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  1.  39
    Emotion in Imaginative Resistance.Dylan Campbell, William Kidder, Jason D’Cruz & Brendan Gaesser - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34 (7):895-937.
    Imaginative resistance refers to cases in which one’s otherwise flexible imaginative capacity is constrained by an unwillingness or inability to imaginatively engage with a given claim. In three studies, we explored which specific imaginative demands engender resistance when imagining morally deviant worlds and whether individual differences in emotion predict the degree of this resistance. In Study 1 (N = 176), participants resisted the notion that harmful actions could be morally acceptable in the world of a narrative regardless of the author’s (...)
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  2.  76
    The Aesthetic Achievement and Cognitive Value of Empathy for Rough Heroes.William Kidder - 2022 - Journal of Value Inquiry 56 (2).
    Modern television is awash in programs that focus on the rough hero, a protagonist that is explicitly depicted as immoral. In this paper I examine why audiences find these characters so compelling, focusing on archetypal rough heroes in two programs: The Sopranos and Breaking Bad. I argue that the ability of rough-hero programs to engender a certain degree of empathy for morally deviant characters despite viewers' resistance to empathizing with these characters' moral views is an aesthetic achievement. In addition, I (...)
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  3.  38
    Resisting Empathy Bias with Pragmatist Ethics.William Kidder - 2019 - Contemporary Pragmatism 16 (1):65-83.
    The paper employs a pragmatist perspective on ethics to address the problem of empathy bias, an empirically documented phenomenon in which one’s ability to empathize with another is diminished simply because of that other’s membership in a perceived out-group. I first argue that the philosophical commitments that I take to be distinctive of pragmatism, specifically fallibilism, anti-absolutism, and democracy, require proactive empathetic engagement as a central component of moral inquiry. While this may initially seem to leave pragmatism vulnerable to concerns (...)
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  4.  13
    The Evil Within: Why We Need Moral Philosophy. [REVIEW]William Kidder - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (6):711-714.
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  5.  79
    The Role of Empathy in Moral Inquiry.William Kidder - 2021 - Dissertation, State University of New York, Albany
    In this dissertation, I defend the view that, despite empathy’s susceptibility to problematic biases, we can and should cultivate empathy to aid our understanding of our own values and the values of others. I argue that empathy allows us to critically examine and potentially revise our values by considering concrete moral problems and our own moral views from the perspective of another person. Appropriately calibrated empathy helps us achieve a critical distance from our own moral perspective and is thus tied (...)
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