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Thomas Pölzler
University of Graz
  1.  84
    Insufficient Effort Responding in Experimental Philosophy.Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - In Tania Lombrozo, Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Providing valid responses to a self-report survey requires cognitive effort. Subjects engaging in insufficient effort responding (IER) are unwilling to take this effort. Compared to psychologists, experimental philosophers so far seem to have paid less attention to IER. This paper is an attempt to begin to alleviate this shortcoming. First, I explain IER’s nature, prevalence and negative effects in self-report surveys in general. Second, I argue that IER might also affect experimental philosophy studies. Third, I develop recommendations as to how (...)
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  2.  33
    An Empirical Argument Against Moral Non-Cognitivism.Thomas Pölzler & Jen Wright - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    According to non-cognitivism, moral sentences and judgements do not aim to represent how things morally are. This paper presents an empirical argument against this view. We begin by showing that non-cognitivism entails the prediction that after some reflection competent ordinary speakers’ semantic intuitions favor that moral sentences and judgements do not aim to represent how things morally are. At first sight, this prediction may seem to have been confirmed by previous research on folk metaethics. However, a number of methodological worries (...)
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  3. Revisiting Folk Moral Realism.Thomas Pölzler - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2):455-476.
    Moral realists believe that there are objective moral truths. According to one of the most prominent arguments in favour of this view, ordinary people experience morality as realist-seeming, and we have therefore prima facie reason to believe that realism is true. Some proponents of this argument have claimed that the hypothesis that ordinary people experience morality as realist-seeming is supported by psychological research on folk metaethics. While most recent research has been thought to contradict this claim, four prominent earlier studies (...)
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  4. Absurdism as Self-Help: Resolving an Essential Inconsistency in Camus’ Early Philosophy.Thomas Pölzler - 2014 - Journal of Camus Studies 2014:91-102.
    Camus’ early philosophy has been subject to various kinds of criticism. In this paper I address a problem that has not been noticed so far, namely that it appears to be essentially inconsistent. On the one hand, Camus explicitly denies the existence of moral values, and construes his central notion of the absurd in a way that presupposes this denial. On the other hand, he is also committed to the existence of certain values. Both in his literary and philosophical works (...)
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  5. Moral Reality and the Empirical Sciences.Thomas Pölzler - 2018 - New York: Routledge.
    Are there objective moral truths, i.e. things that are morally right, wrong, good, or bad independently of what anybody thinks about them? To answer this question more and more scholars have recently turned to evidence from psychology, neuroscience, cultural anthropology, and evolutionary biology. This book investigates this novel scientific approach in a comprehensive, empirically-focused, and partly meta-theoretical way. It suggests that while it is possible for the empirical sciences to contribute to the moral realism/anti-realism debate, most arguments that have so (...)
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  6.  8
    X-Phi and Impartiality Thought Experiments: Investigating the Veil of Ignorance.Norbert Paulo & Thomas Pölzler - 2020 - Diametros 17 (64):72-89.
    This paper discusses “impartiality thought experiments”, i.e., thought experiments that attempt to generate intuitions which are unaffected by personal characteristics such as age, gender or race. We focus on the most prominent impartiality thought experiment, the Veil of Ignorance, and show that both in its original Rawlsian version and in a more generic version, empirical investigations can be normatively relevant in two ways: First, on the assumption that the VOI is effective and robust, if subjects dominantly favor a certain normative (...)
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  7. Empirical Research on Folk Moral Objectivism.Thomas Pölzler & Jennifer Cole Wright - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (5).
    Lay persons may have intuitions about morality's objectivity. What do these intuitions look like? And what are their causes and consequences? In recent years, an increasing number of scholars have begun to investigate these questions empirically. This article presents and assesses the resulting area of research as well as its potential philosophical implications. First, we introduce the methods of empirical research on folk moral objectivism. Second, we provide an overview of the findings that have so far been made. Third, we (...)
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  8. Moral Reality and the Empirical Sciences.Thomas Pölzler - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Graz
    Are there things that are objectively right, wrong, good, bad, etc.: moral properties that are had independently of what we ourselves, our culture, God or any other subjects think about them? Philosophers have traditionally addressed this question from the “armchair.” In recent years, however, more and more participants of the debate have begun to appeal to evidence from science as well. This thesis examines such novel approaches. In particular, it asks what the empirical sciences can contribute to the moral realism/anti-realism (...)
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  9. Camus’ Feeling of the Absurd.Thomas Pölzler - 2018 - Journal of Value Inquiry 52 (4):477-490.
    Albert Camus is most famous for his engagement with the absurd. Both in his philosophical and literary works his main focus was on the nature and normative consequences of this idea. However, Camus was also concerned with what he referred to as the “feeling of the absurd”. Philosophers have so far paid little attention to Camus’ thoughts about the feeling of the absurd. In this paper I provide a detailed analysis of this feeling. It turns out that the feeling of (...)
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  10.  95
    How to Measure Moral Realism.Thomas Pölzler - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (3):647-670.
    In recent years an increasing number of psychologists have begun to explore the prevalence, causes and effects of ordinary people’s intuitions about moral realism. Many of these studies have lacked in construct validity, i.e., they have failed to measure moral realism. My aim in this paper accordingly is to motivate and guide methodological improvements. In analysis of prominent existing measures, I develop general recommendations for overcoming ten prima facie serious worries about research on folk moral realism. G1 and G2 require (...)
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  11. Moral Judgments and Emotions: A Less Intimate Relationship Than Recently Claimed.Thomas Pölzler - 2015 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 35 (3):177-195.
    It has long been claimed that moral judgements are dominated by reason. In recent years, however, the tide has turned. Many psychologists and philosophers now hold the view that there is a close empirical association between moral judgements and emotions. In particular, they claim that emotions (1) co-occur with moral judgements, (2) causally influence moral judgements, (3) are causally sufficient for moral judgements, and (4) are causally necessary for moral judgements. At first sight these hypotheses seem well-supported. In this paper (...)
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  12.  10
    Anti-Realist Pluralism: a New Approach to Folk Metaethics.Thomas Pölzler & Jennifer Cole Wright - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (1):53-82.
    Many metaethicists agree that as ordinary people experience morality as a realm of objective truths, we have a prima facie reason to believe that it actually is such a realm. Recently, worries have been raised about the validity of the extant psychological research on this argument’s empirical hypothesis. Our aim is to advance this research, taking these worries into account. First, we propose a new experimental design for measuring folk intuitions about moral objectivity that may serve as an inspiration for (...)
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  13. Can the Empirical Sciences Contribute to the Moral Realism/Anti-Realism Debate?Thomas Pölzler - 2018 - Synthese 195 (11):4907-4930.
    An increasing number of moral realists and anti-realists have recently attempted to support their views by appeal to science. Arguments of this kind are typically criticized on the object-level. In addition, however, one occasionally also comes across a more sweeping metatheoretical skepticism. Scientific contributions to the question of the existence of objective moral truths, it is claimed, are impossible in principle; most prominently, because such arguments impermissibly derive normative from descriptive propositions, such arguments beg the question against non-naturalist moral realism, (...)
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  14. Wie Schlüssig Ist Albert Camus’ Frühe „Logik des Absurden“?Thomas Pölzler - 2016 - Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 41 (1):59-76.
    Im Roman „Der Fremde“, dem Drama „Caligula“ und insbesondere dem Essay „Der Mythos des Sisyphos“ entwickelt Albert Camus eine erste Fassung einer „Logik des Absurden“. Die menschliche Existenz sei geprägt durch ein Spannungsverhältnis zwischen unserem Streben nach Sinn und einer dieses Streben fortwährend enttäuschenden Welt. Auf die Erkenntnis dieser Tatsache darf man Camus zufolge weder mit Selbstmord noch mit dem Aufgeben des Strebens nach Sinn reagieren. Vielmehr fordert er eine Haltung der beständigen Auflehnung. In meinem Artikel gehe ich der Frage (...)
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  15. Are Moral Judgements Adaptations? Three Reasons Why It Is so Difficult to Tell.Thomas Pölzler - 2017 - South African Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):425-439.
    An increasing number of scholars argue that moral judgements are adaptations, i.e., that they have been shaped by natural selection. Is this hypothesis true? In this paper I shall not attempt to answer this important question. Rather, I pursue the more modest aim of pointing out three difficulties that anybody who sets out to determine the adaptedness of moral judgments should be aware of (though some so far have not been aware of). First, the hypothesis that moral judgements are adaptations (...)
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  16. Climate Change Inaction and Moral Nihilism.Thomas Pölzler - 2015 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 18 (2):202-214.
    The effects of anthropogenic climate change may be devastating. Nevertheless, most people do not seem to be seriously concerned. We consume as much as we always did, drive as much as we always did, eat as much meat as we always did. What can we do to overcome this collective apathy? In order to be able to develop effective measures, we must first get clear about the causes of climate change inaction. In this paper I ask whether moral nihilism is (...)
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  17. Camus' Early Logic of the Absurd.Thomas Pölzler - 2011 - Journal of Camus Studies 2011:98-117.
    Camus’ early “logic of the absurd” has been interpreted and assessed differently. In this article I do two things: First, I outline what I take to be the most adequate interpretation. Second, I discuss three challenges defenders of the “logic of the absurd” may be said to face (given that my interpretation in the first part is correct). My approach is rather unorthodox. Although Camus explicitly refused to be seen as a philosopher, and although if one sees him as a (...)
     
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  18.  42
    Open Borders and the Ideality of Approaches: An Analysis of Joseph Carens’ Critique of the Conventional View Regarding Immigration.Thomas Pölzler - 2019 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 15 (1):17-34.
    Do liberal states have a moral duty to admit immigrants? According to what has been called the “conventional view”, this question is to be answered in the negative. One of the most prominent critics of the conventional view is Joseph Carens. In the past 30 years Carens’ contributions to the open borders debate have gradually taken on a different complexion. This is explained by the varying “ideality” of his approaches. Sometimes Carens attempts to figure out what states would be obliged (...)
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  19. Further Problems with Projectivism.Thomas Pölzler - 2016 - South African Journal of Philosophy 35 (1):92-102.
    From David Hume onwards, many philosophers have argued that moral thinking is characterized by a tendency to “project” our own mental states onto the world. This metaphor of projection may be understood as involving two empirical claims: the claim that humans experience morality as a realm of objective facts (the experiential hypothesis), and the claim that this moral experience is immediately caused by affective attitudes (the causal hypothesis). Elsewhere I argued in detail against one form of the experiential hypothesis. My (...)
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  20.  96
    Unsere Verantwortung gegenüber Flüchtlingen.Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - In Lukas Meyer & Barbara Reiter (eds.), Wem gehört das Klima? Graz: Grazer Universitätsverlag.
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  21. Ethical but Upsetting Geoscience Research: A Case Study.Thomas Pölzler & Florian Ortner - 2017 - Annals of Geophysics 60 (7):1-6.
    Geoscience research may upset people even though it is ethically acceptable. In this paper we attempt to explore three questions about such research. It will turn out that (1) under most circumstances ethical but upsetting geoscience research is morally permissible, (2) revising this research in response to upset-induced external interference is morally impermissible in the absence of strong countervailing pragmatic reasons and attempts to reduce upset, and (3) potentially upsetting geoscience research ought to be communicated truthfully and tailored to each (...)
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  22. How Does Moral Nihilism Affect Our Taking Action Against Climate Change?Thomas Pölzler - 2013 - Proceedings of the 13. International Conference of ISSEI.
    The effects of anthropogenic climate change will be devastating. Nevertheless, most people do not seem to be seriously concerned. We consume as much as we always did, drive as much as we always did, eat as much meat as we always did. What can we do to overcome this collective apathy? In order to be able to develop effective measures, we must first get clear about the causes of climate change inaction. In this paper I ask whether moral nihilism (the (...)
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  23.  42
    Natural Hazards and the Normative Significance of Expectations in Protecting Alpine Communities.Thomas Pölzler, Florian Ortner, Oliver Sass & Lukas Meyer - 2017 - Geophysical Research Abstracts: Abstracts of the European Geosciences Union General Assembly.
  24.  78
    Lastenteilung in der europäischen Asylpolitik.Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - In Lukas Meyer & Barbara Reiter (eds.), Wem gehört das Klima? Graz: Grazer Universitätsverlag.
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  25. Comment on Sabine Hohl and Dominic Roser: Stepping in for the Polluters? Climate Justice Under Partial Compliance.Thomas Pölzler - 2011 - Analyse & Kritik 33 (2):501-508.
    Sabine Hohl and Dominic Roser argue that states that emit their fair share of greenhouse gases have a duty to step in for states that emit more than their fair share. In this comment I ask two questions: First, given that Hohl and Roser are right, how relevant is the duty to step in for the polluters in practice? Second, is there such a duty on more non-ideal approaches than the one taken by Hohl and Roser as well? I argue (...)
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  26. Moral Disagreement, Anti-Realism, and the Worry About Overgeneralization.Thomas Pölzler - 2015 - In Christian Kanzian, Josef Mitterer & Katharina Neges (eds.), Contributions to the 38th International Wittgenstein Symposium. pp. 245-247.
    According to the classical argument from moral disagreement, the existence of widespread or persistent moral disagreement is best explained by, and thus inductively supports the view that there are no objective moral facts. One of the most common charges against this argument is that it “overgeneralizes”: it implausibly forces its proponents to deny the existence of objective facts about certain matters of physics, history, philosophy, etc. as well (companions in guilt), or even about its own conclusion or its own soundness (...)
     
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  27.  32
    How to Determine whether Evolution Debunks Moral Realism.Thomas Pölzler - 2018 - Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft Und Ethik 23 (1):35-60.
    Anti-realist evolutionary debunking arguments purport to show that if there were objective moral truths, then evolutionary evidence would suggest that our moral judgements are unjustified (which excludes or makes it unlikely that these truths exist). Recent controversies about these arguments can often be traced back to confusion about how its premises are to be supported or undermined. My aim in this paper is accordingly a clarificatory one. I will attempt to identify which kinds of philosophical or scientific evidence would have (...)
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  28. Review of Erik J. Wielenberg’s “Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism”. [REVIEW]Thomas Pölzler - 2015 - Ethical Perspectives 22 (3):509-513.
    Erik Wielenberg’s new book Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism aims at defending a non-theistic of ‘robust normative realism’: the metaethical view that normative properties exist, and have four features: (1) objectivity, (2) non-naturalness, (3) irreducibility, and (4) causal inertness. In my review I criticize that Wielenberg does not address semantic issues which are crucial both to defending robust normative realism, and to assessing the empirical claims he makes. Moreover, and relatedly, I suggest that Wielenberg’s main (...)
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  29.  19
    Camus on the Value of Art.Thomas Pölzler - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (1):365-376.
    Many instances of art are valuable. Where is this value located? And how is it to be justified? In this paper I reconstruct and critically assess Albert Camus’ answers to these questions. Camus’ theory of the value of art is based on his “logic of the absurd”, i.e., the idea that the human condition is absurd and that we therefore ought to adopt an attitude of revolt. This idea entails that art lacks any intrinsic value. Rather, Camus argues, art is (...)
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  30.  18
    Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World.Thomas Pölzler - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):435-438.
    Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World. By Landau Iddo. ).
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  31.  42
    On the Contribution of Philosophical and Geoscientific Inquiry to Geoethics (Qua Applied Ethics).Thomas Pölzler - 2017 - Annals of Geophysics 60 (7):1-6.
    This paper is about the methodology of geoethics qua applied ethics. In particular, I investigate the contributions of philosophical and geoscientific inquiry. My investigation is based on a general model of geoethical research. For each stage of this model I explain the expected contribution of “the philosopher” and “the geoscientist” (assuming that they are different persons). These general considerations are illustrated by the example of a particular geoethical research question that is currently addressed in the Austrian Academy of Sciences project (...)
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  32.  16
    Compensation for Historical Injustices: The Continuing Injustice Argument.Thomas Pölzler - 2018 - Archiv Fuer Rechts Und Sozialphilosphie 104 (3):380-396.
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  33.  19
    Introduction to the Special Issue on Legitimate Expectations.Lukas Meyer, Thomas Pölzler & Pranay Sanklecha - 2017 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 4 (2):173-175.
    In this short introduction, we will briefly sketch some central features of the problem of legitimate expectations and then lead over to the papers of our special issue.
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  34.  13
    The Effects of Morality on Acting Against Climate Change.Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - In Richard Joyce & Richard Garner (eds.), The End of Morality. New York: Routledge.
    Suppose you are a moral error theorist, i.e., you believe that no moral judgment is true. What, then, ought you to do with regard to our common practice of making such judgments? Determining the usefulness of our ordinary moral practice is exacerbated by the great number and variety of moral judgments. In-depth case studies may thus be more helpful in clarifying error theory’s practical implications than reflections about morality in general. In this chapter I pursue this strategy with regard to (...)
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  35.  4
    Robin Attfield, Environmental Ethics: A Very Short Introduction.Thomas Pölzler - 2019 - Environmental Values 28 (4):507-509.
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  36. Basic Needs and Sufficiency: The Foundations of Intergenerational Justice.Lukas Meyer & Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - In Stephen M. Gardiner (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Intergenerational Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This paper addresses a theory of intergenerational justice that we refer to as “needs-based sufficientarianism”. According to needs-based sufficientarianism, the present generation ought to enable future generations to meet their basic needs — for example, their needs for drinkable water, food and health care. Our aim is to explain and defend this theory in a programmatic way. First, we introduce what we regard as the most plausible variant of needs-based sufficientarianism. Then we argue that this variant is superior to several (...)
     
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  37. Art in the Face of the Absurd.Thomas Pölzler - 2016 - In Stefan Majetschak & Anja Weiberg (eds.), Contributions of the 39th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. pp. 196-198.
     
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  38. Entschädigung für historisches Unrecht: Das Argument des anhaltenden Unrechts.Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - Archiv für Rechts- Und Sozialphilosophie.
    Das Nicht-Identitätsproblem scheint auszuschließen, dass Nachfahren von Opfern historischen Unrechts Entschädigung zusteht. In der jüngeren Diskussion wurde diesem Problem häufig mit dem Hinweis begegnet, dass Ansprüche auf Entschädigung wenn auch nicht für das ursprüngliche Unrecht, so doch aufgrund des kontinuierlichen Ausbleibens einer Entschädigung für dieses Unrecht gerechtfertigt sein können. Mein Artikel beinhaltet eine kritische Diskussion dieses „Arguments des anhaltenden Unrechts“. Nachdem ich das Argument näher erläutert habe, verteidige ich es gegen drei naheliegende Einwände: den Entkoppelungs-Einwand, den Eigenverantwortungs-Einwand, und den Informationsmangel-Einwand. (...)
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