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Zachary C. Irving
University of Virginia
  1.  36
    Drifting and Directed Minds: The Significance of Mind-Wandering for Mental Agency.Zachary C. Irving - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (11):614-644.
    Perhaps the central question in action theory is this: what ingredient of bodily action is missing in mere behavior? But what is an analogous question for mental action? I ask this: what ingredient of active, goal-directed thought is missing in mind-wandering? My answer: attentional guidance. Attention is guided when you would feel pulled back from distractions. In contrast, mind-wandering drifts between topics unchecked. My unique starting point motivates new accounts of four central topics about mental action. First, its causal basis. (...)
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  2. Mental Control and Attributions of Blame for Negligent Wrongdoing.Samuel Murray, Kristina Krasich, Zachary C. Irving, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Felipe De Brigard - forthcoming - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
    Judgments of blame for others are typically sensitive to what an agent knows and desires. However, when people act negligently, they do not know what they are doing and do not desire the outcomes of their negligence. How, then, do people attribute blame for negligent wrongdoing? We propose that people attribute blame for negligent wrongdoing based on perceived mental control, or the degree to which an agent guides their thoughts and attention over time. To acquire information about others’ mental control, (...)
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  3.  27
    Is an Off-Task Mind a Freely-Moving Mind? Examining the Relationship Between Different Dimensions of Thought.Caitlin Mills, Quentin Raffaelli, Zachary C. Irving, Dylan Stan & Kalina Christoff - 2018 - Consciousness and Cognition 58:20-33.
  4.  32
    Mind-Wandering as a Scientific Concept: Cutting Through the Definitional Haze.Kalina Christoff, Caitlin Mills, Jessica R. Andrews-Hanna, Zachary C. Irving, Evan Thompson, Kieran C. R. Fox & Julia W. Y. Kam - 2018 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 22 (11):957-959.
  5.  36
    Mind‐Wandering: A Philosophical Guide.Zachary C. Irving & Aaron Glasser - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (1).
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  6.  40
    Attention Norms in Siegel’s The Rationality of Perception.Zachary C. Irving - 2019 - Ratio 32 (1):84-91.
    Can we be responsible for our attention? Can attention be epistemically good or bad? Siegel tackles these under‐explored questions in “Selection Effects”, a pathbreaking chapter of The Rationality of Perception. In this chapter, Siegel develops one of the first philosophical accounts of attention norms. Her account is inferential: patterns of attention are often controlled by inferences and therefore subject to rational epistemic norms that govern any other form of inference. Although Siegel’s account is explanatorily powerful, it cannot capture a core (...)
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  7.  51
    The Catch-22 of Forgetfulness: Responsibility for Mental Mistakes.Zachary C. Irving, Samuel Murray, Aaron Glasser & Kristina Krasich - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Attribution theorists assume that character information informs judgments of blame. But there is disagreement over why. One camp holds that character information is a fundamental determinant of blame. Another camp holds that character information merely provides evidence about the mental states and processes that determine responsibility. We argue for a two-channel view, where character simultaneously has fundamental and evidential effects on blame. In two large factorial studies (n = 495), participants rate whether someone is blameworthy when he makes a mistake (...)
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  8. Mind-Wandering: A Philosophical Guide.Zachary C. Irving & Aaron Glasser - forthcoming - Philosophical Compass.
    Philosophers have long been fascinated by the stream of consciousness––thoughts, images, and bits of inner speech that dance across the inner stage. Yet for centuries, such “mind-wandering” was deemed private and thus resistant to empirical investigation. Recent developments in psychology and neuroscience have reinvigorated scientific interest in the stream of thought, leading some researchers to dub this “the era of the wandering mind”. Despite this flurry of progress, scientists have stressed that mind-wandering research requires firmer philosophical foundations. The time is (...)
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  9. The Scientific Study of Passive Thinking: Methods of Mind Wandering Research.Samuel Murray, Zachary C. Irving & Kristina Krasich - 2022 - In Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (eds.), Neuroscience and Philosophy. Cambridge: MIT Press. pp. 389-426.
    The science of mind wandering has rapidly expanded over the past 20 years. During this boom, mind wandering researchers have relied on self-report methods, where participants rate whether their minds were wandering. This is not an historical quirk. Rather, we argue that self-report is indispensable for researchers who study passive phenomena like mind wandering. We consider purportedly “objective” methods that measure mind wandering with eye tracking and machine learning. These measures are validated in terms of how well they predict self-reports, (...)
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  10.  24
    What Does “Mind‐Wandering” Mean to the Folk? An Empirical Investigation.Zachary C. Irving, Aaron Glasser, Alison Gopnik, Verity Pinter & Chandra Sripada - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (10).
    Although mind‐wandering research is rapidly progressing, stark disagreements are emerging about what the term “mind‐wandering” means. Four prominent views define mind‐wandering as task‐unrelated thought, stimulus‐independent thought, unintentional thought, or dynamically unguided thought. Although theorists claim to capture the ordinary understanding of mind‐wandering, no systematic studies have assessed these claims. Two large factorial studies present participants with vignettes that describe someone’s thoughts and ask whether her mind was wandering, while systematically manipulating features relevant to the four major accounts of mind‐wandering. Dynamics (...)
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  11.  18
    Will-Powered: Synchronic Regulation is the Difference Maker for Self-Control.Zachary C. Irving, Jordan Bridges, Aaron Glasser, Juan Pablo Bermúdez & Chandra Sripada - 2022 - Cognition 225:105154.
    Philosophers, psychologists, and economists have reached the consensus that one can use two different kinds of regulation to achieve self-control. Synchronic regulation uses willpower to resist current temptation. Diachronic regulation implements a plan to avoid future temptation. Yet this consensus may rest on contaminated intuitions. Specifically, agents typically use willpower (synchronic regulation) to achieve their plans to avoid temptation (diachronic regulation). So even if cases of diachronic regulation seem to involve self-control, this may be because they are contaminated by synchronic (...)
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  12. Aha! Trick Questions, Independence, and the Epistemology of Disagreement.Michael Arsenault & Zachary C. Irving - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (3):185-194.
    We present a family of counter-examples to David Christensen's Independence Criterion, which is central to the epistemology of disagreement. Roughly, independence requires that, when you assess whether to revise your credence in P upon discovering that someone disagrees with you, you shouldn't rely on the reasoning that lead you to your initial credence in P. To do so would beg the question against your interlocutor. Our counter-examples involve questions where, in the course of your reasoning, you almost fall for an (...)
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  13. Drifting and Directed Minds: The Significance of Mind-Wandering for Mental Action.Zachary C. Irving - manuscript
    Perhaps the central question in action theory is this: what ingredient of bodily action is missing in mere behaviour? But what is an analogous question for mental action? I ask the following: what ingredient of active, goal-directed, thought is missing in mind-wandering? I answer that guidance is the missing ingredient that separates mind-wandering and directed thinking. I define mind-wandering as unguided attention. Roughly speaking, attention is guided when you would feel pulled back, were you distracted. In contrast, a wandering attention (...)
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  14.  29
    Style, but Substance: An Epistemology of Visual Versus Numerical Representation in Scientific Practice.Zachary C. Irving - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):774-787.
    In practice, scientists must convey data in a “representational style”. Various authors seek to explain the epistemic role of scientific visual representation in terms of formal conventions. Goodman also tends to dismiss the epistemic relevance of human cognition. My position is that visual conventions are nonarbitrary, in that they play to scientists’ cognitive abilities and limitations. My account draws on Perini's formal analysis, scientific case studies, and empirical literature on global pattern detection in neurotypicals, autistics, and dyslexics.
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  15. What Does “Mind‐Wandering” Mean to the Folk? An Empirical Investigation.Zachary C. Irving, Aaron Glasser, Alison Gopnik & Chandra Sekhar Sripada - 2020
    Although mind-wandering research is rapidly progressing, stark disagreements are emerging about what the term “mind-wandering” means. Four prominent views define mind-wandering as 1) task-unrelated thought, 2) stimulus-independent thought, 3) unintentional thought, or 4) dynamically unguided thought. Although theorists claim to capture the ordinary understanding of mind-wandering, no systematic studies have assessed these claims. Two large factorial studies present participants (n=545) with vignettes that describe someone’s thoughts and ask whether her mind was wandering, while systematically manipulating features relevant to the four (...)
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