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  1. The True Self as Essentially Morally Good: An Obstacle to Virtue Development?Matt Stichter - 2022 - Journal of Moral Education 51 (2):261-275.
    Psychological research has revealed that there is a strong tendency for people to believe that they have a ‘true self’, and to believe that this true self is inherently morally good. This would seemingly be very good news for virtue theorists, since this may help to promote virtue development. While there are some obvious benefits to people having morality intrinsically tied to their sense of self, in this paper I want to suggest instead that there may also be some significant (...)
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  • Memory Modification and Authenticity: A Narrative Approach.Muriel Leuenberger - 2022 - Neuroethics 15 (1):1-19.
    The potential of memory modification techniques has raised concerns and sparked a debate in neuroethics, particularly in the context of identity and authenticity. This paper addresses the question whether and how MMTs influence authenticity. I proceed by drawing two distinctions within the received views on authenticity. From this, I conclude that an analysis of MMTs based on a dual-basis, process view of authenticity is warranted, which implies that the influence of MMTs on authenticity crucially depends on the specifics of how (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Cognitive Enhancement and Authenticity: Moving Beyond the Impasse.Emma C. Gordon - 2022 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25 (2):281-288.
    In work on the ethics of cognitive enhancement use, there is a pervasive concern that such enhancement will—in some way—make us less authentic. Attempts to clarify what this concern amounts to and how to respond to it often lead to debates on the nature of the “true self” and what constitutes “genuine human activity”. This paper shows that a new and effective way to make progress on whether certain cases of cognitive enhancement problematically undermine authenticity is to make use of (...)
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  • 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.
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  • What Matters in Psychological Continuity? Using Meditative Traditions to Identify Biases in Intuitions About Personal Persistence.Preston Greene & Meghan Sullivan - forthcoming - In Kevin Tobia (ed.), Experimental Philosophy of Identity and the Self. London:
  • 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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  • “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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  • Autonomy, Rationality, and Contemporary Bioethics.Jonathan Pugh - 2020 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Personal autonomy is often lauded as a key value in contemporary Western bioethics. Though the claim that there is an important relationship between autonomy and rationality is often treated as uncontroversial in this sphere, there is also considerable disagreement about how we should cash out the relationship. In particular, it is unclear whether a rationalist view of autonomy can be compatible with legal judgments that enshrine a patient's right to refuse medical treatment, regardless of whether the reasons underpinning the choice (...)
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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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  • Natural Belief in Persistent Selves.Mark Collier - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34 (8):1146–1166.
    In “Of Personal Identity”, Hume attempts to understand why we ordinarily believe in persistent selves. He proposes that this ontological commitment depends on illusions and fictions: the imagination tricks us into supposing that an unchanging core self remains static through the flux and change of experience. Recent work in cognitive science provides a good deal of support for Hume’s hypothesis that common beliefs about the self are founded on psychological biases rather than rational insight or evidence. We naturally believe in (...)
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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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  • Corporate Insecthood.Nina Strohminger & Matthew R. Jordan - 2022 - Cognition 224:105068.
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  • Deciding to Be Authentic: Intuition is Favored Over Deliberation When Authenticity Matters.Kerem Oktar & Tania Lombrozo - 2022 - Cognition 223:105021.
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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.
  • Clarifying the Normative Significance of ‘Personality Changes’ Following Deep Brain Stimulation.Jonathan Pugh - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (3):1655-1680.
    There is evidence to suggest that some patients who undergo Deep Brain Stimulation can experience changes to dispositional, emotional and behavioural states that play a central role in conceptions of personality, identity, autonomy, authenticity, agency and/or self. For example, some patients undergoing DBS for Parkinson’s Disease have developed hypersexuality, and some have reported increased apathy. Moreover, experimental psychiatric applications of DBS may intentionally seek to elicit changes to the patient’s dispositional, emotional and behavioural states, in so far as dysfunctions in (...)
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  • The Rationally Supererogatory.Claire Benn & Adam Bales - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):917-938.
    The notion of supererogation—going above and beyond the call of duty—is typically discussed in a moral context. However, in this paper we argue for the existence of rationally supererogatory actions: that is, actions that go above and beyond the call of rational duty. In order to establish the existence of such actions, we first need to overcome the so-called paradox of supererogation: we need to provide some explanation for why, if some act is rationally optimal, it is not the case (...)
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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.
  • What is the Point of Being Your True Self? A Genealogy of Essentialist Authenticity.Muriel Leuenberger - 2021 - Philosophy 96 (377):409-431.
    This paper presents a functional genealogy of essentialist authenticity. The essentialist account maintains that authenticity is the result of discovering and realizing one’s ‘true self’. The genealogy shows that essentialist authenticity can serve the function of supporting continuity in one’s individual characteristics. A genealogy of essentialist authenticity is not only methodologically interesting as the first functional genealogy of a contingent concept. It can also deepen the functional understanding of authenticity used in neuroethics, provide a possible explanation for the prevalence of (...)
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  • “It Was All a Cruel Angel’s Thesis From the Start”: Folk Intuitions About Zygote Cases Do Not Support the Zygote Argument.Florian Cova - forthcoming - In Thomas Nadelhoffer & Andrew Monroe (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Free Will and Responsibility. Bloomsbury.
    Manipulation arguments that start from the intuition that manipulated agents are neither free nor morally responsible then conclude to that free will and moral responsibility are incompatible with determinism. The Zygote argument is a special case of Manipulation argument in which the manipulation intervenes at the very conception of the agent. In this paper, I argue that the Zygote argument fails because (i) very few people share the basic intuitions the argument rests on, and (ii) even those who share this (...)
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  • Morality Justifies Motivated Reasoning in the Folk Ethics of Belief.Corey Cusimano & Tania Lombrozo - forthcoming - Cognition:104513.
    When faced with a dilemma between believing what is supported by an impartial assessment of the evidence (e.g., that one's friend is guilty of a crime) and believing what would better fulfill a moral obligation (e.g., that the friend is innocent), people often believe in line with the latter. But is this how people think beliefs ought to be formed? We addressed this question across three studies and found that, across a diverse set of everyday situations, people treat moral considerations (...)
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  • I’M Not the Person I Used to Be: The Self and Autobiographical Memories of Immoral Actions.Matthew L. Stanley, Paul Henne, Vijeth Iyengar, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Felipe De Brigard - 2017 - Journal of Experimental Psychology. General 146 (6):884-895.
    People maintain a positive identity in at least two ways: They evaluate themselves more favorably than other people, and they judge themselves to be better now than they were in the past. Both strategies rely on autobiographical memories. The authors investigate the role of autobiographical memories of lying and emotional harm in maintaining a positive identity. For memories of lying to or emotionally harming others, participants judge their own actions as less morally wrong and less negative than those in which (...)
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  • Origins of the Belief in Good True Selves.Julian De Freitas, Mina Cikara, Igor Grossmann & Rebecca Schlegel - 2017 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 21 (9):634-636.
  • 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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  • The Ordinary Concept of True Love.Brian Earp, Daniel Do & Joshua Knobe - forthcoming - In Christopher Grau & Aaron Smuts (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Love. Oxford University Press.
    When we say that what two people feel for each other is 'true love,' we seem to be doing more than simply clarifying that it is in fact love they feel, as opposed to something else. That is, an experience or relationship might be a genuine or actual instance of love without necessarily being an instance of true love. But what criteria do people use to determine whether something counts as true love? This chapter explores three hypotheses. The first holds (...)
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  • The Moral Self and Moral Duties.Jim A. C. Everett, Joshua August Skorburg & Julian Savulescu - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology (7):1-22.
    Recent research has begun treating the perennial philosophical question, “what makes a person the same over time?” as an empirical question. A long tradition in philosophy holds that psychological continuity and connectedness of memories are at the heart of personal identity. More recent experimental work, following Strohminger & Nichols (2014), has suggested that persistence of moral character, more than memories, is perceived as essential for personal identity. While there is a growing body of evidence supporting these findings, a critique by (...)
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  • Resolutions, Salient Reasons, and Weakness of Will.Christa M. Johnson - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5115-5138.
    Traditionally, weakness of will has been identified with an agent acting contrary to her better judgment, or akrasia. Recent empirical findings, however, have led many to conclude that the folk concept of WOW is not amenable to necessary and sufficient conditions. To this end, it has been argued that WOW attributions point to a cluster concept :341–360, 2012), a disjunctive account of WOW as either judgment or resolution violation :391–404, 2010), and a two-tiered account including both failures to adhere to (...)
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  • On the Matter of Essence.Iris Berent - forthcoming - Cognition:104701.
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  • The True Self. Critique, Nature, and Method.Terje Sparby, Friedrich Edelhäuser & Ulrich W. Weger - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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  • Are Future Selves Treated Like Others? Comparing Determinants and Levels of Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Allocations.Sarah Molouki & Daniel M. Bartels - 2020 - Cognition 196:104150.
  • Remembering Moral and Immoral Actions in Constructing the Self.Matthew L. Stanley, Paul Henne & Felipe De Brigard - forthcoming - Memory and Cognition.
    Having positive moral traits is central to one’s sense of self, and people generally are motivated to maintain a positive view of the self in the present. But it remains unclear how people foster a positive, morally good view of the self in the present. We suggest that recollecting and reflecting on moral and immoral actions from the personal past jointly help to construct a morally good view of the current self in complementary ways. More specifically, across four studies we (...)
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