•  19
    Actual Causation and Compositionality
    Philosophy of Science. forthcoming.
    Many theories of actual causation implicitly endorse the claim that if c is an actual cause of e, then either c causes e directly or every intermediary by which c indirectly causes e is itself both an actual cause of e and also an actual effect of c. We think this compositionality constraint is plausible. However, as we show, it is not always satisfied by the causal attributions ordinary people make. After showing that the compositionality constraint is not always satisfied by the causal attribu…Read more
  •  17
    In this paper, we consider three competing explanations of the empirical finding that people’s causal attributions are responsive to normative details, such as whether an agent’s action violated an injunctive norm—the intervention view, the bias view, and the responsibility view. We then present new experimental evidence concerning a type of case not previously investigated in the literature. In the switch version of the trolley problem, people judge that the bystander ought to flip the switch, …Read more
  •  13
    The meta-problem is “the problem of explaining why we think that there is a problem of consciousness”. This presupposes that we think there is a problem in the first place. We challenge the breadth of this “we," arguing that there is already sufficient empirical evidence to cast doubt on the claim. We then add to this body of evidence, presenting the results of a new cross-cultural study extending the work of Sytsma and Machery.
  •  12
    Experimental Philosophy of Pain
    Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 34 (3): 611-628. 2017.
    The standard view of pains among philosophers today holds that their existence consists in being experienced, such that there can be no unfelt pains or pain hallucinations. The typical line of support offered for this view is that it corresponds with the ordinary or commonsense conception of pain. Despite this, a growing body of evidence from experimental philosophers indicates that the ordinary understanding of pain stands in contrast to the standard view among philosophers. In this paper, we w…Read more
  •  12
    In this paper, we reply to Tom Sorell’s criticism of our engagement with the history of philosophy in our book, The Theory and Practice of Experimental Philosophy. We explain why our uses of the history of philosophy are not undermined by Sorell’s criticism and why our position is not threatened by the dilemma Sorell advances. We argue that Sorell has mischaracterized the dialectical context of our discussion of the history of philosophy and that he has mistakenly treated our use of the history …Read more
  •  10
    It is often asserted that we should believe that phenomenal consciousness exists because it is pretheoretically obvious. If this is the case, then we should expect lay people to categorize mental states in roughly the way that philosophers do, treating prototypical examples of phenomenally conscious mental states similarly. Sytsma and Machery present preliminary evidence that this is not the case. They found that participants happily ascribed seeing red to a simple robot but denied that the robo…Read more
  •  9
    In the opening paragraph of “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” Alan Turing famously notes that “if the meaning of the words ‘machine’ and ‘think’ are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, ‘Can machines think?’ is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll.” He then immediately responds, “But this is absurd.” But why is this absurd, if indeed it is? We think that the suggest…Read more
  •  8
    Research indicates that norms matter for ordinary causal attributions. Across a range of cases in which two agents jointly bring about an outcome, with one violating a norm while the other does not, causal ratings are higher for the agent who violates the norm. Building off such findings, Kominsky et al. note a related phenomenon that they term “causal superseding”—whether or not one agent violates a norm also affects causal ratings for the other agent. Kominsky et al. offer an explanation of th…Read more
  •  8
    Robot pains and corporate feelings
    The Philosophers' Magazine 52 78-82. 2011.
    Most philosophers of mind follow Thomas Nagel and hold that subjective experiences are characterised by the fact that there is “something it is like” to have them. Philosophers of mind have sometimes speculated that ordinary people endorse, perhaps implicitly, this conception of subjective experiences. Some recent findings cast doubt on this view.
  •  7
    Both advocates and critics of experimental philosophy often describe it in narrow terms as being the empirical study of people’s intuitions about philosophical cases. This conception corresponds with a narrow origin story for the field—it grew out of a dissatisfaction with the uncritical use of philosophers’ own intuitions as evidence for philosophical claims. In contrast, a growing number of experimental philosophers have explicitly embraced a broad conception of the sub-discipline, which treat…Read more
  •  7
    In previous work, we presented evidence suggesting that ordinary people do not conceive of subjective experiences as having phenomenal qualities. We then argued that these findings undermine a common justification given for the reality of the hard problem of consciousness. In a thought-provoking article, Talbot has challenged our argument. In this article, we respond to his criticism.
  •  4
  •  4
    In recent years, developments in experimental philosophy have led many thinkers to reconsider their central assumptions and methods. It is not enough to speculate and introspect from the armchair - philosophers must subject their claims to scientific scrutiny, looking at evidence and in some cases conducting new empirical research. "The Theory and Practice of Experimental Philosophy" is an introduction and guide to the systematic collection and analysis of empirical data in academic philosophy. …Read more
  • Neuroscience & the nature of philosophy
    Iride: Filosofia e Discussione Pubblica 46 495-514. 2005.