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Eric Mandelbaum
CUNY Graduate Center
  1. Troubles with Bayesianism: An Introduction to the Psychological Immune System.Eric Mandelbaum - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    A Bayesian mind is, at its core, a rational mind. Bayesianism is thus well-suited to predict and explain mental processes that best exemplify our ability to be rational. However, evidence from belief acquisition and change appears to show that we do not acquire and update information in a Bayesian way. Instead, the principles of belief acquisition and updating seem grounded in maintaining a psychological immune system rather than in approximating a Bayesian processor.
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  2. Attitude, Inference, Association: On the Propositional Structure of Implicit Bias.Eric Mandelbaum - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):629-658.
    The overwhelming majority of those who theorize about implicit biases posit that these biases are caused by some sort of association. However, what exactly this claim amounts to is rarely specified. In this paper, I distinguish between different understandings of association, and I argue that the crucial senses of association for elucidating implicit bias are the cognitive structure and mental process senses. A hypothesis is subsequently derived: if associations really underpin implicit biases, then implicit biases should be modulated by counterconditioning (...)
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  3. Thinking is Believing.Eric Mandelbaum - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (1):55-96.
  4. Against Alief.Eric Mandelbaum - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):197-211.
    This essay attempts to clarify the nature and structure of aliefs. First I distinguish between a robust notion of aliefs and a deflated one. A robust notion of aliefs would introduce aliefs into our psychological ontology as a hitherto undiscovered kind, whereas a deflated notion of aliefs would identify aliefs as a set of pre-existing psychological states. I then propose the following dilemma: one the one hand, if aliefs have propositional content, then it is unclear exactly how aliefs differ from (...)
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    Inferential Transitions.Jake Quilty-Dunn & Eric Mandelbaum - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):532-547.
    ABSTRACTThis paper provides a naturalistic account of inference. We posit that the core of inference is constituted by bare inferential transitions, transitions between discursive mental representations guided by rules built into the architecture of cognitive systems. In further developing the concept of BITs, we provide an account of what Boghossian [2014] calls ‘taking’—that is, the appreciation of the rule that guides an inferential transition. We argue that BITs are sufficient for implicit taking, and then, to analyse explicit taking, we posit (...)
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  6. Seeing and Conceptualizing: Modularity and the Shallow Contents of Perception.Eric Mandelbaum - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):267-283.
    After presenting evidence about categorization behavior, this paper argues for the following theses: 1) that there is a border between perception and cognition; 2) that the border is to be characterized by perception being modular (and cognition not being so); 3) that perception outputs conceptualized representations, so views that posit that the output of perception is solely non-conceptual are false; and 4) that perceptual content consists of basic-level categories and not richer contents.
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  7. Explaining the Abstract/Concrete Paradoxes in Moral Psychology: The NBAR Hypothesis.Eric Mandelbaum & David Ripley - 2012 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):351-368.
    For some reason, participants hold agents more responsible for their actions when a situation is described concretely than when the situation is described abstractly. We present examples of this phenomenon, and survey some attempts to explain it. We divide these attempts into two classes: affective theories and cognitive theories. After criticizing both types of theories we advance our novel hypothesis: that people believe that whenever a norm is violated, someone is responsible for it. This belief, along with the familiar workings (...)
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  8. Against Dispositionalism: Belief in Cognitive Science.Jake Quilty-Dunn & Eric Mandelbaum - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2353-2372.
    Dispositionalism about belief has had a recent resurgence. In this paper we critically evaluate a popular dispositionalist program pursued by Eric Schwitzgebel. Then we present an alternative: a psychofunctional, representational theory of belief. This theory of belief has two main pillars: that beliefs are relations to structured mental representations, and that the relations are determined by the generalizations under which beliefs are acquired, stored, and changed. We end by describing some of the generalizations regarding belief acquisition, storage, and change.
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  9. Responsibility and the Brain Sciences.Felipe De Brigard, Eric Mandelbaum & David Ripley - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):511-524.
    Some theorists think that the more we get to know about the neural underpinnings of our behaviors, the less likely we will be to hold people responsible for their actions. This intuition has driven some to suspect that as neuroscience gains insight into the neurological causes of our actions, people will cease to view others as morally responsible for their actions, thus creating a troubling quandary for our legal system. This paper provides empirical evidence against such intuitions. Particularly, our studies (...)
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  10. Believing Without Reason, Or: Why Liberals Shouldn't Watch Fox News.Eric Mandelbaum & Jake Quilty-Dunn - 2015 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 22:42-52.
  11. The Automatic and the Ballistic: Modularity Beyond Perceptual Processes.Eric Mandelbaum - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1147-1156.
    Perceptual processes, in particular modular processes, have long been understood as being mandatory. But exactly what mandatoriness amounts to is left to intuition. This paper identifies a crucial ambiguity in the notion of mandatoriness. Discussions of mandatory processes have run together notions of automaticity and ballisticity. Teasing apart these notions creates an important tool for the modularist's toolbox. Different putatively modular processes appear to differ in their kinds of mandatoriness. Separating out the automatic from the ballistic can help the modularist (...)
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  12. Numerical Architecture.Eric Mandelbaum - 2013 - Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (1):367-386.
    The idea that there is a “Number Sense” (Dehaene, 1997) or “Core Knowledge” of number ensconced in a modular processing system (Carey, 2009) has gained popularity as the study of numerical cognition has matured. However, these claims are generally made with little, if any, detailed examination of which modular properties are instantiated in numerical processing. In this article, I aim to rectify this situation by detailing the modular properties on display in numerical cognitive processing. In the process, I review literature (...)
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  13.  32
    Poetic Opacity: How to Paint Things with Words.Jesse J. Prinz & Eric Mandelbaum - 2015 - In John Gibson (ed.), The Philosophy of Poetry. Oxford University Press. pp. 63-87.
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  14. Locke's Answer to Molyneux's Thought Experiment.Mike Bruno & Eric Mandelbaum - 2010 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (2):165-80.
    Philosophical discussions of Molyneux's problem within contemporary philosophy of mind tend to characterize the problem as primarily concerned with the role innately known principles, amodal spatial concepts, and rational cognitive faculties play in our perceptual lives. Indeed, for broadly similar reasons, rationalists have generally advocated an affirmative answer, while empiricists have generally advocated a negative one, to the question Molyneux posed after presenting his famous thought experiment. This historical characterization of the dialectic, however, somewhat obscures the role Molyneux's problem has (...)
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    The Powers That Bind : Doxastic Voluntarism and Epistemic Obligation.Neil Levy & Eric Mandelbaum - 2014 - In Jonathan Matheson (ed.), The Ethics of Belief. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 12-33.
    In this chapter, we argue for three theses: (1) we lack the power to form beliefs at will (i.e., directly); at very least, we lack the power to form at will beliefs of the kind that proponents of doxastic voluntarism have in mind; but (2) we possess a propensity to form beliefs for non-epistemic reasons; and (3) these propensities—once we come to know we have them—entail that we have obligations similar to those we would have were doxastic voluntarism true. Specifically, (...)
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    Associationist Theories of Thought.Eric Mandelbaum - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  17.  25
    Expectations and Morality: A Dilemma.Eric Mandelbaum & David Ripley - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):346-346.
    We propose Knobe's explanation of his cases encounters a dilemma: Either his explanation works and, counterintuitively, morality is not at the heart of these effects; or morality is at the heart of the effects and Knobe's explanation does not succeed. This dilemma is then used to temper the use of the Knobe paradigm for discovering moral norms.
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    What is the Narrow Content of Fence (and Other Definitionally and Interpretationally Primitive Concepts)?Eric Mandelbaum - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):138-138.
    It's unclear what narrow content is interpersonally shared for concepts that don't originate from core cognition yet are still definitionally and interpretationally primitive. A primary concern is that for these concepts, one cannot draw a principled distinction between inferences that are content determining and those that aren't. The lack of a principled distinction imperils an account of interpersonally shared concepts.
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    The Architecture of Belief: An Essay on the Unbearable Automaticity of Believing.Eric Mandelbaum - 2010 - Dissertation, UNC-Chapel Hill
    People cannot contemplate a proposition without believing that proposition. A model of belief fixation is sketched and used to explain hitherto disparate, recalcitrant, and somewhat mysterious psychological phenomena and philosophical paradoxes. Toward this end I also contend that our intuitive understanding of the workings of introspection is mistaken. In particular, I argue that propositional attitudes are beyond the grasp of our introspective capacities. We learn about our beliefs from observing our behavior, not from introspecting our stock beliefs. -/- The model (...)
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