•  932
    Implicit Bias, Character and Control
    In Jonathan Webber & Alberto Masala (eds.), From Personality to Virtue, . pp. 106-133. 2016.
    Our focus here is on whether, when influenced by implicit biases, those behavioural dispositions should be understood as being a part of that person’s character: whether they are part of the agent that can be morally evaluated.[4]  We frame this issue in terms of control. If a state, process, or behaviour is not something that the agent can, in the relevant sense, control, then it is not something that counts as part of her character. A number of theorists have argued that individuals do not hav…Read more
  •  746
    Social norms and human normative psychology
    Social Philosophy and Policy 35 (1): 54-76. 2018.
    Our primary aim in this paper is to sketch a cognitive evolutionary approach for developing explanations of social change that is anchored on the psychological mechanisms underlying normative cognition and the transmission of social norms. We throw the relevant features of this approach into relief by comparing it with the self-fulfilling social expectations account developed by Bicchieri and colleagues. After describing both accounts, we argue that the two approaches are largely compatible, but…Read more
  •  412
    We argue that work on norms provides a way to move beyond debates between proponents of individualist and structuralist approaches to bias, oppression, and injustice. We briefly map out the geography of that debate before presenting Charlotte Witt’s view, showing how her position, and the normative ascriptivism at its heart, seamlessly connects individuals to the social reality they inhabit. We then describe recent empirical work on the psychology of norms and locate the notions of informal inst…Read more
  •  401
    Racial cognition and the ethics of implicit bias
    Philosophy Compass 3 (3). 2008.
    We first describe recent empirical research on racial cognition, particularly work on implicit racial biases that suggests they are widespread, that they can coexist with explicitly avowed anti-racist and tolerant attitudes, and that they influence behavior in a variety of subtle but troubling ways. We then consider a cluster of questions that the existence and character of implicit racial biases raise for moral theory. First, is it morally condemnable to harbor an implicit racial bias? Second, …Read more
  •  385
  •  304
    Race is one of the most common variables in the social sciences, used to draw correlations between racial groups and numerous other important variables such as education, healthcare outcomes, aptitude tests, wealth, employment and so forth. But where concern with race once reflected the view that races were biologically real, many, if not most, contemporary social scientists have abandoned the idea that racial categories demarcate substantial, intrinsic biological differences between people. Thi…Read more
  •  283
    Enhancement, Authenticity, and Social Acceptance in the Age of Individualism
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 10 (1): 51-53. 2019.
    Public attitudes concerning cognitive enhancements are significant for a number of reasons. They tell us about how socially acceptable these emerging technologies are considered to be, but they also provide a window into the ethical reasons that are likely to get traction in the ongoing debates about them. We thus see Conrad et al’s project of empirically investigating the effect of metaphors and context in shaping attitudes about cognitive enhancements as both interesting and important. We sket…Read more
  •  237
    Moral judgment
    with Jennifer Ellen Nado and Stephen Stich
    In John Symons & Paco Calvo (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology, Routledge. 2009.
    Questions regarding the nature of moral judgment loom large in moral philosophy. Perhaps the most basic of these questions asks how, exactly, moral judgments and moral rules are to be defined; what features distinguish them from other sorts of rules and judgments? A related question concerns the extent to which emotion and reason guide moral judgment. Are moral judgments made mainly on the basis of reason, or are they primarily the products of emotion? As an example of the former view, Kant held…Read more
  •  219
    I argue that the recent debate about the role disgust deserves in ethical thought has been impoverished by an inadequate understanding of the emotion itself. After considering Kass and Nussbaum’s respective positions in that debate, and the implausible views of the nature of disgust on which their arguments rest, I describe my own view, which makes sense of the wealth of recent, often puzzling, empirical work done on the emotion. This view sees disgust as being primarily responsible for protecti…Read more
  •  207
    Individualism, Structuralism, and Climate Change
    Environmental Communication 1. 2021.
    Scholars, journalists, and activists working on climate change often distinguish between “individual” and “structural” approaches to decarbonization. The former concern choices individuals can make to reduce their “personal carbon footprint” (e.g., eating less meat). The latter concern changes to institutions, laws, and other social structures. These two approaches are often framed as oppositional, representing a mutually exclusive forced choice between alternative routes to decarbonization. Aft…Read more
  •  203
    Harm, affect, and the moral/conventional distinction
    with Stephen Stich, Kevin J. Haley, Serena J. Eng, and Daniel M. T. Fessler
    Mind and Language 22 (2). 2007.
  •  202
    At the end of a chapter in his book Race, Racism and Reparations, Angelo Corlett notes that “[t]here remain other queries about racism [than those he addressed in his chapter], which need philosophical exploration. … Perhaps most important, how might racism be unlearned?” (2003, 93). We agree with Corlett’s assessment of its importance, but find that philosophers have not been very keen to directly engage with the issue of how to best deal with, and ultimately do away with, racism. Rather, they …Read more
  •  177
    Moral realism and cross-cultural normative diversity
    with Machery Edouard and P. Stich Stephen
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (6): 830-830. 2005.
    We discuss the implications of the findings reported in the target article for moral theory, and argue that they represent a clear and genuine case of fundamental moral disagreement. As such, the findings support a moderate form of moral anti-realism – the position that, for some moral issues, there is no fact of the matter about what is right and wrong
  •  146
    A Framework for the Emotional Psychology of Group Membership
    with Taylor Davis
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1-22. forthcoming.
    The vast literature on negative treatment of outgroups and favoritism toward ingroups provides many local insights but is largely fragmented, lacking an overarching framework that might provide a unified overview and guide conceptual integration. As a result, it remains unclear where different local perspectives conflict, how they may reinforce one another, and where they leave gaps in our knowledge of the phenomena. Our aim is to start constructing a framework to help remedy this situation. We …Read more
  •  102
    Race and racial cognition
    with Daniel Kelly, Edouard Machery, and Ron Mallon
    In John Michael Doris (ed.), The Moral Psychology Handbook, Oxford University Press. 2010.
    A core question of contemporary social morality concerns how we ought to handle racial categorization. By this we mean, for instance, classifying or thinking of a person as Black, Korean, Latino, White, etc.² While it is widely FN:2 agreed that racial categorization played a crucial role in past racial oppression, there remains disagreement among philosophers and social theorists about the ideal role for racial categorization in future endeavors. At one extreme of this disagreement are short-ter…Read more
  •  100
    The view we defend is that in virtue of its nature, disgust is not fit to do any moral or social work whatsoever, and that there are no defensible uses for disgust in legal or political institutions. We first describe our favoured empirical theory of the nature of disgust. Turning from descriptive to normative issues, we address the best arguments in favour of granting disgust the power to justify certain judgements, and to serve as a social tool, respectively. Daniel Kahan advances a pair of th…Read more
  •  95
    Norm-based Governance for a New Era: Lessons from Climate Change and COVID-19
    with Leigh Raymond and Erin Hennes
    Perspectives on Politics. forthcoming.
    The world has surpassed three million deaths from COVID-19, and faces potentially catastrophic tipping points in the global climate system. Despite the urgency, governments have struggled to address either problem. In this paper, we argue that COVID-19 and anthropogenic climate change (ACC) are critical examples of an emerging type of governance challenge: severe collective action problems that require significant individual behavior change under conditions of hyper- partisanship and scientific …Read more
  •  85
    Intentionality - naturalization of
    with Kelby Mason and Dennis Whitcomb
    In Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, . pp. 1993-1996. 2008.
    States that are about things are intentional, that is, they have content. The precise nature of intentional states is a matter of dispute.What makes some states, but not others, intentional? Of those states that are intentional, what makes them about what they are about as opposed to something else, i.e. what gives them their specific content?
  •  76
    Taking Social Psychology Out of Context
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences. forthcoming.
    We endorse Cesario’s call for more research into the complexities of “real-world” decisions and the comparative power of different causes of group disparities. Unfortunately, these reasonable suggestions are overshadowed by a barrage of non sequiturs, misdirected criticisms of methodology, and unsubstantiated claims about the assumptions and inferences of social psychologists.
  •  68
    Kurth wants us to understand and appreciate our anxiety more than we typically do. His concise and crisply written monograph makes a good case that we should. It deepens our understanding of what anxiety is, and of how it animates different facets of our mental and moral lives. The case he builds that, roughly, anxiety is one of the brain’s ways of affectively signaling and responding to uncertainty is clearly argued and meticulously organized. Kurth hits the targets he sets for himself, and adv…Read more
  •  64
    Moral Disgust and The Tribal Instincts Hypothesis
    In Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott & Ben Fraser (eds.), Cooperation and its Evolution, Mit Press. 2013.
    Psychological research has been discovering a number of puzzling features of morality and moral cognition recently.2 Zhong & Liljenquist (2006) found that when people are asked to think about an unethical deed or recall one they themselves have committed in the past, issues of physical cleanliness become salient. Zhong & Liljenquist cleverly designate this phenomenon the “Macbeth Effect,” and it takes some interesting forms. For instance, reading a story describing an immoral deed increased peop…Read more
  •  62
    Selective debunking arguments, folk psychology, and empirical psychology
    In Hagop Sarkissian & Jennifer Cole Wright (eds.), Advances in Experimental Moral Psychology, Bloomsbury. pp. 130-147. 2014.
    Rather than set out an overarching view or take a stand on the debunking of morality tout court, in what follows I’ll explore a divide and conquer strategy. First, I will briefly sketch a debunking argument that, instead of targeting all of morality or human moral nature, has a more narrow focus—namely, the intuitive moral authority of disgust. The argument concludes that as vivid and compelling as they can be while one is in their grip, feelings of disgust should be granted no power to justify …Read more
  •  58
    People can be disgusted by the concrete and by the abstract -- by an object they find physically repellent or by an ideology or value system they find morally abhorrent. Different things will disgust different people, depending on individual sensibilities or cultural backgrounds. In _Yuck!_, Daniel Kelly investigates the character and evolution of disgust, with an emphasis on understanding the role this emotion has come to play in our social and moral lives. Disgust has recently been riding a sw…Read more
  •  57
    On the Alleged Inadequacies of Psychological Explanations of Racism
    with Edouard Machery, Luc Faucher, and Daniel R. Kelly
    The Monist 93 (2): 228-254. 2010.
  •  45
    The role of psychology in the study of culture
    with Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Kelby Mason, and Stephen P. Stich
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4): 355-355. 2006.
    Although we are enthusiastic about a Darwinian approach to culture, we argue that the overview presented in the target article does not sufficiently emphasize the crucial explanatory role that psychology plays in the study of culture. We use a number of examples to illustrate the variety of ways by which appeal to psychological factors can help explain cultural phenomena
  •  42
    We situate Henrich’s book in the larger research tradition of which it is a part and show how he presents a wide array of recent psychological, physiological, and neurological data as supporting the view that two related but distinct processes have shaped human nature and made us unique: cumulative cultural evolution and culture-driven genetic evolution. We briefly sketch out several ways philosophers might fruitfully engage with this view and note some implications it may have for current philo…Read more