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Jesse S. Summers
Duke University
  1.  34
    Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: Some Benefits of Rationalization.Jesse S. Summers - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup1):21-36.
    Research suggests that the explicit reasoning we offer to ourselves and to others is often rationalization, that we act instead on instincts, inclinations, stereotypes, emotions, neurobiology, habits, reactions, evolutionary pressures, unexamined principles, or justifications other than the ones we think we’re acting on, then we tell a post hoc story to justify our actions. I consider two benefits of rationalization, once we realize that rationalization is sincere. It allows us to work out, under practical pressure of rational consistency, which are (...)
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  2.  75
    Rationalizing Our Way Into Moral Progress.Jesse S. Summers - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (5):1-12.
    Research suggests that the explicit reasoning we offer to ourselves and to others is often rationalization, that we act instead on instincts, inclinations, stereotypes, emotions, neurobiology, habits, reactions, evolutionary pressures, unexamined principles, or justifications other than the ones we think we’re acting on, then we tell a post hoc story to justify our actions. This is troubling for views of moral progress according to which moral progress proceeds from our engagement with our own and others’ reasons. I consider an account (...)
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  3.  59
    Scrupulous Agents.Jesse S. Summers & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (7):947-966.
    Scrupulosity raises fascinating issues about the nature of moral judgment and about moral responsibility. After defining scrupulosity, describing its common features, and discussing concrete case studies, we discuss three peculiar aspects of moral judgments made by scrupulous patients: perfectionism, intolerance of uncertainty, and moral thought-action fusion. We then consider whether mesh and reasons-responsiveness accounts of responsibility explain whether the scrupulous are morally responsible.
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  4.  44
    What is Wrong with Addiction.Jesse S. Summers - 2015 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 22 (1):25-40.
    The question ‘ What is addiction?’ seems to ask for a clinical or biological answer. The research on addiction has progressed much faster in biology and neuroscience than our philosophical understanding of that research.1 Therefore, it can be tempting to look to the relevant psychology or neuroscience to answer our philosophical questions, which ends up treating addiction entirely as a psychological or neurological matter. However, many of our questions about addiction are not fundamentally biological or neurological questions. Here, I suggest (...)
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  5.  24
    Explaining Irrational Actions.Jesse S. Summers - 2017 - Ideas Y Valores 66 (S3):81-96.
    We sometimes want to understand irrational action, or actions a person undertakes given that their acting that way conflicts with their beliefs, their desires, or their goals. What is puzzling about all explanations of such irrational actions is this: if we explain the action by offering the agent’s reasons for the action, the action no longer seems irrational, but only a bad decision. If we explain the action mechanistically, without offering the agent’s reasons for it, then the explanation fails to (...)
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  6.  30
    Addiction by Any Other Name.Jesse S. Summers - 2015 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 22 (1):49-51.
    Why characterize addiction at all? George Graham reasonably points out that a good understanding of addiction should exchange “surface resemblances…[for] real facts about explanatory forces”. Understanding causes and cures of addiction will indeed help addicts’ lives more than the best characterization could. But we should beware the false dichotomy. Determining “real facts about explanatory forces” is valuable, and so is characterizing “surface resemblances.”Philosophers’ déformation professionnelle often inclines us to look for essential features of natural phenomena, leading to broad definitions that (...)
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  7.  4
    Clean Hands: Philosophical Lessons From Scrupulosity.Jesse S. Summers & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2019 - Oup Usa.
    People with Scrupulosity have rigorous, obsessive moral beliefs that lead to extreme and compulsive moral acts. These fascinating outliers raise profound questions about human nature, mental illness, moral belief, responsibility, and psychiatric treatment. Clean Hands? Uses a range of case studies to examine this condition and its philosophical implications.
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