•  90
    Knowledge and truth: A skeptical challenge
    with John Turri
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1): 93-101. 2020.
    It is widely accepted in epistemology that knowledge is factive, meaning that only truths can be known. We argue that this theory creates a skeptical challenge: because many of our beliefs are only approximately true, and therefore false, they do not count as knowledge. We consider several responses to this challenge and propose a new one. We propose easing the truth requirement on knowledge to allow approximately true, practically adequate representations to count as knowledge. In addition to a…Read more
  •  145
    Knowledge before Belief
    with Jonathan Phillips, Fiery Cushman, Ori Friedman, Alia Martin, John Turri, Laurie Santos, and Joshua Knobe
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1-37. forthcoming.
    Research on the capacity to understand others’ minds has tended to focus on representations of beliefs, which are widely taken to be among the most central and basic theory of mind representations. Representations of knowledge, by contrast, have received comparatively little attention and have often been understood as depending on prior representations of belief. After all, how could one represent someone as knowing something if one doesn't even represent them as believing it? Drawing on a wide …Read more
  •  71
    Knowledge, adequacy, and approximate truth
    with John Turri
    Consciousness and Cognition 83 102950. 2020.
    Approximation involves representing things in ways that might be close to the truth but are nevertheless false. Given the widespread reliance on approximations in science and everyday life, here we ask whether it is conceptually possible for false approximations to qualify as knowledge. According to the factivity account, it is impossible to know false approximations, because knowledge requires truth. According to the representational adequacy account, it is possible to know false approximations…Read more
  •  115
    Impossible Intentions
    American Philosophical Quarterly. forthcoming.
    Philosophers are divided on whether it is possible to intend believed-impossible outcomes. Several thought experiments in the action theory literature suggest that this is conceptually possible, though they have not been tested in ordinary social cognition. We conducted three experiments to determine whether, on the ordinary view, it is conceptually possible to intend believed-impossible outcomes. Our findings indicate that participants firmly countenance the possibility of intending believed-im…Read more
  •  83
    Deciding without Intending
    with Alexandra M. Nolte, David Rose, and John Turri
    Journal of Cognition 3 (1): 12. 2020.
    According to a consensus view in philosophy, “deciding” and “intending” are synonymous expressions. Researchers have recently challenged this view with the discovery of a counterexample in which ordinary speakers attribute deciding without intending. The aim of this paper is to investigate the strengths and limits of this discovery. The result of this investigation revealed that the evidence challenging the consensus view is strong. We replicate the initial finding against consensus and extend i…Read more
  •  119
    The claim that common sense regards free will and moral responsibility as compatible with determinism has played a central role in both analytic and experimental philosophy. In this paper, we show that evidence in favor of this “natural compatibilism” is undermined by the role that indeterministic metaphysical views play in how people construe deterministic scenarios. To demonstrate this, we re-examine two classic studies that have been used to support natural compatibilism. We find that althoug…Read more
  • Gender and Philosophical Intuition
    with Stephen Stich
    In Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Experimental Philosophy: Volume 2, Oxford University Press Usa. 2013.
    This chapter addresses the issue of the underrepresentation of women in philosophy by presenting an account regarding gender differences in philosophical institutions. It begins with an analysis of data on the gender gap in academic philosophy; followed by a discussion about the term “intuition,”as well as the tendency to appeal to intuitions during philosophical arguments. It then presents empirical data about gender differences derived from a series of experiments such as a Gettier-style case …Read more
  •  39
    Thinking Off Your Feet: How Empirical Psychology Vindicates Armchair Philosophy, by Michael Strevens. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019. Pp. xii + 345.
  •  36
    Theoretical Motivation of “Ought Implies Can”
    Philosophia 48 (1): 83-94. 2020.
    A standard principle in ethics is that moral obligation entails ability, or that “ought implies can”. A strong case has been made that this principle is not well motivated in moral psychology. This paper presents an analogous case against the theoretical motivation for the principle. The principle is in tension with several foundational areas of ethical theorizing, including research on apologies, excuses, promises, moral dilemmas, moral language, disability, and moral agency. Across each of the…Read more
  •  28
    Error possibility, contextualism, and bias
    Synthese 1-14. forthcoming.
    A central theoretical motivation for epistemic contextualism is that it can explain something that invariantism cannot. Specifically, contextualism claims that judgments about “knowledge” are sensitive to the salience of error possibilities and that this is explained by the fact that salience shifts the evidential standard required to truthfully say someone “knows” something when those possibilities are made salient. This paper presents evidence that undermines this theoretical motivation for ep…Read more
  •  42
    Inability and obligation in intellectual evaluation
    with John Turri
    Episteme 17 (4): 475-497. 2020.
    If moral responsibilities prescribe how agents ought to behave, are there also intellectual responsibilities prescribing what agents ought to believe? Many theorists have argued that there cannot be intellectual responsibilities because they would require the ability to control whether one believes, whereas it is impossible to control whether one believes. This argument appeals to an “ought implies can” principle for intellectual responsibilities. The present paper tests for the presence of inte…Read more
  •  236
    Implicit attitudes and the ability argument
    Philosophical Studies 176 (11): 2961-2990. 2019.
    According to one picture of the mind, decisions and actions are largely the result of automatic cognitive processing beyond our ability to control. This picture is in tension with a foundational principle in ethics that moral responsibility for behavior requires the ability to control it. The discovery of implicit attitudes contributes to this tension. According to the ability argument against moral responsibility, if we cannot control implicit attitudes, and implicit attitudes cause behavior, t…Read more
  •  129
    Mind-Brain Dichotomy, Mental Disorder, and Theory of Mind
    Erkenntnis 85 (2): 511-526. 2020.
    The tendency to draw mind-brain dichotomies and evaluate mental disorders dualistically arises in both laypeople and mental health professionals, leads to biased judgments, and contributes to mental health stigmatization. This paper offers a theory identifying an underlying source of these evaluations in social practice. According to this theory, dualistic evaluations are rooted in two mechanisms by which we represent and evaluate the beliefs of others in folk psychology and theory of mind: the …Read more
  •  156
    Ability, Responsibility, and Global Justice
    Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 34 (3): 577-590. 2017.
    Many have argued we have a moral obligation to assist others in need, but given the scope of global suffering, how far does this obligation extend? According to one traditional philosophical view, the obligation to help others is limited by our ability to help them, or by the principle that “ought implies can”. This view is primarily defended on the grounds that it is a core principle of commonsense moral psychology. This paper reviews findings from experimental philosophy in cognitive science d…Read more
  •  358
    Experimental Philosophy
    with Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols, Philip Robbins, Hagop Sarkissian, and Tamler Sommers
    Annual Review of Psychology 63 (1): 81-99. 2012.
    Experimental philosophy is a new interdisciplinary field that uses methods normally associated with psychology to investigate questions normally associated with philosophy. The present review focuses on research in experimental philosophy on four central questions. First, why is it that people's moral judgments appear to influence their intuitions about seemingly nonmoral questions? Second, do people think that moral questions have objective answers, or do they see morality as fundamentally rela…Read more
  •  233
    Epistemic Injustice in Social Cognition
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2): 294-308. 2019.
    ABSTRACTSilencing is a practice that disrupts linguistic and communicative acts, but its relationship to knowledge and justice is not fully understood. Prior models of epistemic injustice tend to c...
  •  131
    Choosing and refusing: doxastic voluntarism and folk psychology
    Philosophical Studies 175 (10): 2507-2537. 2018.
    A standard view in contemporary philosophy is that belief is involuntary, either as a matter of conceptual necessity or as a contingent fact of human psychology. We present seven experiments on patterns in ordinary folk-psychological judgments about belief. The results provide strong evidence that voluntary belief is conceptually possible and, granted minimal charitable assumptions about folk-psychological competence, provide some evidence that voluntary belief is psychologically possible. We al…Read more
  •  279
    Rini 2015 [Synthese 192, (2): 431-452] claims to have identified a methodological flaw that invalidates the results of two experimental studies [Schwitzgebel & Cushman (2012) Mind and Language 27, (2): 135-153; Tobia, Buckwalter & Stich (2013) Philosophical Psychology 26, (5): 629–638] demonstrating order effects in professional philosophical intuition. This conclusion is reached on the basis of unsupported empirical premises for which no evidence is given. Subsequent findings in experimental co…Read more
  •  269
    In the Thick of Moral Motivation
    with John Turri
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2): 433-453. 2017.
    We accomplish three things in this paper. First, we provide evidence that the motivational internalism/externalism debate in moral psychology could be a false dichotomy born of ambiguity. Second, we provide further evidence for a crucial distinction between two different categories of belief in folk psychology: thick belief and thin belief. Third, we demonstrate how careful attention to deep features of folk psychology can help diagnose and defuse seemingly intractable philosophical disagreement…Read more
  •  441
    Belief through Thick and Thin
    Noûs 49 (4): 748-775. 2015.
    We distinguish between two categories of belief—thin belief and thick belief—and provide evidence that they approximate genuinely distinct categories within folk psychology. We use the distinction to make informative predictions about how laypeople view the relationship between knowledge and belief. More specifically, we show that if the distinction is genuine, then we can make sense of otherwise extremely puzzling recent experimental findings on the entailment thesis (i.e. the widely held philo…Read more
  •  1059
    People suffering from severe monothematic delusions, such as Capgras, Fregoli, or Cotard patients, regularly assert extraordinary and unlikely things. For example, some say that their loved ones have been replaced by impostors. A popular view in philosophy and cognitive science is that such monothematic delusions aren't beliefs because they don't guide behaviour and affect in the way that beliefs do. Or, if they are beliefs, they are somehow anomalous, atypical, or marginal beliefs. We present e…Read more
  •  126
    Competence, reflective equilibrium, and dual-system theories
    with Stephen Stich
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (5). 2011.
    A critique of inferences from 'is' to 'ought' plays a central role in Elqayam and Evans' defense of descriptivism. However, the reflective equilibrium strategy described by Goodman and embraced by Rawls, Cohen and many others poses an important challenge to that critique. Dual system theories may help respond to that challenge.
  •  361
    Moral Intuitions: Are Philosophers Experts?
    with Kevin Tobia and Stephen Stich
    Philosophical Psychology 26 (5): 629-638. 2013.
    Recently psychologists and experimental philosophers have reported findings showing that in some cases ordinary people's moral intuitions are affected by factors of dubious relevance to the truth of the content of the intuition. Some defend the use of intuition as evidence in ethics by arguing that philosophers are the experts in this area, and philosophers' moral intuitions are both different from those of ordinary people and more reliable. We conducted two experiments indicating that philoso…Read more
  •  168
    We report two experiments exploring the perception of how contemporary philosophy is often conducted. We find that (1) participants associate philosophy with the practice of conducting thought experiments and collating intuitions about them, and (2) that this form of inquiry is viewed much less favourably than the typical form of inquiry in psychology: research conducted by teams using controlled experiments and observation. We also found (3) an effect whereby relying on intuition is viewed more…Read more
  •  123
    Surveying Philosophers: a Response to Kuntz & Kuntz
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (4): 515-524. 2012.
    Experimental philosophers have recently questioned the use of intuitions as evidence in philosophical methods. J. R. Kuntz and J. R.C. Kuntz (2011) conduct an experiment suggesting that these critiques fail to be properly motivated because they fail to capture philosophers' preferred conceptions of intuition‐use. In this response, it is argued that while there are a series of worries about the design of this study, the data generated by Kuntz and Kuntz support, rather than undermine, the motivat…Read more
  •  222
    The Epistemic Side-Effect Effect
    Mind and Language 25 (4): 474-498. 2010.
    Knobe (2003a, 2003b, 2004b) and others have demonstrated the surprising fact that the valence of a side-effect action can affect intuitions about whether that action was performed intentionally. Here we report the results of an experiment that extends these findings by testing for an analogous effect regarding knowledge attributions. Our results suggest that subjects are less likely to find that an agent knows an action will bring about a side-effect when the effect is good than when it is bad. …Read more
  •  212
    The Role of Justification in the Ordinary Concept of Scientific Progress
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1): 151-166. 2014.
    Alexander Bird and Darrell Rowbottom have argued for two competing accounts of the concept of scientific progress. For Bird, progress consists in the accumulation of scientific knowledge. For Rowbottom, progress consists in the accumulation of true scientific beliefs. Both appeal to intuitions elicited by thought experiments in support of their views, and it seems fair to say that the debate has reached an impasse. In an attempt to avoid this stalemate, we conduct a systematic study of the facto…Read more
  •  667
    Knowledge, Stakes, and Mistakes
    with Jonathan Schaffer
    Noûs 49 (2). 2015.
    According to a prominent claim in recent epistemology, people are less likely to ascribe knowledge to a high stakes subject for whom the practical consequences of error are severe, than to a low stakes subject for whom the practical consequences of error are slight. We offer an opinionated "state of the art" on experimental research about the role of stakes in knowledge judgments. We draw on a first wave of empirical studies--due to Feltz & Zarpentine (2010), May et al (2010), and Buckwalter (2…Read more