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Eric Mandelbaum
CUNY Graduate Center
  1. Attitude, Inference, Association: On the Propositional Structure of Implicit Bias.Eric Mandelbaum - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):629-658.
    The overwhelming majority of those who theorize about implicit biases posit that these biases are caused by some sort of association. However, what exactly this claim amounts to is rarely specified. In this paper, I distinguish between different understandings of association, and I argue that the crucial senses of association for elucidating implicit bias are the cognitive structure and mental process senses. A hypothesis is subsequently derived: if associations really underpin implicit biases, then implicit biases should be modulated by counterconditioning (...)
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  2. Thinking is Believing.Eric Mandelbaum - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (1):55-96.
    Inquiry, Volume 57, Issue 1, Page 55-96, February 2014.
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  3. Troubles with Bayesianism: An Introduction to the Psychological Immune System.Eric Mandelbaum - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (2):141-157.
    A Bayesian mind is, at its core, a rational mind. Bayesianism is thus well-suited to predict and explain mental processes that best exemplify our ability to be rational. However, evidence from belief acquisition and change appears to show that we do not acquire and update information in a Bayesian way. Instead, the principles of belief acquisition and updating seem grounded in maintaining a psychological immune system rather than in approximating a Bayesian processor.
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  4. Seeing and Conceptualizing: Modularity and the Shallow Contents of Perception.Eric Mandelbaum - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):267-283.
    After presenting evidence about categorization behavior, this paper argues for the following theses: 1) that there is a border between perception and cognition; 2) that the border is to be characterized by perception being modular (and cognition not being so); 3) that perception outputs conceptualized representations, so views that posit that the output of perception is solely non-conceptual are false; and 4) that perceptual content consists of basic-level categories and not richer contents.
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  5. Inferential Transitions.Jake Quilty-Dunn & Eric Mandelbaum - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):532-547.
    ABSTRACTThis paper provides a naturalistic account of inference. We posit that the core of inference is constituted by bare inferential transitions, transitions between discursive mental representations guided by rules built into the architecture of cognitive systems. In further developing the concept of BITs, we provide an account of what Boghossian [2014] calls ‘taking’—that is, the appreciation of the rule that guides an inferential transition. We argue that BITs are sufficient for implicit taking, and then, to analyse explicit taking, we posit (...)
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  6. Against Alief.Eric Mandelbaum - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):197-211.
    This essay attempts to clarify the nature and structure of aliefs. First I distinguish between a robust notion of aliefs and a deflated one. A robust notion of aliefs would introduce aliefs into our psychological ontology as a hitherto undiscovered kind, whereas a deflated notion of aliefs would identify aliefs as a set of pre-existing psychological states. I then propose the following dilemma: one the one hand, if aliefs have propositional content, then it is unclear exactly how aliefs differ from (...)
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  7. Explaining the Abstract/Concrete Paradoxes in Moral Psychology: The NBAR Hypothesis.Eric Mandelbaum & David Ripley - 2012 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):351-368.
    For some reason, participants hold agents more responsible for their actions when a situation is described concretely than when the situation is described abstractly. We present examples of this phenomenon, and survey some attempts to explain it. We divide these attempts into two classes: affective theories and cognitive theories. After criticizing both types of theories we advance our novel hypothesis: that people believe that whenever a norm is violated, someone is responsible for it. This belief, along with the familiar workings (...)
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  8. Modularist Explanations of Experience and Other Illusions.Eric Mandelbaum - 2019 - Consciousness and Cognition 76 (76):102828.
    Debates about modularity invariably involve a crucial premise about how visual illusions are experienced. This paper argues that these debates are wrongheaded, and that experience of illusions is orthogonal to the core issue of the modularity hypothesis: informational encapsulation.
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  9. Can Resources Save Rationality? ‘Anti-Bayesian’ Updating in Cognition and Perception.Eric Mandelbaum, Isabel Won, Steven Gross & Chaz Firestone - 2020 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 143:e16.
    Resource rationality may explain suboptimal patterns of reasoning; but what of “anti-Bayesian” effects where the mind updates in a direction opposite the one it should? We present two phenomena — belief polarization and the size-weight illusion — that are not obviously explained by performance- or resource-based constraints, nor by the authors’ brief discussion of reference repulsion. Can resource rationality accommodate them?
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  10. Believing Without Reason, Or: Why Liberals Shouldn't Watch Fox News.Eric Mandelbaum & Jake Quilty-Dunn - 2015 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 22:42-52.
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  11. Non-Inferential Transitions: Imagery and Association.Eric Mandelbaum & Jake Quilty-Dunn - forthcoming - In Timothy Chan & Anders Nes (eds.), Inference and Consciousness. New York, NY, USA:
    Unconscious logical inference seems to rely on the syntactic structures of mental representations (Quilty-Dunn & Mandelbaum 2018). Other transitions, such as transitions using iconic representations and associative transitions, are harder to assimilate to syntax-based theories. Here we tackle these difficulties head on in the interest of a fuller taxonomy of mental transitions. Along the way we discuss how icons can be compositional without having constituent structure, and expand and defend the “symmetry condition” on Associationism (the idea that associative links and (...)
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  12. Numerical Architecture.Eric Mandelbaum - 2013 - Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (1):367-386.
    The idea that there is a “Number Sense” (Dehaene, 1997) or “Core Knowledge” of number ensconced in a modular processing system (Carey, 2009) has gained popularity as the study of numerical cognition has matured. However, these claims are generally made with little, if any, detailed examination of which modular properties are instantiated in numerical processing. In this article, I aim to rectify this situation by detailing the modular properties on display in numerical cognitive processing. In the process, I review literature (...)
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  13. The Automatic and the Ballistic: Modularity Beyond Perceptual Processes.Eric Mandelbaum - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1147-1156.
    Perceptual processes, in particular modular processes, have long been understood as being mandatory. But exactly what mandatoriness amounts to is left to intuition. This paper identifies a crucial ambiguity in the notion of mandatoriness. Discussions of mandatory processes have run together notions of automaticity and ballisticity. Teasing apart these notions creates an important tool for the modularist's toolbox. Different putatively modular processes appear to differ in their kinds of mandatoriness. Separating out the automatic from the ballistic can help the modularist (...)
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  14. Locke's Answer to Molyneux's Thought Experiment.Mike Bruno & Eric Mandelbaum - 2010 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (2):165-80.
    Philosophical discussions of Molyneux's problem within contemporary philosophy of mind tend to characterize the problem as primarily concerned with the role innately known principles, amodal spatial concepts, and rational cognitive faculties play in our perceptual lives. Indeed, for broadly similar reasons, rationalists have generally advocated an affirmative answer, while empiricists have generally advocated a negative one, to the question Molyneux posed after presenting his famous thought experiment. This historical characterization of the dialectic, however, somewhat obscures the role Molyneux's problem has (...)
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  15. The Architecture of Belief: An Essay on the Unbearable Automaticity of Believing.Eric Mandelbaum - 2010 - Dissertation, UNC-Chapel Hill
    People cannot contemplate a proposition without believing that proposition. A model of belief fixation is sketched and used to explain hitherto disparate, recalcitrant, and somewhat mysterious psychological phenomena and philosophical paradoxes. Toward this end I also contend that our intuitive understanding of the workings of introspection is mistaken. In particular, I argue that propositional attitudes are beyond the grasp of our introspective capacities. We learn about our beliefs from observing our behavior, not from introspecting our stock beliefs. -/- The model (...)
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    Expectations and Morality: A Dilemma.Eric Mandelbaum & David Ripley - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):346-346.
    We propose Knobe's explanation of his cases encounters a dilemma: Either his explanation works and, counterintuitively, morality is not at the heart of these effects; or morality is at the heart of the effects and Knobe's explanation does not succeed. This dilemma is then used to temper the use of the Knobe paradigm for discovering moral norms.
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  17.  89
    The Outlier Paradox: The Role of Iterative Ensemble Coding in Discounting Outliers.Michael Epstein, Jake Quilty-Dunn, Eric Mandelbaum & Tatiana Emmanouil - forthcoming - Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 1.
    Ensemble perception—the encoding of objects by their group properties—is known to be resistant to outlier noise. However, this resistance is somewhat paradoxical: how can the visual system determine which stimuli are outliers without already having derived statistical properties of the ensemble? A simple solution would be that ensemble perception is not a simple, one-step process; instead, outliers are detected through iterative computations that identify items with high deviance from the mean and reduce their weight in the representation over time. Here (...)
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  18. Assimilation and Control: Belief at the Lowest Levels.Eric Mandelbaum - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):441-447.
    The core of Zimmerman’s picture posits an inverse correlation between an action’s automaticity and belief’s role in the action’s execution. This proposal faces serious problems. First, high-attention, high-control actions don’t seem to heighten awareness of one’s beliefs. Second, low-attention, low-control actions are caused by the same states at play when executing high-attention, high-control actions, in which case there is no ontological difference in the states involved in these behaviors. Third, on Zimmerman’s view it is unclear what it is for a (...)
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  19.  80
    What is the Narrow Content of Fence (and Other Definitionally and Interpretationally Primitive Concepts)?Eric Mandelbaum - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):138-138.
    It's unclear what narrow content is interpersonally shared for concepts that don't originate from core cognition yet are still definitionally and interpretationally primitive. A primary concern is that for these concepts, one cannot draw a principled distinction between inferences that are content determining and those that aren't. The lack of a principled distinction imperils an account of interpersonally shared concepts.
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  20. The Science of Belief: A Progress Report.Nicolas Porot & Eric Mandelbaum - forthcoming - WIREs Cognitive Science 1.
    The empirical study of belief is emerging at a rapid clip, uniting work from all corners of cognitive science. Reliance on belief in understanding and predicting behavior is widespread. Examples can be found, inter alia, in the placebo, attribution theory, theory of mind, and comparative psychological literatures. Research on belief also provides evidence for robust generalizations, including about how we fix, store, and change our beliefs. Evidence supports the existence of a Spinozan system of belief fixation: one that is automatic (...)
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  21. Poetic Opacity: How to Paint Things with Words.Jesse J. Prinz & Eric Mandelbaum - 2015 - In John Gibson (ed.), The Philosophy of Poetry. Oxford University Press. pp. 63-87.
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