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Ben Phillips [11]Benjamin Phillips [1]
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Ben Phillips
Arizona State University
  1. “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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  2. The Shifting Border Between Perception and Cognition.Ben Phillips - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):316-346.
    The distinction between perception and cognition has always had a firm footing in both cognitive science and folk psychology. However, there is little agreement as to how the distinction should be drawn. In fact, a number of theorists have recently argued that, given the ubiquity of top-down influences, we should jettison the distinction altogether. I reject this approach, and defend a pluralist account of the distinction. At the heart of my account is the claim that each legitimate way of marking (...)
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  3. The Roots of Racial Categorization.Ben Phillips - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (1):151-175.
    I examine the origins of ordinary racial thinking. In doing so, I argue against the thesis that it is the byproduct of a unique module. Instead, I defend a pluralistic thesis according to which different forms of racial thinking are driven by distinct mechanisms, each with their own etiology. I begin with the belief that visible features are diagnostic of race. I argue that the mechanisms responsible for face recognition have an important, albeit delimited, role to play in sustaining this (...)
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  4. Entitativity and Implicit Measures of Social Cognition.Ben Phillips - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    I argue that in addressing worries about the validity and reliability of implicit measures of social cognition, theorists should draw on research concerning “entitativity perception.” In brief, an aggregate of people is perceived as highly “entitative” when its members exhibit a certain sort of unity. For example, think of the difference between the aggregate of people waiting in line at a bank versus a tight-knit group of friends: the latter seems more “groupy” than the former. I start by arguing that (...)
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  5. Seeing Seeing.Ben Phillips - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1):24-43.
    I argue that we can visually perceive others as seeing agents. I start by characterizing perceptual processes as those that are causally controlled by proximal stimuli. I then distinguish between various forms of visual perspective-taking, before presenting evidence that most of them come in perceptual varieties. In doing so, I clarify and defend the view that some forms of visual perspective-taking are “automatic”—a view that has been marshalled in support of dual-process accounts of mindreading.
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    Contextualism About Object-Seeing.Ben Phillips - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2377-2396.
    When is seeing part of an object enough to qualify as seeing the object itself? For instance, is seeing a cat’s tail enough to qualify as seeing the cat itself? I argue that whether a subject qualifies as seeing a given object varies with the context of the ascriber. Having made an initial case for the context-sensitivity of object-seeing, I then address the contention that it is merely a feature of the ordinary notion. I argue that the notions of object-seeing (...)
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  7. The Evolution and Development of Visual Perspective Taking.Ben Phillips - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (2):183-204.
    I outline three conceptions of seeing that a creature might possess: ‘the headlamp conception,’ which involves an understanding of the causal connections between gazing at an object, certain mental states, and behavior; ‘the stage lights conception,’ which involves an understanding of the selective nature of visual attention; and seeing-as. I argue that infants and various nonhumans possess the headlamp conception. There is also evidence that chimpanzees and 3-year-old children have some grasp of seeing-as. However, due to a dearth of studies, (...)
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  8. Indirect Representation and the Self-Representational Theory of Consciousness.Ben Phillips - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):273-290.
    According to Uriah Kriegel’s self-representational theory of consciousness, mental state M is conscious just in case it is a complex with suitably integrated proper parts, M 1 and M 2, such that M 1 is a higher-order representation of lower-order representation M 2. Kriegel claims that M thereby “indirectly” represents itself, and he attempts to motivate this claim by appealing to what he regards as intuitive cases of indirect perceptual and pictorial representation. For example, Kriegel claims that it’s natural to (...)
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    Shared Intentionality and the Representation of Groups; or, How to Build a Socially Adept Robot.Ben Phillips - forthcoming - Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
    Pietraszewski provides a compelling case that representations of certain interaction- types are the “cognitive primitives” that allow all tokens of group-in-conflict to be represented within the mind. Here, I argue that the folk concept GROUP encodes shared intentions and goals as more central than these interaction-types, and that providing a computational theory of social groups will be more difficult than Pietraszewski envisages.
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  10. Modified Occam’s Razor.Ben Phillips - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2):371-382.
    According to the principle Grice calls 'Modified Occam's Razor' (MOR), 'Senses are not to be multiplied beyond necessity'. More carefully, MOR says that if there are distinct ways in which an expression is regularly used, then, all other things being equal, we should favour the view that the expression is unambiguous and that certain uses of it can be explained in pragmatic terms. In this paper I argue that MOR cannot have the central role that is typically assigned to it (...)
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    Inscrutability and Visual Objects.Ben Phillips - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):2949-2971.
    The thesis that the visual system represents objects has garnered empirical support from a variety of sources in recent decades. But what kinds of things qualify as “objects” in the relevant sense? Are they ordinary three-dimensional bodies? Are they the facing surfaces of three-dimensional bodies? I argue that there is no fact of the matter: what we have are equally acceptable ways of assigning extensions to the relevant visual states. The view I defend bears obvious similarities to Quine’s thesis that (...)
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