•  2
    According to Cushman, rationalization occurs when a person has performed an action and then concocts beliefs and desires that would have made it rational. We argue that this isn't the paradigmatic form of rationalization. Consequently, Cushman's explanation of the function and usefulness of rationalization is less broad-reaching than he intends. Cushman's account also obscures some of rationalization's pernicious consequences.
  •  21
    How Well Do We Know Our Own Conscious Experience? The Case of Human Echolocation
    with Michael S. Gordon
    Philosophical Topics 28 (n/a): 235-246. 2000.
    Researchers from the 1940's through the present have found that normal, sighted people can echolocate - that is, detect properties of silent objects by attending to sound reflected from them. We argue that echolocation is a normal part of our perceptual experience and that there is something 'it is like' to echolocate. Furthermore, we argue that people are often grossly mistaken about their experience of echolocation. If so, echolocation provides a counterexample to the view that we cannot be mi…Read more
  • Rationalization in Philosophical and Moral Thought
    In Jean-Francois Bonnefon & Bastien Trémolière (eds.), Moral Inferences, . 2017.
    Rationalization, in our intended sense of the term, occurs when a person favors a particular conclusion as a result of some factor (such as self-interest) that is of little justificatory epistemic relevance, if that factor then biases the person’s subsequent search for, and assessment of, potential justifications for the conclusion. Empirical evidence suggests that rationalization is common in people’s moral and philosophical thought. We argue that it is likely that the moral and philosophical t…Read more
  • A Dispositional Approach to the Attitudes
    In N. Nottelmann (ed.), New Essays on Belief, Palgrave. pp. 75-99. 2013.
  •  78
    The Moral Behaviour of Ethicists: Peer Opinion
    with J. Rust
    Mind 118 (472): 1043-1059. 2009.
    If philosophical moral reflection tends to improve moral behaviour, one might expect that professional ethicists will, on average, behave morally better than non-ethicists. One potential source of insight into the moral behaviour of ethicists is philosophers' opinions about ethicists' behaviour. At the 2007 Pacific Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association, we used chocolate to entice 277 passers-by to complete anonymous questionnaires without their knowing the topic of those qu…Read more
  •  269
    We examined the effects of order of presentation on the moral judgments of professional philosophers and two comparison groups. All groups showed similar‐sized order effects on their judgments about hypothetical moral scenarios targeting the doctrine of the double effect, the action‐omission distinction, and the principle of moral luck. Philosophers' endorsements of related general moral principles were also substantially influenced by the order in which the hypothetical scenarios had previously…Read more
  •  30
    Aiming for Moral Mediocrity
    Res Philosophica 96 (3): 347-368. 2019.
    Most people aim to be about as morally good as their peers—not especially better, not especially worse. We do not aim to be good, or non-bad, or to act permissibly rather than impermissibly, by fixed moral standards. Rather, we notice the typical behavior of our peers, then calibrate toward so-so. This is a somewhat bad way to be, but it’s not a terribly bad way to be. We are somewhat morally criticizable for having low moral ambitions. Typical arguments defending the moral acceptability of low …Read more
  •  60
    Kant Meets Cyberpunk
    Disputatio. 2019.
    I defend a how-possibly argument for Kantian transcen- dental idealism, drawing on concepts from David Chalmers, Nick Bostrom, and the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. If we are ar- tificial intelligences living in a virtual reality instantiated on a giant computer, then the fundamental structure of reality might be very dif- ferent than we suppose. Indeed, since computation does not require spatial properties, spatiality might not be a feature of things as they are in themselves but inste…Read more
  •  14
    Phenomenal Consciousness, Defined and Defended as Innocently as I Can Manage
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (11-12): 224-235. 2016.
    Phenomenal consciousness can be conceptualized innocently enough that its existence should be accepted even by philosophers who wish to avoid dubious epistemic and metaphysical commitments such as dualism, infallibilism, privacy, inexplicability, or intrinsic simplicity. Definition by example allows us this innocence. Positive examples include sensory experiences, imagery experiences, vivid emotions, and dreams. Negative examples include growth hormone release, dispositional knowledge, standing …Read more
  •  1
    The ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi defies coherent interpretation. This is an inextricable part of the beauty and power of his work. The text – by which I mean the “Inner Chapters” of the text traditionally attributed to him, the authentic core of the book – is incomprehensible as a whole. It consists of shards, in a distinctive voice – a voice distinctive enough that its absence is plain in most or all of the “Outer” and “Miscellaneous” Chapters, and which I will treat as the voice of a s…Read more
  •  20
    Zhuangzi's Attitude Toward Language and His Skepticism
    In P. Kjellberg & Philip J. Ivanhoe (eds.), Essays on Skepticism, Relativism, and Ethics in the Zhuangzi, Suny Press. pp. 68-96. 1996.
    This paper begins by observing a tension in the Zhuangzi (or Chuang Tzu). On the one hand, Zhuangzi often advocates radical skepticism and relativism. On the other hand, he often makes a variety of factual claims and endorses and condemns various ways of living, in apparent disregard of any skeptical or relativist considerations. I resolve this tension by suggesting that Zhuangzi does not mean what he says when he advocates skepticism and relativism - that he aims in the apparently skeptical and…Read more
  •  3
    The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundary of Self
    with Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen Flanagan, Victoria S. Harrison, and Hagop Sarkissian
    Columbia University Press. 2018.
    The idea that the self is inextricably intertwined with the rest of the world—the “oneness hypothesis”—can be found in many of the world’s philosophical and religious traditions. Oneness provides ways to imagine and achieve a more expansive conception of the self as fundamentally connected with other people, creatures, and things. Such views present profound challenges to Western hyperindividualism and its excessive concern with self-interest and tendency toward self-centered behavior. This anth…Read more
  •  136
    Ethicists' courtesy at philosophy conferences
    with Joshua Rust, Linus Ta-Lun Huang, Alan T. Moore, and D. Justin Coates
    Philosophical Psychology 25 (3). 2012.
    If philosophical moral reflection tends to promote moral behavior, one might think that professional ethicists would behave morally better than do socially comparable non-ethicists. We examined three types of courteous and discourteous behavior at American Philosophical Association conferences: talking audibly while the speaker is talking (versus remaining silent), allowing the door to slam shut while entering or exiting mid-session (versus attempting to close the door quietly), and leaving behi…Read more
  •  14
    Book reviews (review)
    with Stephen E. Braude, Hilary Kornblith, William W. Schonbein, and Thomas Nickles
    Philosophical Psychology 10 (4): 551-564. 1997.
  •  22
    Jay Garfield’s Engaging Buddhism admirably shows the relevance of Indian philosophy to the interests of mainstream analytic Anglophone philosophers. Garfield deploys the Indian tradition to critique phenomenal realism, the view that there really are qualia or phenomenal properties—that there really is ‘something it’s like’ to be undergoing the experience you are undergoing right now. I argue that Garfield’s critique probably turns on a false dilemma that omits the possibility of introspection as…Read more
  •  10
    Reply to Hurlburt
    with Alan T. Moore
    Consciousness and Cognition 63 143-145. 2018.
  •  23
    The experience of reading
    with Alan Tonnies Moore
    Consciousness and Cognition 62 57-68. 2018.
    What do people consciously experience when they read? There has been almost no rigorous research on this question, and opinions diverge radically among both philosophers and psychologists. We describe three studies of the phenomenology of reading and its relationship to memory of textual detail and general cognitive abilities. We find three main results. First, there is substantial variability in reports about reading experience, both within and between participants. Second, reported reading exp…Read more
  •  46
    We present evidence that mainstream Anglophone philosophy is insular in the sense that participants in this academic tradition tend mostly to cite or interact with other participants in this academic tradition, while having little academic interaction with philosophers writing in other languages. Among our evidence: In a sample of articles from elite Anglophone philosophy journals, 97% of citations are citations of work originally written in English; 96% of members of editorial boards of elite A…Read more
  • Presuppositions and Background Assumptions
    with Russell Hurlburt
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (1): 206-233. 2011.
  • Little or No Experience Outside of Attention?
    with Russell Hurlburt
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (1): 234-252. 2011.
  •  2
    How well do we know our own conscious experience? the case of visual imagery
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (5-6): 35-53. 2002.
    Philosophers tend to assume that we have excellent knowledge of our own current conscious experience or 'phenomenology'. I argue that our knowledge of one aspect of our experience, the experience of visual imagery, is actually rather poor. Precedent for this position is found among the introspective psychologists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Two main arguments are advanced toward the conclusion that our knowledge of our own imagery is poor. First, the reader is asked to …Read more
  •  1948
    Knowing That P without Believing That P
    Noûs 47 (2): 371-384. 2013.
    Most epistemologists hold that knowledge entails belief. However, proponents of this claim rarely offer a positive argument in support of it. Rather, they tend to treat the view as obvious and assert that there are no convincing counterexamples. We find this strategy to be problematic. We do not find the standard view obvious, and moreover, we think there are cases in which it is intuitively plausible that a subject knows some proposition P without—or at least without determinately—believing tha…Read more
  •  48
    We present several quantitative analyses of the prevalence and visibility of women in moral, political, and social philosophy, compared to other areas of philosophy, and how the situation has changed over time. Measures include faculty lists from the Philosophical Gourmet Report, PhD job placement data from the Academic Placement Data and Analysis project, the National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates, conference programs of the American Philosophical Association, authorship in e…Read more
  •  84
    No unchallengeable epistemic authority, of any sort, regarding our own conscious experience
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2): 107-113. 2007.
    Dennett argues that we can be mistaken about our own conscious experience. Despite this, he repeatedly asserts that we can or do have unchallengeable authority of some sort in our reports about that experience. This assertion takes three forms. First, Dennett compares our authority to the authority of an author over his fictional world. Unfortunately, that appears to involve denying that there are actual facts about experience that subjects may be truly or falsely reporting. Second, Dennett some…Read more
  •  179
    Introspective Training Apprehensively Defended: Reflections on Titchener's Lab Manual
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (7-8): 58-76. 2004.
    To study conscious experience we must, to some extent, trust introspective reports; yet introspective reports often do not merit our trust. A century ago, E.B. Titchener advocated extensive introspective training as a means of resolving this difficulty. He describes many of his training techniques in his four-volume laboratory manual of 1901- 1905. This paper explores Titchener's laboratory manual with an eye to general questions about the prospects of introspective training for contemporary con…Read more
  •  151
    In this dissertation, I examine three philosophically important concepts that play a foundational role in developmental psychology: theory, representation, and belief. I describe different ways in which the concepts have been understood and present reasons why a developmental psychologist, or a philosopher attuned to cognitive development, should prefer one understanding of these concepts over another.