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  1. Natural Compatibilism, Indeterminism, and Intrusive Metaphysics.Thomas Nadelhoffer, David Rose, Wesley Buckwalter & Shaun Nichols - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (8):e12873.
    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 although people give apparently compatibilist responses, this (...)
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  • Mentalizing Objects.David Rose - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy 4.
    We have a mentalistic view of objects. This is due to the interdependence of folk psychology and folk physics, where these are interconnected by what I call Teleological Commingling. When considering events that don’t involve agents, we naturally default to tracking intentions, goal-directed processes, despite the fact that agents aren’t involved. We have a deep-seated intentionality bias which is the result of the pervasive detection of agency cues, such as order or non-randomness. And this gives rise to the Agentive Worldview: (...)
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  • Engineering virtue: constructionist virtue ethics.Jakob Ohlhorst - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Virtue ethics is traditionally a conservative project. It analyses the virtues that humanity has been relying on since antiquity. This conservatism unduly limits the potential of virtue ethics to contribute to moral progress. Instead, we should pay more attention to constructionist virtue ethics with the help of conceptual engineering. I will argue that revising and ameliorating the virtue concepts which a community uses directly and indirectly leads to a change of the virtues that exist in this community. By revising and (...)
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  • In defense of teleological intuitions.Gergely Kertész & Daniel Kodaj - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (4):1421-1437.
    According to recent work in experimental philosophy, folk intuitions concerning various metaphysical issues are heavily teleological. The experiments in question, which belong to a broader research program in psychology about ‘promiscuous teleology’, have featured prominently in debates about the methodology of metaphysics, with some authors claiming that the folk’s teleological bias debunks everyday intuitions concerning composition, persistence, and organisms. The present paper argues for a possibility that is very rarely discussed in that debate, namely the idea that the folk’s intuitions (...)
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  • The Role of Teleological Thinking in Judgments of Persistence of Musical Works.Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė & Vilius Dranseika - 2022 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 80 (1):42-57.
    In his article “The Ontology of Musical Versions: Introducing the Hypothesis of Nested Types,” Nemesio Puy raises a hypothesis that continuity of the purpose is both a necessary and a sufficient condition for musical work’s identity. Puy’s hypothesis is relevant to two topics in cognitive psychology and experimental philosophy. The first topic is the prevalence of teleological reasoning about various objects and its influence on persistence and categorization judgments. The second one is the importance of an artist’s intention in the (...)
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  • Psychological Essentialism and the Structure of Concepts.Eleonore Neufeld - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12823.
    Psychological essentialism is the hypothesis that humans represent some categories as having an underlying essence that unifies members of a category and is causally responsible for their typical attributes and behaviors. Throughout the past several decades, psychological essentialism has emerged as an extremely active area of research in cognitive science. More recently, it has also attracted attention from philosophers, who put the empirical results to use in many different philosophical areas, ranging from philosophy of mind and cognitive science to social (...)
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  • Understanding “Why:” How Implicit Questions Shape Explanation Preferences.Sehrang Joo, Sami R. Yousif & Frank C. Keil - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (2):e13091.
    Cognitive Science, Volume 46, Issue 2, February 2022.
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  • Purposes in law and in life: An experimental investigation of purpose attribution.Almeida Guilherme, Joshua Knobe, Noel Struchiner & Ivar Hannikainen - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence.
    There has been considerable debate in legal philosophy about how to attribute purposes to rules. Separately, within cognitive science, there has been a growing body of research concerned with questions about how people ordinarily attribute purposes. Here, we argue that these two separate fields might be connected by experimental jurisprudence. Across four studies, we find evidence for the claim that people use the same criteria to attribute purposes to physical objects and to rules. In both cases, purpose attributions appear to (...)
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  • The Compact Compendium of Experimental Philosophy.Alexander Max Bauer & Stephan Kornmesser (eds.) - 2023 - Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.
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  • Are There Cross-Cultural Legal Principles? Modal Reasoning Uncovers Procedural Constraints on Law.Ivar R. Hannikainen, Kevin P. Tobia, Guilherme da F. C. F. de Almeida, Raff Donelson, Vilius Dranseika, Markus Kneer, Niek Strohmaier, Piotr Bystranowski, Kristina Dolinina, Bartosz Janik, Sothie Keo, Eglė Lauraitytė, Alice Liefgreen, Maciej Próchnicki, Alejandro Rosas & Noel Struchiner - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (8):e13024.
    Despite pervasive variation in the content of laws, legal theorists and anthropologists have argued that laws share certain abstract features and even speculated that law may be a human universal. In the present report, we evaluate this thesis through an experiment administered in 11 different countries. Are there cross‐cultural principles of law? In a between‐subjects design, participants (N = 3,054) were asked whether there could be laws that violate certain procedural principles (e.g., laws applied retrospectively or unintelligible laws), and also (...)
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  • Teleology beyond explanation.Sehrang Joo, Sami R. Yousif & Joshua Knobe - 2021 - Mind and Language 38 (1):20-41.
    People often think of objects teleologically. For instance, we might understand a hammer in terms of its purpose of driving in nails. But how should we understand teleological thinking in the first place? This paper separates mere teleology (simply ascribing a telos) and teleological explanation (thinking something is explained by its telos) by examining cases where an object was designed for one purpose but is now widely used for a different purpose. Across four experiments, we show that teleology judgments and (...)
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  • Teleological essentialism across development.Rose David, Sara Jaramillo, Shaun Nichols & Zachary Horne - forthcoming - Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
    Do young children have a teleological conception of the essence of natural kinds? We tested this by examining how the preservation or alteration of an animal’s purpose affected children’s persistence judgments (N = 40, ages 4 - 12, Mean Age = 7.04, 61% female). We found that even when surface-level features of an animal (e.g., a bee) were preserved, if the entity’s purpose changed (e.g., the bee now spins webs), children were more likely to categorize the entity as a member (...)
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  • Against Teleological Essentialism.Eleonore Neufeld - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (4):e12961.
    In two recent papers, Rose and Nichols present evidence in favor of the view that humans represent category essences in terms of a telos, such as honey-making, and not in terms of scientific essences, such as bee DNA. In this paper, I challenge their interpretation of the evidence, and show that it is directly predicted by the main theory they seek to undermine. I argue that their results can be explained as instances of diagnostic reasoning about scientific essences.
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  • Are we Teleologically Essentialist?Sehrang Joo & Sami R. Yousif - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (11):e13202.
    People may conceptualize certain categories as held together by a category-specific “essence”—some unobservable, critical feature that causes the external features of a category to emerge. But what is the nature of this essence? Recently, Rose and Nichols have argued that something's essence is fundamentally its telos or purpose. However, Neufeld has challenged this work on theoretical grounds, arguing that these effects arise only because people infer an underlying internal change when reasoning about a change in telos. In Neufeld's view, it (...)
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  • The Context of Suffering: Empirical Insights into the Problem of Evil.Ian M. Church, Isaac Warchol & Justin Barrett - 2022 - TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 6 (1):1-16.
    While the evidential problem of evil has been enormously influential within the contemporary philosophical literature—William Rowe’s 1979 formulation in “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” being the most seminal—no academic research has explored what cognitive mechanisms might underwrite the appearance of pointlessness in target examples of suffering. In this exploratory paper, we show that the perception of pointlessness in the target examples of suffering that underwrite Rowe’s seminal formulation of the problem of evil is contingent on the (...)
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  • Essentializing Inferences.Katherine Ritchie - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (4):570-591.
    Predicate nominals (e.g., “is a female”) seem to label or categorize their subjects, while their adjectival correlates (e.g., “is female”) merely attribute a property. Predicate nominals also elicit essentializing inferential judgments about inductive potential and stable explanatory membership. Data from psychology and semantics support that this distinction is robust and productive. I argue that while the difference between predicate nominals and predicate adjectives is elided by standard semantic theories, it ought not be. I then develop and defend a psychologically motivated (...)
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