristics that are part of the self and those that lie outside of it. Recently, a surge of research has begun examining a further distinction. Even among characteristics that are internal to the self, people pick out a subset as belonging to the true self. These factors are judged as making people who they really are, deep down. In this paper, we introduce the concept of the true self and (...)
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