•  342
    Eavesdropping: What is it good for?
    Semantics and Pragmatics. forthcoming.
    Eavesdropping judgments (judgments about truth, retraction, and consistency across contexts) about epistemic modals have been used in recent years to argue for a radical thesis: that truth is assessment-relative. We argue that judgments for 'I think that p' pattern in strikingly similar ways to judgments for 'Might p' and 'Probably p'. We argue for this by replicating three major experiments involving the latter and adding a condition with the form 'I think that p', showing that subjects respond…Read more
  •  64
    Factive theory of mind
    Mind and Language 36 (1): 3-26. 2021.
    Mind &Language, EarlyView.
  •  32
    How We Know What Not To Think
    with Adam Morris and Fiery Cushman
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences 23 (12): 1026-1040. 2019.
  •  96
    Correction to: Estimating the Reproducibility of Experimental Philosophy
    with Florian Cova, Brent Strickland, Angela Abatista, Aurélien Allard, James Andow, Mario Attie, James Beebe, Renatas Berniūnas, Jordane Boudesseul, Matteo Colombo, Fiery Cushman, Rodrigo Diaz, Noah N’Djaye Nikolai van Dongen, Vilius Dranseika, Brian D. Earp, Antonio Gaitán Torres, Ivar Hannikainen, José V. Hernández-Conde, Wenjia Hu, François Jaquet, Kareem Khalifa, Hanna Kim, Markus Kneer, Joshua Knobe, Miklos Kurthy, Anthony Lantian, Shen-yi Liao, Edouard Machery, Tania Moerenhout, Christian Mott, Mark Phelan, Navin Rambharose, Kevin Reuter, Felipe Romero, Paulo Sousa, Jan Sprenger, Emile Thalabard, Kevin Tobia, Hugo Viciana, Daniel Wilkenfeld, and Xiang Zhou
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (1): 45-48. 2018.
    Appendix 1 was incomplete in the initial online publication. The original article has been corrected.
  •  132
    Estimating the Reproducibility of Experimental Philosophy
    with Florian Cova, Brent Strickland, Angela Abatista, Aurélien Allard, James Andow, Mario Attie, James Beebe, Renatas Berniūnas, Jordane Boudesseul, Matteo Colombo, Fiery Cushman, Rodrigo Diaz, Noah N’Djaye Nikolai van Dongen, Vilius Dranseika, Brian D. Earp, Antonio Gaitán Torres, Ivar Hannikainen, José V. Hernández-Conde, Wenjia Hu, François Jaquet, Kareem Khalifa, Hanna Kim, Markus Kneer, Joshua Knobe, Miklos Kurthy, Anthony Lantian, Shen-yi Liao, Edouard Machery, Tania Moerenhout, Christian Mott, Mark Phelan, Navin Rambharose, Kevin Reuter, Felipe Romero, Paulo Sousa, Jan Sprenger, Emile Thalabard, Kevin Tobia, Hugo Viciana, Daniel Wilkenfeld, and Xiang Zhou
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology (1): 1-36. 2018.
    Responding to recent concerns about the reliability of the published literature in psychology and other disciplines, we formed the X-Phi Replicability Project to estimate the reproducibility of experimental philosophy. Drawing on a representative sample of 40 x-phi studies published between 2003 and 2015, we enlisted 20 research teams across 8 countries to conduct a high-quality replication of each study in order to compare the results to the original published findings. We found that x-phi stud…Read more
  •  253
    Sticky situations: 'Force' and quantifier domains
    Semantics and Linguistic Theory 28. forthcoming.
    When do we judge that someone was forced to do what they did? One relatively well-established finding is that subjects tend to judge that agents were not forced to do actions when those actions violate norms. A surprising discovery of Young & Phillips 2011 is that this effect seems to disappear when we frame the relevant ‘force’-claim in the active rather than passive voice ('X forced Y to φ ' vs. 'Y was forced to φ by X'). Young and Phillips found a similar contrast when the scenario itself shi…Read more
  •  40
    Knowledge wh and False Beliefs: Experimental Investigations
    Journal of Semantics 35 (3): 467-494. 2018.
    A common approach to knowledge wh is to try to reduce it to knowledge that, and in particular to answer-knowledge. On this view, the truth-conditions of a knowledge wh ascription can be given entirely in terms of which answers to the embedded question the subject knows. Against this background, this paper considers the phenomenon of false-belief sensitivity --- a challenge to this common approach to knowledge wh that has recently received a fair amount of attention in the question embedding lite…Read more
  •  484
    New Horizons for a Theory of Epistemic Modals
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2): 309-324. 2019.
    ABSTRACTRecent debate over the semantics and pragmatics of epistemic modals has focused on intuitions about cross-contextual truth-value assessments. In this paper, we advocate a different approach to evaluating theories of epistemic modals. Our strategy focuses on judgments of the incompatibility of two different epistemic possibility claims, or two different truth value assessments of a single epistemic possibility claim. We subject the predictions of existing theories to empirical scrutiny, a…Read more
  •  372
    The psychological representation of modality
    Mind and Language 33 (1): 65-94. 2018.
    A series of recent studies have explored the impact of people's judgments regarding physical law, morality, and probability. Surprisingly, such studies indicate that these three apparently unrelated types of judgments often have precisely the same impact. We argue that these findings provide evidence for a more general hypothesis about the kind of cognition people use to think about possibilities. Specifically, we suggest that this aspect of people's cognition is best understood using an idea de…Read more
  •  48
    Morality constrains the default representation of what is possible
    with Fiery Cushman
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 (18): 4649-4654. 2017.
    The capacity for representing and reasoning over sets of possibilities, or modal cognition, supports diverse kinds of high-level judgments: causal reasoning, moral judgment, language comprehension, and more. Prior research on modal cognition asks how humans explicitly and deliberatively reason about what is possible but has not investigated whether or how people have a default, implicit representation of which events are possible. We present three studies that characterize the role of implicit r…Read more
  •  1265
    True happiness: The role of morality in the folk concept of happiness
    with Christian Mott, Julian De Freitas, June Gruber, and Joshua Knobe
    Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 146 (2): 165-181. 2017.
    Recent scientific research has settled on a purely descriptive definition of happiness that is focused solely on agents’ psychological states (high positive affect, low negative affect, high life satisfaction). In contrast to this understanding, recent research has suggested that the ordinary concept of happiness is also sensitive to the moral value of agents’ lives. Five studies systematically investigate and explain the impact of morality on ordinary assessments of happiness. Study 1 demonstra…Read more
  •  351
    Moral judgments and intuitions about freedom
    with Joshua Knobe
    Psychological Inquiry 20 (1): 30-36. 2009.
    Reeder’s article offers a new and intriguing approach to the study of people’s ordinary understanding of freedom and constraint. On this approach, people use information about freedom and constraint as part of a quasi-scientific effort to make accurate inferences about an agent’s motives. Their beliefs about the agent’s motives then affect a wide variety of further psychological processes, including the process whereby they arrive at moral judgments. In illustrating this new approach, Reeder cit…Read more
  •  206
    The Ordinary Concept of Happiness (and Others Like It)
    with Luke Misenheimer and Joshua Knobe
    Emotion Review 3 (3): 929-937. 2011.
    Consider people’s ordinary concept of belief. This concept seems to pick out a particular psychological state. Indeed, one natural view would be that the concept of belief works much like the concepts one finds in cognitive science – not quite as rigorous or precise, perhaps, but still the same basic type of notion. But now suppose we turn to other concepts that people ordinarily use to understand the mind. Suppose we consider the concept happiness. Or the concept love. How are these concepts to…Read more
  •  1211
    The present studies investigate how the intentions of third parties influence judgments of moral responsibility for other agents who commit immoral acts. Using cases in which an agent acts under some situational constraint brought about by a third party, we ask whether the agent is blamed less for the immoral act when the third party intended for that act to occur. Study 1 demonstrates that third-party intentions do influence judgments of blame. Study 2 finds that third-party intentions only inf…Read more
  •  743
    Past work has demonstrated that people’s moral judgments can influence their judgments in a number of domains that might seem to involve straightforward matters of fact, including judgments about freedom, causation, the doing/allowing distinction, and intentional action. The present studies explore whether the effect of morality in these four domains can be explained by changes in the relevance of alternative possibilities. More precisely, we propose that moral judgment influences the degree to …Read more
  •  461
    Causal superseding
    with Jonathan F. Kominsky, Tobias Gerstenberg, David Lagnado, and Joshua Knobe
    Cognition 137 196-209. 2015.
    When agents violate norms, they are typically judged to be more of a cause of resulting outcomes. In this paper, we suggest that norm violations also affect the causality attributed to other agents, a phenomenon we refer to as "causal superseding." We propose and test a counterfactual reasoning model of this phenomenon in four experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 provide an initial demonstration of the causal superseding effect and distinguish it from previously studied effects. Experiment 3 shows t…Read more
  •  1201
    The Good in Happiness
    In Tania Lombrozo, Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 1, Oxford University Press. 2014.
    There has been a long history of arguments over whether happiness is anything more than a particular set of psychological states. On one side, some philosophers have argued that there is not, endorsing a descriptive view of happiness. Affective scientists have also embraced this view and are reaching a near consensus on a definition of happiness as some combination of affect and life-satisfaction. On the other side, some philosophers have maintained an evaluative view of happiness, on which bein…Read more
  •  464
    The Paradox of Moral Focus
    with Liane Young
    Cognition 119 (2): 166-178. 2011.
    When we evaluate moral agents, we consider many factors, including whether the agent acted freely, or under duress or coercion. In turn, moral evaluations have been shown to influence our (non-moral) evaluations of these same factors. For example, when we judge an agent to have acted immorally, we are subsequently more likely to judge the agent to have acted freely, not under force. Here, we investigate the cognitive signatures of this effect in interpersonal situations, in which one agent …Read more
  •  302
    Apparent Paradoxes in Moral Reasoning; Or how you forced him to do it, even though he wasn’t forced to do it.
    with Liane Young
    Proceedings of the Thirty-Third Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society 138-143. 2011.
    The importance of situational constraint for moral evaluations is widely accepted in philosophy, psychology, and the law. However, recent work suggests that this relationship is actually bidirectional: moral evaluations can also influence our judgments of situational constraint. For example, if an agent is thought to have acted immorally rather than morally, that agent is often judged to have acted with greater freedom and under less situational constraint. Moreover, when cons…Read more