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Tamler Sommers
University of Houston
  1. Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe, Wesley Buckwalter, Shaun Nichols, Philip Robbins, Hagop Sarkissian & Tamler Sommers - 2012 - Annual Review of Psychology 63 (1):81-99.
    Experimental philosophy is a new interdisciplinary field that uses methods normally associated with psychology to investigate questions normally associated with philosophy. The present review focuses on research in experimental philosophy on four central questions. First, why is it that people's moral judgments appear to influence their intuitions about seemingly nonmoral questions? Second, do people think that moral questions have objective answers, or do they see morality as fundamentally relative? Third, do people believe in free will, and do they see free (...)
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  2. The Objective Attitude.Tamler Sommers - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):321–341.
    I aim to alleviate the pessimism with which some philosophers regard the 'objective attitude', thereby removing a particular obstacle which P.F. Strawson and others have placed in the way of more widespread scepticism about moral responsibility. First, I describe what I consider the objective attitude to be, and then address concerns about this raised by Susan Wolf. Next, I argue that aspects of certain attitudes commonly thought to be opposed to the objective attitude are in fact compatible with it. Finally, (...)
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  3. Experimental Philosophy and Free Will.Tamler Sommers - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (2):199-212.
    This paper develops a sympathetic critique of recent experimental work on free will and moral responsibility. Section 1 offers a brief defense of the relevance of experimental philosophy to the free will debate. Section 2 reviews a series of articles in the experimental literature that probe intuitions about the "compatibility question"—whether we can be free and morally responsible if determinism is true. Section 3 argues that these studies have produced valuable insights on the factors that influence our judgments on the (...)
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  4.  89
    Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - Princeton University Press.
    [Publisher's description:] When can we be morally responsible for our behavior? Is it fair to blame people for actions that are determined by heredity and environment? Can we be responsible for the actions of relatives or members of our community? In this provocative book, Tamler Sommers concludes that there are no objectively correct answers to these questions. Drawing on research in anthropology, psychology, and a host of other disciplines, Sommers argues that cross-cultural variation raises serious problems for theories that propose (...)
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  5. More Work for Hard Incompatibilism.Tamler Sommers - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):511-521.
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  6. The Two Faces of Revenge: Moral Responsibility and the Culture of Honor.Tamler Sommers - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (1):35-50.
    Retributive emotions and behavior are thought to be adaptive for their role in improving social coordination. However, since retaliation is generally not in the short-term interests of the individual, rational self-interest erodes the motivational link between retributive emotions and the accompanying adaptive behavior. I argue that two different sets of norms have emerged to reinforce this link: (1) norms about honor and (2) norms about moral responsibility and desert. I observe that the primary difference between these types of retribution motivators (...)
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  7. Darwin's Nihilistic Idea: Evolution and the Meaninglessness of Life. [REVIEW]Tamler Sommers & Alex Rosenberg - 2003 - Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):653-668.
    No one has expressed the destructive power of Darwinian theory more effectively than Daniel Dennett. Others have recognized that the theory of evolution offers us a universal acid, but Dennett, bless his heart, coined the term. Many have appreciated that the mechanism of random variation and natural selection is a substrate-neutral algorithm that operates at every level of organization from the macromolecular to the mental, at every time scale from the geological epoch to the nanosecond. But it took Dennett to (...)
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  8. The Illusion of Freedom Evolves.Tamler Sommers - 2007 - In Don Ross, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid & G. Lynn Stephens (eds.), Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual volition and social context. MIT Press. pp. 61.
    1. “All Theory is Against Free Will…” Powerful arguments have been leveled against the concepts of free will and moral responsibility since the Greeks and perhaps earlier. Some—the hard determinists—aim to show that free will is incompatible with determinism, and that determinism is true. Therefore there is no free will. Others, the “no-free-will-either-way-theorists,” agree that determinism is incompatible with free will, but add that indeterminism, especially the variety posited by quantum physicists, is also incompatible with free will. Therefore there is (...)
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  9. Partial Desert.Tamler Sommers - forthcoming - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
    Theories of moral desert focus only on the personal culpability of the agent to determine the amount of blame and punishment the agent deserves. I defend an alternative account of desert, one that does not focus only facts about offenders and their offenses. In this revised framework, personal culpability can do no more than set upper and lower limits for deserved blame and punishment. For more precise judgments within that spectrum, additional factors must be considered, factors that are independent of (...)
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  10. In Memoriam: The X Phi Debate.Tamler Sommers - 2011 - The Philosophers' Magazine (52):89-93.
    Experimental philosophy has received a great deal of attention in scholarly journals and the popular media. Often the topic of these articles is precisely what I claim is a non-issue – the value of experimental philosophy as a movement. And here I am writing about this same topic yet again. But I am not going to provide another argument for an obvious position. Instead, I’m writing this as an obituary – an obituary for the so-called controversy about experimental philosophy, and (...)
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  11.  97
    Free Will and Experimental Philosophy: An Intervetion.Tamler Sommers - manuscript
  12. Darrow and Determinism: Giving Up Ultimate Responsibility.Tamler Sommers - manuscript
    This year marks the 80 th anniversary of Clarence Darrow’s brilliant and passionate defense of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two wealthy teenagers who pled guilty to the kidnapping and murder of 14 year old Bobby Franks. On August 22, 1924 Darrow gave his famous twelve hour closing statement, bringing tears to the eyes of the presiding judge and saving his clients from the death penalty. Here are two excerpts from the summation.
     
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  13. A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain.Tamler Sommers - 2009 - Routledge.
    In the first edition of A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain – Nine Conversations, philosopher Tamler Sommers talked with an interdisciplinary group of the world’s leading researchers—from the fields of social psychology, moral philosophy, cognitive science, and primatology—all working on the same issue: the origins and workings of morality. Together, these nine interviews pulled back some of the curtain, not only on our moral lives but—through Sommers’ probing, entertaining, and well informed questions—on the way morality traditionally has been (...)
     
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  14.  71
    Of Zombies, Color Scientists, and Floating Iron Bars.Tamler Sommers - 2002 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 8.
    In this paper I challenge the core of David Chalmers' argument against materialism-the claim that "there is a logically possible world physically identical to ours, in which the positive facts about consciousness do not hold." First, I analyze the move from conceivability to logical possibility. Following George Seddon, I consider the case of a floating iron bar and argue that even this seemingly conceivable event has implicit logical contradictions in its description. I then show that the distinctions Chalmers employs between (...)
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  15.  2
    Negotiating Responsibility.Tamler Sommers - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
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  16.  23
    The Three Rs: Retribution, Revenge, and Reparation.Tamler Sommers - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-16.
    Nearly all retributive theories of punishment adopt the following model. Punishments are justified when the wrongdoers receive the punishment they deserve. A deserved punishment is one that is proportionate to the offender’s culpability. Culpability has two components: the severity of the wrong, and the offender’s blameworthiness. The broader aim of this article is to outline an alternative retributivist model that directly involves the victim in the determination of the appropriate and just punishment. The narrower aim is to show that the (...)
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  17.  39
    Required Reading.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - The Philosophers' Magazine 57 (57):105-108.
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  18.  6
    Freedom Regained. [REVIEW]Tamler Sommers - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 73:110-111.
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  19. The Intellectually Modest Criminal.Tamler Sommers - unknown
    Michael Smith’s The Moral Problem gives an admirably straightforward condition for moral rightness: an act is morally right in circumstance C only if under conditions of full rationality we would all want to perform that act. I will assume that this condition, if met, would make acts objectively right and therefore vindicate a robust form of metaethical realism. There remains the question, however, of whether this condition can be met. Smith considers several arguments that it cannot, and this paper will (...)
     
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  20.  6
    Restorative Justice.Tamler Sommers - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 72:103-104.
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  21.  16
    Yuck: The Nature and Moral Significance of Disgust. By Daniel Kelly. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011. Pp. 208pp. Price $30.00/£20.95). [REVIEW]Tamler Sommers - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250):172-174.
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  22.  6
    Chapter One. The Appeal to Intuition.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 9-32.
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  23.  2
    Required Reading.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - The Philosophers' Magazine 57:105-108.
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  24.  3
    Chapter Seven. A Very Tentative Metaskeptical Endorsement of Eliminativism About Moral Responsibility.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 173-202.
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  25.  3
    Chapter Three. Shame Cultures, Collectivist Societies, Original Sin, And Pharaoh’s Hardened Heart.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 63-83.
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  26.  2
    Chapter Five. Where Do We Go From Here?Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 111-132.
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  27.  2
    Chapter Two. Moral Responsibility and the Culture of Honor.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 33-62.
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  28.  1
    Acknowledgments.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press.
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  29.  1
    Chapter Four. Can the Variation Be Explained Away?Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 84-108.
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  30.  1
    Notes.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 203-212.
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  31.  1
    Introduction.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 1-6.
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  32. Bibliography.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 213-222.
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  33. Contents.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press.
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  34. Chapter Six. A Metaskeptical Analysis of Libertarianism and Compatibilism.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 133-172.
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  35. Index.Tamler Sommers - 2012 - In Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. pp. 223-230.
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  36. In Memoriam: The X-Phi Debate.Tamler Sommers - 2011 - The Philosophers' Magazine 52:89-93.
    Experimental philosophy has received a great deal of attention in scholarly journals and the popular media. Often the topic of these articles is precisely what I claim is a non-issue – the value of experimental philosophy as a movement. And here I am writing about this same topic yet again. But I am not going to provide another argument for an obvious position. Instead, I’m writing this as an obituary – an obituary for the so-called controversy about experimental philosophy, and (...)
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  37. More Work for Hard Incompatibilism.Tamler Sommers - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):511-521.
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  38. Very Bad Wizards.Tamler Sommers - 2017 - The Philosophers' Magazine 79:119-120.
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  39. Yuck: The Nature and Moral Significance of Disgust. By Daniel Kelly.Tamler Sommers - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250):172-174.
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