• The Centrality of Belief and Reflection in Knobe-Effect Cases
    with Mark Alfano and James Beebe
    The Monist 95 (2): 264-289. 2012.
    Recent work in experimental philosophy has shown that people are more likely to attribute intentionality, knowledge, and other psychological properties to someone who causes a bad side effect than to someone who causes a good one. We argue that all of these asymmetries can be explained in terms of a single underlying asymmetry involving belief attribution because the belief that one’s action would result in a certain side effect is a necessary component of each of the psychological attitudes in …Read more
  • Recent work in experimental philosophy has shown that people are more likely to attribute intentionality, knowledge, and other psychological properties to someone who causes a bad side effect than to someone who causes a good one. We argue that all of these asymmetries can be explained in terms of a single underlying asymmetry involving belief attribution because the belief that one’s action would result in a certain side effect is a necessary component of each of the psychological attitudes in …Read more
  • The Semantic Neighborhood of Intellectual Humility
    with Markus Christen and Mark Alfano
    Proceedings of the European Conference on Social Intelligence. 2014.
    Intellectual humility is an interesting but underexplored disposition. The claim “I am (intellectually) humble” seems paradoxical in that someone who has the disposition in question would not typically volunteer it. There is an explanatory gap between the meaning of the sentence and the meaning the speaker expresses by uttering it. We therefore suggest analyzing intellectual humility semantically, using a psycholexical approach that focuses on both synonyms and antonyms of ‘intellectual humility…Read more
  • Bragging
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (4): 263-272. 2014.
    The speech act of bragging has never been subjected to conceptual analysis until now. We argue that a speaker brags just in case she makes an utterance that is an assertion and is intended to impress the addressee with something about the speaker via the belief produced by the speaker's assertion. We conclude by discussing why it is especially difficult to cancel a brag by prefacing it with, ‘I'm not trying to impress you, but…’ and connect this discussion with Moore's paradox and the recent neo…Read more
  • Intellectual humility can be broadly construed as being conscious of the limits of one’s existing knowledge and capable to acquire more knowledge, which makes it a key virtue of the information age. However, the claim “I am (intellectually) humble” seems paradoxical in that someone who has the disposition in question would not typically volunteer it. There is an explanatory gap between the meaning of the sentence and the meaning the speaker ex- presses by uttering it. We therefore suggest analyz…Read more
  • A cross-cultural assessment of the semantic dimensions of intellectual humility
    with Markus Christen and Mark Alfano
    AI and Society 1-17. forthcoming.
    Intellectual humility can be broadly construed as being conscious of the limits of one’s existing knowledge and capable of acquiring more knowledge, which makes it a key virtue of the information age. However, the claim “I am humble” seems paradoxical in that someone who has the disposition in question would not typically volunteer it. Therefore, measuring intellectual humility via self-report may be methodologically unsound. As a consequence, we suggest analyzing intellectual humility semantica…Read more
  • Virtues are acquirable, so if intellectual humility is a virtue, it’s acquirable. But there is something deeply problematic—perhaps even paradoxical—about aiming to be intellectually humble. Drawing on Edward Slingerland’s analysis of the paradoxical virtue of wu-wei in Trying Not To Try (New York: Crown, 2014), we argue for an anti-individualistic conception of the trait, concluding that one’s intellectual humility depends upon the intellectual humility of others. Slingerland defines wu-wei as …Read more
  • Reversing the side-effect effect: the power of salient norms
    with Paul Stey and Mark Alfano
    Philosophical Studies 172 (1): 177-206. 2015.
    In the last decade, experimental philosophers have documented systematic asymmetries in the attributions of mental attitudes to agents who produce different types of side effects. We argue that this effect is driven not simply by the violation of a norm, but by salient-norm violation. As evidence for this hypothesis, we present two new studies in which two conflicting norms are present, and one or both of them is raised to salience. Expanding one’s view to these additional cases presents, we arg…Read more
  • Gossip as a Burdened Virtue
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1-15. 2017.
    Gossip is often serious business, not idle chitchat. Gossip allows those oppressed to privately name their oppressors as a warning to others. Of course, gossip can be in error. The speaker may be lying or merely have lacked sufficient evidence. Bias can also make those who hear the gossip more or less likely to believe the gossip. By examining the social functions of gossip and considering the differences in power dynamics in which gossip can occur, we contend that gossip may be not only permiss…Read more
  • Character, Caricature, and Gossip
    The Monist 99 (2): 198-211. 2016.
    Gossip is rarely praised. There seems little virtuous that is about talking behind someone’s back. Whether there is anything virtuous about gossip, however, depends on the kind of gossip. Some gossip is idle, but some evaluative gossip promulgates and enforces norms. When properly motivated, such gossip effects positive change in society and counts as gossiping well. The virtue of gossiping well even includes some kinds of false gossip, namely the sort that exaggerates a pre-existing trait, ther…Read more
  • Virtue and Vice Attributions in the Business Context: An Experimental Investigation (review)
    with Paul Stey and Mark Alfano
    Journal of Business Ethics 113 (4): 649-661. 2013.
    Recent findings in experimental philosophy have revealed that people attribute intentionality, belief, desire, knowledge, and blame asymmetrically to side- effects depending on whether the agent who produces the side-effect violates or adheres to a norm. Although the original (and still common) test for this effect involved a chairman helping or harming the environment, hardly any of these findings have been applied to business ethics. We review what little exploration of the implications for bu…Read more