•  3479
    Identifying and Defending the Hard Core of Virtue Ethics
    Journal of Philosophical Research 38 233-260. 2013.
    Virtue ethics has been challenged on empirical grounds by philosophical interpreters of situationist social psychology. Challenges are necessarily challenges to something or other, so it’s only possible to understand the situationist challenge to virtue ethics if we have an antecedent grasp on virtue ethics itself. To this end, I first identify the non-negotiable “hard core” of virtue ethics with the conjunction of nine claims, arguing that virtue ethics does make substantive empirical assumpt…Read more
  •  2654
    We are addressing this letter to the editors of Philosophical Psychology after reading an article they decided to publish in the recent vol. 33, issue 1. The article is by Nathan Cofnas and is entitled “Research on group differences in intelligence: A defense of free inquiry” (2020). The purpose of our letter is not to invite Cofnas’s contribution into a broader dialogue, but to respectfully voice our concerns about the decision to publish the manuscript, which, in our opinion, fails to meet a r…Read more
  •  2011
    Experimental moral philosophy
    with Don Loeb and Alex Plakias
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1-32. 2018.
    Experimental moral philosophy emerged as a methodology in the last decade of the twentieth century, as a branch of the larger experimental philosophy (X-Phi) approach. Experimental moral philosophy is the empirical study of moral intuitions, judgments, and behaviors. Like other forms of experimental philosophy, it involves gathering data using experimental methods and using these data to substantiate, undermine, or revise philosophical theories. In this case, the theories in question concern the…Read more
  •  1944
    How should emotions figure in scientific practice? I begin by distinguishing three broad answers to this question, ranging from pessimistic to optimistic. Confirmation bias and motivated numeracy lead us to cast a jaundiced eye on the role of emotions in scientific inquiry. However, reflection on the essential motivating role of emotions in geniuses makes it less clear that science should be evacuated of emotion. I then draw on Friedrich Nietzsche’s perspectivism to articulate a twenty-first cen…Read more
  •  1810
    The Tenacity of the Intentional Prior to the Genealogy
    Journal of Nietzsche Studies 40 (1): 29-46. 2010.
    I have argued elsewhere that the psychological aspects of Nietzsche’s later works are best understood from a psychodynamic point of view. Nietzsche holds a view I dubbed the tenacity of the intentional (T): when an intentional state loses its object, a new object replaces the original; the state does not disappear entirely. In this essay I amend and clarify (T) to (T``): When an intentional state with a sub-propositional object loses its object, the affective component of the state persists wi…Read more
  •  1490
    Friendship and the Structure of Trust
    In Alberto Masala & Jonathan Webber (eds.), From Personality to Virtue, Oxford University Press. pp. 186-206. 2016.
    In this paper, I describe some of what I take to be the more interesting features of friendship, then explore the extent to which other virtues can be reconstructed as sharing those features. I use trustworthiness as my example throughout, but I think that other virtues such as generosity & gratitude, pride & respect, and the producer’s & consumer’s sense of humor can also be analyzed with this model. The aim of the paper is not to demonstrate that all moral virtues are exactly like friendship…Read more
  •  1195
    Can Real Social Epistemic Networks Deliver the Wisdom of Crowds?
    with Emily Sullivan, Max Sondag, Ignaz Rutter, Wouter Meulemans, Scott Cunningham, and Bettina Speckmann
    In Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 1, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    In this paper, we explain and showcase the promising methodology of testimonial network analysis and visualization for experimental epistemology, arguing that it can be used to gain insights and answer philosophical questions in social epistemology. Our use case is the epistemic community that discusses vaccine safety primarily in English on Twitter. In two studies, we show, using both statistical analysis and exploratory data visualization, that there is almost no neutral or ambivalent discuss…Read more
  •  1144
    In his contribution, Mark Alfano lays out a new (to virtue theory) naturalistic way of determining what the virtues are, what it would take for them to be realized, and what it would take for them to be at least possible. This method is derived in large part from David Lewis’s development of Frank Ramsey’s method of implicit definition. The basic idea is to define a set of terms not individually but in tandem. This is accomplished by assembling all and only the common sense platitudes that invol…Read more
  •  1029
    Nietzsche, naturalism, and the tenacity of the intentional
    Journal of Nietzsche Studies 44 (3): 457-464. 2013.
    In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche demands that “psychology shall be<br>recognized again as the queen of the sciences.” While one might cast a dubious glance at the “again,” many of Nietzsche’s insights were indeed psychological, and many of his arguments invoke psychological premises. In Genealogy, he criticizes the “English psychologists” for the “inherent psychological absurdity” of their theory of the origin of good and bad, pointing out the implausibility of the claim that the utility of un…Read more
  •  974
    Placebo Effects and Informed Consent
    American Journal of Bioethics 15 (10): 3-12. 2015.
    The concepts of placebos and placebo effects refer to extremely diverse phenomena. I recommend dissolving the concepts of placebos and placebo effects into loosely related groups of specific mechanisms, including expectation-fulfillment, classical conditioning, and attentional-somatic feedback loops. If this approach is on the right track, it has three main implications for the ethics of informed consent. First, because of the expectation-fulfillment mechanism, the process of informing cannot be…Read more
  •  799
    The philosophical basis of algorithmic recourse
    with Suresh Venkatasubramanian
    Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency Conference 2020. forthcoming.
    Philosophers have established that certain ethically important val- ues are modally robust in the sense that they systematically deliver correlative benefits across a range of counterfactual scenarios. In this paper, we contend that recourse – the systematic process of reversing unfavorable decisions by algorithms and bureaucracies across a range of counterfactual scenarios – is such a modally ro- bust good. In particular, we argue that two essential components of a good life – temporally extend…Read more
  •  741
    Intelligence, race, and psychological testing
    with Latasha Holden and Andrew Conway
    In Naomi Zack (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Race, . 2016.
    This chapter has two main goals: to update philosophers on the state of the art in the scientific psychology of intelligence, and to explain and evaluate challenges to the measurement invariance of intelligence tests. First, we provide a brief history of the scientific psychology of intelligence. Next, we discuss the metaphysics of intelligence in light of scientific studies in psychology and neuroimaging. Finally, we turn to recent skeptical developments related to measurement invariance. These…Read more
  •  728
    YouTube has been implicated in the transformation of users into extremists and conspiracy theorists. The alleged mechanism for this radicalizing process is YouTube’s recommender system, which is optimized to amplify and promote clips that users are likely to watch through to the end. YouTube optimizes for watch-through for economic reasons: people who watch a video through to the end are likely to then watch the next recommended video as well, which means that more advertisements can be served t…Read more
  •  719
    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
  •  676
    Virtue Epistemology
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1-51. 2011.
    Contemporary virtue epistemology (hereafter ‘VE’) is a diverse collection of approaches to epistemology. At least two central tendencies are discernible among the approaches. First, they view epistemology as a normative discipline. Second, they view intellectual agents and communities as the primary focus of epistemic evaluation, with a focus on the intellectual virtues and vices embodied in and expressed by these agents and communities. This entry introduces many of the most important results o…Read more
  •  670
    Constructing and validating a scale of inquisitive curiosity
    with Kathryn Iurino, Brian Robinson, Markus Christen, and Paul Stey
    In Ilhan Inan, Lani Watson, Dennis Whitcomb & Safiye Yigit (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Curiosity, Rowman & Littlefield. 2018.
    We advance the understanding of the philosophy and psychology of curiosity by operationalizing and constructing an empirical measure of Nietzsche’s conception of inquisitive curiosity, expressed by the German term Wissbegier, (“thirst for knowledge” or “need/impetus to know”) and Neugier (“curiosity” or “inquisitiveness”). First, we show that existing empirical measures of curiosity do not tap the construct of inquisitive curiosity, though they may tap related constructs such as idle curiosity a…Read more
  •  654
    Virtue and Vice Attributions in the Business Context: An Experimental Investigation (review)
    with Brian Robinson and Paul Stey
    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
  •  638
  •  609
    Extended knowledge, the recognition heuristic, and epistemic injustice
    In Duncan Pritchard, Jesper Kallestrup, Orestis Palermos & Adam Carter (eds.), Extended Knowledge, Oxford University Press. pp. 239-256. 2018.
    We argue that the interaction of biased media coverage and widespread employment of the recognition heuristic can produce epistemic injustices. First, we explain the recognition heuristic as studied by Gerd Gigerenzer and colleagues, highlighting how some of its components are largely external to, and outside the control of, the cognitive agent. We then connect the recognition heuristic with recent work on the hypotheses of embedded, extended, and scaffolded cognition, arguing that the recogniti…Read more
  •  593
    Technological Seduction and Self-Radicalization
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association (3): 298-322. 2018.
    Many scholars agree that the Internet plays a pivotal role in self-radicalization, which can lead to behaviours ranging from lone-wolf terrorism to participation in white nationalist rallies to mundane bigotry and voting for extremist candidates. However, the mechanisms by which the Internet facilitates self-radicalization are disputed; some fault the individuals who end up self-radicalized, while others lay the blame on the technology itself. In this paper, we explore the role played by technol…Read more
  •  535
    Vulnerability in Social Epistemic Networks
    with Emily Sullivan, Max Sondag, Ignaz Rutter, Wouter Meulemans, Scott Cunningham, and Bettina Speckmann
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 28 (5): 1-23. 2020.
    Social epistemologists should be well-equipped to explain and evaluate the growing vulnerabilities associated with filter bubbles, echo chambers, and group polarization in social media. However, almost all social epistemology has been built for social contexts that involve merely a speaker-hearer dyad. Filter bubbles, echo chambers, and group polarization all presuppose much larger and more complex network structures. In this paper, we lay the groundwork for a properly social epistemology that g…Read more
  •  534
    This paper brings together two erstwhile distinct strands of philosophical inquiry: the extended mind hypothesis and the situationist challenge to virtue theory. According to proponents of the extended mind hypothesis, the vehicles of at least some mental states (beliefs, desires, emotions) are not located solely within the confines of the nervous system (central or peripheral) or even the skin of the agent whose states they are. When external props, tools, and other systems are suitably integ…Read more
  •  517
    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
  •  503
    Despite the recent surge of interest in Nietzsche’s moral psychology and his conceptions of character and virtue in particular, little attention has been paid to his treatment of the relation between character traits and the terms that designate them. In this paper, I argue for an interpretation of this relation: Nietzsche thinks there is a looping effect between the psychological disposition named by a character trait-term and the practice of using that term.
  •  475
    Nietzsche's Moral Psychology
    Cambridge University Press. 2019.
    Introduction 1 Précis 2 Methodology: Introducing digital humanities to the history of philosophy 2.1 Introduction 2.2 Core constructs 2.3 Operationalizing the constructs 2.4 Querying the Nietzsche Source 2.5 Cleaning the data 2.6 Visualizations and preliminary analysis 2.6.1 Visualization of the whole corpus 2.6.2 Book visualizations 2.7 Summary Nietzsche’s Socio-Moral Framework 3 From instincts and drives to types 3.1 Introduction 3.2 The state of the art …Read more
  •  469
    Gossip as a Burdened Virtue
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3): 473-82. 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
  •  447
    Strawson argues that we should understand moral responsibility in terms of our practices of holding responsible and taking responsibility. The former covers what is commonly referred to as backward-looking responsibility , while the latter covers what is commonly referred to as forward-looking responsibility . We consider new technologies and interventions that facilitate assignment of responsibility. Assigning responsibility is best understood as the second- or third-personal analogue of takin…Read more
  •  425
    Epistemic situationism: An Extended Prolepsis
    In Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Epistemic Situationism, Oxford University Press. 2017.
    This paper is an extended prolepsis in favor of epistemic situationism, the thesis that epistemic virtues are not sufficiently widely distributed for a virtue-theoretic constraint on knowledge to apply without leading to skepticism. It deals with four objections to epistemic situation: 1) that virtuous dispositions are not required for knowledge, 2) that the Big Five or Big Six personality model proves that intellectual virtues are a reasonable ideal, 3) that the cognitive-affective personality …Read more
  •  423
    Virtue, situationism, and the cognitive value of art
    The Monist 99 (2): 144-158. 2016.
    Virtue-based moral cognitivism holds that at least some of the value of some art consists in conveying knowledge about the nature of virtue and vice. We explore here a challenge to this view, which extends the so-called situationist challenge to virtue ethics. Evidence from social psychology indicates that individuals’ behavior is often susceptible to trivial and normatively irrelevant situational influences. This evidence not only challenges approaches to ethics that emphasize the role of virtu…Read more