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  1. True Beauty.Ryan P. Doran - forthcoming - British Journal of Aesthetics.
    What is the nature of the concept BEAUTY? Does it differ fundamentally from nearby concepts such as PRETTINESS? It is argued that BEAUTY, but not PRETTINESS, is a dual-character concept. Across a number of contexts, it is proposed that BEAUTY has a descriptive sense that is characterised by, inter alia, having intrinsically pleasing appearances; and a normative sense associated with deeply-held values. This account is supported across two, pre-registered, studies (N=500), and by drawing on analysis of corpus data. It is (...)
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  • What makes a life meaningful? Folk intuitions about the content and shape of meaningful lives.Joffrey Fuhrer & Florian Cova - 2023 - Philosophical Psychology 36 (3):477-509.
    It is often assumed that most people want their life to be “meaningful”. But what exactly does this mean? Though numerous research have documented which factors lead people to experience their life as meaningful and people’s theories about the best ways to secure a meaningful life, investigations in people’s concept of meaningful life are scarce. In this paper, we investigate the folk concept of a meaningful life by studying people’s third-person attribution of meaningfulness. We draw on hypotheses from the philosophical (...)
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  • Tracing thick and thin concepts through corpora.Kevin Https://Orcidorg Reuter, Lucien Baumgartner & Pascale Willemsen - 2024 - Language and Cognition.
    Philosophers and linguists currently lack the means to reliably identify evaluative concepts and measure their evaluative intensity. Using a corpus-based approach, we present a new method to distinguish evaluatively thick and thin adjectives like ‘courageous’ and ‘awful’ from descriptive adjectives like ‘narrow,’ and from value-associated adjectives like ‘sunny.’ Our study suggests that the modifiers ‘truly’ and ‘really’ frequently highlight the evaluative dimension of thick and thin adjectives, allowing for them to be uniquely classified. Based on these results, we believe our (...)
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  • Experimental Philosophy of Consciousness.Kevin Reuter - forthcoming - In Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Experimental philosophy of consciousness aims to investigate and explain our thinking about phenomenally conscious states. Based on empirical studies, researchers have argued (a) that we lack a folk concept of consciousness, (b) that we do not think entities like Microsoft feel regret, (c) that unfelt pains are widely accepted, and (d) that people do not attribute phenomenally conscious states to duplicated hamsters. In this article, I review these and other intriguing claims about people’s understanding of phenomenal consciousness. In doing so, (...)
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  • Moral barrier to compassion: How perceived badness of sufferers dampens observers' compassionate responses.Hongbo Yu, Jie Chen, Bernadette Dardaine & Fan Yang - 2023 - Cognition 237 (C):105476.
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  • Happiness is from the soul: The nature and origins of our happiness concept.Fan Yang - 2021 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 150 (2):276-288.
    What is happiness? Is happiness about feeling good or about being good? Across five studies, we explored the nature and origins of our happiness concept developmentally and crosslinguistically. We found that surprisingly, children as young as age 4 viewed morally bad people as less happy than morally good people, even if the characters all have positive subjective states (Study 1). Moral character did not affect attributions of physical traits (Study 2), and was more powerfully weighted than subjective states in attributions (...)
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  • Dual character concepts.Kevin Https://Orcidorg Reuter - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 14 (1):e12557.
    Some of philosophy's most central concepts, including art, friendship, and happiness, have been argued to be dual character concepts. Their main characteristic is that they encode not only a descriptive dimension but also an independent normative dimension for categorization. This article introduces the class of dual character concepts and discusses various accounts of their content and structure. A specific focus will be placed on their relation to two other classes of concepts, thick concepts and natural kind concepts. The study of (...)
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  • Why do evaluative judgments affect emotion attributions? The roles of judgments about fittingness and the true self.Michael Prinzing, Brian D. Earp & Joshua Knobe - 2023 - Cognition 239 (C):105579.
    Past research has found that the value of a person's activities can affect observers' judgments about whether that person is experiencing certain emotions (e.g., people consider morally good agents happier than morally bad agents). One proposed explanation for this effect is that emotion attributions are influenced by judgments about fittingness (whether the emotion is merited). Another hypothesis is that emotion attributions are influenced by judgments about the agent's true self (whether the emotion reflects how the agent feels “deep down”). We (...)
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  • No Peace for the Wicked? Immorality Is Thought to Disrupt Intrapersonal Harmony, Impeding Positive Psychological States and Happiness.Michael M. Prinzing & Barbara L. Fredrickson - 2023 - Cognitive Science 47 (11):e13371.
    Why do people think that someone living a morally bad life is less happy than someone living a good life? One possibility is that judging whether someone is happy involves not only attributing positive psychological states (i.e., lots of pleasant emotions, few unpleasant emotions, and satisfaction with life) but also forming an evaluative judgment. Another possibility is that moral considerations affect happiness attributions because they tacitly influence attributions of positive psychological states. In two studies, we found strong support for the (...)
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  • Are there really any dual‐character concepts?David Plunkett & Jonathan Phillips - 2023 - Philosophical Perspectives 37 (1):340-369.
    There has been growing excitement in recent years about “dual‐character” concepts. Philosophers have argued that such concepts can help us make progress on a range of philosophical issues, from aesthetics to law to metaphysics. Dual‐character concepts are thought to have a distinctive internal structure, which relates a set of descriptive features to an abstract value, and which allows people to use either the descriptive features or the abstract value for determining the extension of the concept. Here, we skeptically investigate the (...)
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  • “They're Not True Humans:” Beliefs about Moral Character Drive Denials of Humanity.Ben Phillips - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (2):e13089.
    A puzzling feature of paradigmatic cases of dehumanization is that the perpetrators often attribute uniquely human traits to their victims. This has become known as the “paradox of dehumanization.” We address the paradox by arguing that the perpetrators think of their victims as human in one sense, while denying that they are human in another sense. We do so by providing evidence that people harbor a dual character concept of humanity. Research has found that dual character concepts have two independent (...)
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  • From Homo Economicus to Homo Eudaimonicus: Anthropological and Axiological Transformations of the Concept of Happiness in A Secular Age.U. I. Lushch-Purii - 2021 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 19:61-74.
    Purpose. The paper is aimed to explicate a recently emerging anthropological model of homo eudaimonicus from its secular framework perspective. Theoretical basis. Secularity is considered in three aspects with reference to Taylor’s and Habermas’ ideas: as a common public sphere, as a phenomenological experience of living in a Secular Age, and as a background for happiness to become a major common value among other secular values in the Age of Authenticity. The modifications of happiness interpretation are traced from Early Modernity (...)
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  • Difference and Robustness in the Patterns of Philosophical Intuition Across Demographic Groups.Joshua Knobe - 2023 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 14 (2):435-455.
    In a recent paper, I argued that philosophical intuitions are surprisingly robust both across demographic groups and across development. Machery and Stich reply by reviewing a series of studies that do show significant differences in philosophical intuition between different demographic groups. This is a helpful point, which gets at precisely the issues that are most relevant here. However, even when one looks at those very studies, one finds truly surprising robustness. In other words, despite the presence of statistically significant differences (...)
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  • The pervasive impact of ignorance.Lara Kirfel & Jonathan Phillips - 2023 - Cognition 231 (C):105316.
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  • Happiness and Desire Satisfaction.Chris Heathwood - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):57-83.
    This paper develops and defends a novel version of a relatively neglected category of theory of the nature of happiness: the desire-satisfaction theory. My account is similar in its fundamentals to Wayne Davis’s theory of happiness-as-subjective-desire-satisfaction. After arguing that this is the best general way to proceed for the desire-based approach, I develop an improved version of subjective desire satisfactionism in light of recent arguments in the happiness literature.
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  • Forgiveness, Gratitude, Happiness, and Prosocial Bystander Behavior in Bullying.Fernanda Inéz García-Vázquez, Angel Alberto Valdés-Cuervo, Belén Martínez-Ferrer & Lizeth Guadalupe Parra-Pérez - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
    The relationships among character strengths (forgiveness and gratitude), happiness, and pro-social bystander behavior in bullying were analyzed. The sample includes 500 (early adolescents) and 500 (middle adolescents) of both genders, between 12 and 18 years old (M age = 14.70, SD = 1.58). Two structural equation models were calculated. Results of the first model indicated that forgiveness, gratitude, and happiness had a direct positive relation with pro-social bystander behavior. Furthermore, human strengths were indirectly related to prosocial behavior in bullying for (...)
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  • Your visual system provides all the information you need to make moral judgments about generic visual events.Julian De Freitas & George A. Alvarez - 2018 - Cognition 178 (C):133-146.
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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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  • Feeling the right way: Normative influences on people's use of emotion concepts.Rodrigo Díaz & Kevin Reuter - 2020 - Mind and Language 36 (3):451-470.
    It is generally assumed that emotion concepts are purely descriptive. However, recent investigations suggest that the concept of happiness includes information about the morality of the agent's life. In this study, we argue that normative influences on emotion concepts are not restricted to happiness and are not about moral norms. In a series of studies, we show that emotion attribution is influenced by whether the agent's psychological and bodily states fit the situation in which they are experienced. People consider that (...)
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  • Beyond Value in Moral Phenomenology: The Role of Epistemic and Control Experiences.James F. M. Cornwell & E. Tory Higgins - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
    Many researchers in moral psychology approach the topic of moral judgment in terms of value—assessing outcomes of behaviors as either harmful or helpful which makes the behaviors wrong or right, respectively. However, recent advances in motivation science suggest that other motives may be at work as well—namely truth (wanting to establish what is real) and control (wanting to manage what happens). In this review, we argue that the epistemic experiences of observers of (im)moral behaviors, and the perceived epistemic experiences of (...)
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  • Happiness.Dan Haybron - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    There are roughly two philosophical literatures on “happiness,” each corresponding to a different sense of the term. One uses ‘happiness’ as a value term, roughly synonymous with well-being or flourishing. The other body of work uses the word as a purely descriptive psychological term, akin to ‘depression’ or ‘tranquility’. An important project in the philosophy of happiness is simply getting clear on what various writers are talking about: what are the important meanings of the term and how do they connect? (...)
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  • The Folk Theory of Well-Being.John Bronsteen, Brian Leiter, Jonathan Masur & Kevin Tobia - forthcoming - In Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 5.
    What constitutes a “good” life—not necessarily a morally good life, but a life that is good for the person who lived it? In response to this question of “well-being," philosophers have offered three significant answers: A good life is one in which a person can satisfy their desires (“Desire-Satisfaction” or “Preferentism”), one that includes certain good features (“Objectivism”), or one in which pleasurable states dominate or outweigh painful ones (“Hedonism”). To adjudicate among these competing theories, moral philosophers traditionally gather data (...)
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  • Well-being and Pluralism.Polly Mitchell & Anna Alexandrova - forthcoming - Journal of Happiness Studies.
    It is a commonly expressed sentiment that the science and philosophy of well-being would do well to learn from each other. Typically such calls identify mistakes and bad practices on both sides that would be remedied if scientists picked the right bit of philosophy and philosophers picked the right bit of science. We argue that the differences between philosophers and scientists thinking about well-being are more difficult to reconcile than such calls suggest, and that pluralism is central to this task. (...)
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  • The Average Isn’t Normal.Joshua Knobe & Henry Cowles - manuscript
    Within contemporary science, it is common practice to compare data points to the _average_, i.e., to the statistical mean. Because this practice is so familiar, it might at first appear not to be the sort of thing that requires explanation. But recent research in cognitive science gives us reason to adopt the opposite perspective. Research on the cognitive processes involved in people’s ordinary efforts to make sense of the world suggests that, instead of using a purely statistical notion of the (...)
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