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  1. Normative Judgments and Individual Essence.Julian De Freitas, Kevin P. Tobia, George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (S3).
    A growing body of research has examined how people judge the persistence of identity over time—that is, how they decide that a particular individual is the same entity from one time to the next. While a great deal of progress has been made in understanding the types of features that people typically consider when making such judgments, to date, existing work has not explored how these judgments may be shaped by normative considerations. The present studies demonstrate that normative beliefs do (...)
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  • Habit and Identity: Behavioral, Cognitive, Affective, and Motivational Facets of an Integrated Self.Bas Verplanken & Jie Sui - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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  • Differences in the Evaluation of Generic Statements About Human and Non‐Human Categories.Arber Tasimi, Susan Gelman, Andrei Cimpian & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (7):1934-1957.
    Generic statements express generalizations about categories. Current theories suggest that people should be especially inclined to accept generics that involve threatening information. However, previous tests of this claim have focused on generics about non-human categories, which raises the question of whether this effect applies as readily to human categories. In Experiment 1, adults were more likely to accept generics involving a threatening property for artifacts, but this negativity bias did not also apply to human categories. Experiment 2 examined an alternative (...)
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  • The True Self: A Psychological Concept Distinct From the Self.Nina Strohminger, Joshua Knobe & George Newman - forthcoming - Perspectives on Psychological Science.
    A long tradition of psychological research has explored the distinction between characteristics that are part of the self and those that lie outside of it. Recently, a surge of research has begun examining a further distinction. Even among characteristics that are internal to the self, people pick out a subset as belonging to the true self. These factors are judged as making people who they really are, deep down. In this paper, we introduce the concept of the true self and (...)
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  • When Do Circumstances Excuse? Moral Prejudices and Beliefs About the True Self Drive Preferences for Agency-Minimizing Explanations.Simon Cullen - 2018 - Cognition 180:165-181.
    When explaining human actions, people usually focus on a small subset of potential causes. What leads us to prefer certain explanations for valenced actions over others? The present studies indicate that our moral attitudes often predict our explanatory preferences far better than our beliefs about how causally sensitive actions are to features of the actor's environment. Study 1 found that high-prejudice participants were much more likely to endorse non-agential explanations of an erotic same-sex encounter, such as that one of the (...)
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  • Folk Teleology Drives Persistence Judgments.David Rose, Jonathan Schaffer & Kevin Tobia - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    Two separate research programs have revealed two different factors that feature in our judgments of whether some entity persists. One program—inspired by Knobe—has found that normative considerations affect persistence judgments. For instance, people are more inclined to view a thing as persisting when the changes it undergoes lead to improvements. The other program—inspired by Kelemen—has found that teleological considerations affect persistence judgments. For instance, people are more inclined to view a thing as persisting when it preserves its purpose. Our goal (...)
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  • Good Selves, True Selves: Moral Ignorance, Responsibility, And The Presumption Of Goodness.David Faraci & David Shoemaker - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):606-622.
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  • Origins of the Belief in Good True Selves.Julian De Freitas, Mina Cikara, Igor Grossmann & Rebecca Schlegel - 2017 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 21 (9):634-636.
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  • Teleological Essentialism.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (4):e12725.
    Placeholder essentialism is the view that there is a causal essence that holds category members together, though we may not know what the essence is. Sometimes the placeholder can be filled in by scientific essences, such as when we acquire scientific knowledge that the atomic weight of gold is 79. We challenge the view that placeholders are elaborated by scientific essences. On our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments (...)
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  • Personal Identity, Direction of Change, and Neuroethics.Kevin Patrick Tobia - 2016 - Neuroethics 9 (1):37-43.
    The personal identity relation is of great interest to philosophers, who often consider fictional scenarios to test what features seem to make persons persist through time. But often real examples of neuroscientific interest also provide important tests of personal identity. One such example is the case of Phineas Gage – or at least the story often told about Phineas Gage. Many cite Gage’s story as example of severed personal identity; Phineas underwent such a tremendous change that Gage “survived as a (...)
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  • True Happiness: The Role of Morality in the Folk Concept of Happiness.Jonathan Phillips, Christian Mott, Julian De Freitas, June Gruber & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 146 (2):165-181.
    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 demonstrates that moral judgments influence assessments of happiness not only (...)
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  • The Essence of Essentialism.George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Over the past several decades, psychological essentialism has been an important topic of study, incorporating research from multiple areas of psychology, philosophy and linguistics. At its most basic level, essentialism is the tendency to represent certain concepts in terms of a deeper, unobservable property that is responsible for category membership. Originally, this concept was used to understand people’s reasoning about natural kind concepts, such as TIGER and WATER, but more recently, researchers have identified the emergence of essentialist-like intuitions in a (...)
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  • Addiction, Identity, Morality.Brian D. Earp, Joshua August Skorburg, Jim A. C. Everett & Julian Savulescu - 2019 - Ajob Empirical Bioethics 10 (2):136-153.
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  • Self-Reflection Orients Visual Attention Downward.Yi Liu, Yu Tong & Hong Li - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8.
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  • Intellectual Autonomy, Epistemic Dependence and Cognitive Enhancement.J. Adam Carter - 2017 - Synthese:1-25.
    Intellectual autonomy has long been identified as an epistemic virtue, one that has been championed influentially by Kant, Hume and Emerson. Manifesting intellectual autonomy, at least, in a virtuous way, does not require that we form our beliefs in cognitive isolation. Rather, as Roberts and Wood note, intellectually virtuous autonomy involves reliance and outsourcing to an appropriate extent, while at the same time maintaining intellectual self-direction. In this essay, I want to investigate the ramifications for intellectual autonomy of a particular (...)
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  • Deep Brain Stimulation, Continuity Over Time, and the True Self.Sven Nyholm & Elizabeth O’Neill - 2016 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 25 (4):647-658.
    One of the topics that often comes up in ethical discussions of deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the question of what impact DBS has, or might have, on the patient’s self. This is often understood as a question of whether DBS poses a “threat” to personal identity, which is typically understood as having to do with psychological and/or narrative continuity over time. In this article, we argue that the discussion of whether DBS is a “threat” to continuity over time is (...)
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  • Consistent Belief in a Good True Self in Misanthropes and Three Interdependent Cultures.Julian De Freitas, Hagop Sarkissian, George E. Newman, Igor Grossmann, Felipe De Brigard, Andres Luco & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Cognitive Science 42 (S1):134-160.
    People sometimes explain behavior by appealing to an essentialist concept of the self, often referred to as the true self. Existing studies suggest that people tend to believe that the true self is morally virtuous; that is deep inside, every person is motivated to behave in morally good ways. Is this belief particular to individuals with optimistic beliefs or people from Western cultures, or does it reflect a widely held cognitive bias in how people understand the self? To address this (...)
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  • Corporate Essence and Identity in Criminal Law.Mihailis Diamantis - 2018 - Journal of Business Ethics 154 (4):955-966.
    How can we know whether we are punishing the same corporation that committed some past crime? Though central to corporate criminal justice, legal theorists and philosophers have yet to address the basic question of how corporate identity persists through time. Simple cases, where crime and punishment are close in time and the corporation has changed little, can mislead us into thinking an answer is always easy to come by. The issue becomes more complicated when corporate criminals undergo any number of (...)
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  • Responses to Watson, Talbert, and McKenna.David Shoemaker - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (4):999-1010.
    In this essay, I provide responses to the trenchant critical remarks of Michael McKenna, Matt Talbert, and Gary Watson on my book Responsibility from the Margins. In doing so, I provide some new thoughts on the nature of attributability, what work talk of "capacities" is doing in my tripartite, qualities of will theory of responsibility, and what the relation is between our attitudes and practices of holding others and ourselves responsible.
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  • Non-Psychological Weakness of Will: Self-Control, Stereotypes, and Consequences.Mathieu Doucet & John Turri - 2014 - Synthese 191 (16):3935-3954.
    Prior work on weakness of will has assumed that it is a thoroughly psychological phenomenon. At least, it has assumed that ordinary attributions of weakness of will are purely psychological attributions, keyed to the violation of practical commitments by the weak-willed agent. Debate has recently focused on which sort of practical commitment, intention or normative judgment, is more central to the ordinary concept of weakness of will. We report five experiments that significantly advance our understanding of weakness of will attributions (...)
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  • Attributionism and Moral Responsibility for Implicit Bias.Michael Brownstein - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (4):765-786.
    Implicit intergroup biases have been shown to impact social behavior in many unsettling ways, from disparities in decisions to “shoot” black and white men in a computer simulation to unequal gender-based evaluations of résumés and CVs. It is a difficult question whether, and in what way, agents are responsible for behaviors affected by implicit biases. I argue that in paradigmatic cases agents are responsible for these behaviors in the sense that the behavior is “attributable” to them. That is, behaviors affected (...)
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  • Dual Character Concepts.Kevin Reuter - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (1):e12557.
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  • Counterfactual and Semi-Factual Thoughts in Moral Judgements About Failed Attempts to Harm.Mary Parkinson & Ruth M. J. Byrne - 2017 - Thinking and Reasoning 23 (4):409-448.
    People judge that an individual who attempts to harm someone but fails should be blamed and punished more when they imagine how things could have turned out worse, compared to when they imagine how things could have turned out the same, or when they think only about what happened. This moral counterfactual amplification effect occurs when people believe the protagonist had no reason for the attempt to harm, and not when the protagonist had a reason, as Experiment 1 shows. It (...)
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