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Helen De Cruz
Oxford Brookes University
  1. Prestige Bias: An Obstacle to a Just Academic Philosophy.Helen De Cruz - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
    This paper examines the role of prestige bias in shaping academic philosophy, with a focus on its demographics. I argue that prestige bias exacerbates the structural underrepresentation of minorities in philosophy. It works as a filter against (among others) philosophers of color, women philosophers, and philosophers of low socio-economic status. As a consequence of prestige bias our judgments of philosophical quality become distorted. I outline ways in which prestige bias in philosophy can be mitigated.
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  2.  58
    Etiological Challenges to Religious Practices.Helen De Cruz - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (4):329–340.
    There is a common assumption that evolutionary explanations of religion undermine religious beliefs. Do etiological accounts similarly affect the rationality of religious practices? To answer this question, this paper looks at two influential evolutionary accounts of ritual, the hazard-precaution model and costly signaling theory. It examines whether Cuneo’s account of ritual knowledge as knowing to engage God can be maintained in the light of these evolutionary accounts. While the evolutionary accounts under consideration are not metaphysically incompatible with the idea that (...)
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  3. Where Philosophical Intuitions Come From.Helen De Cruz - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):233-249.
    Intuitions play a central role in analytic philosophy, but their psychological basis is little understood. This paper provides an empirically-informed, psychological char- acterization of philosophical intuitions. Drawing on McCauley’s distinction between maturational and practiced naturalness, I argue that philosophical intuitions originate from several early-developed, specialized domains of core knowledge (maturational naturalness). Eliciting and deploying such intuitions in argumentative contexts is the domain of philosophical expertise, thus philosophical intuitions are also practiced nat- ural. This characterization has implications for the evidential value (...)
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  4.  75
    Religious Beliefs and Philosophical Views: A Qualitative Study.Helen De Cruz - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (3):477-504.
    Philosophy of religion is often regarded as a philosophical discipline in which irrelevant influences, such as upbringing and education, play a pernicious role. This paper presents results of a qualitative survey among academic philosophers of religion to examine the role of such factors in their work. In light of these findings, I address two questions: an empirical one (whether philosophers of religion are influenced by irrelevant factors in forming their philosophical attitudes) and an epistemological one (whether the influence of irrelevant (...)
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  5.  58
    Religious Conversion, Transformative Experience, and Disagreement.Helen De Cruz - 2018 - Philosophia Christi 20 (1):265-276.
    Religious conversion gives rise to disagreement with one’s former self and with family and friends. Because religious conversion is personally and epistemically transformative, it is difficult to judge whether a former epistemic peer is still one’s epistemic peer post-conversion, just like it is hard for the convert to assess whether she is now in a better epistemic position than prior to her conversion. Through Augustine’s De Utilitate Credendi (The Usefulness of Belief) I show that reasoned argument should play a crucial (...)
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  6. A Natural History of Natural Theology. The Cognitive Science of Theology and Philosophy of Religion.Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt - 2015 - MIT Press.
    [from the publisher's website] Questions about the existence and attributes of God form the subject matter of natural theology, which seeks to gain knowledge of the divine by relying on reason and experience of the world. Arguments in natural theology rely largely on intuitions and inferences that seem natural to us, occurring spontaneously—at the sight of a beautiful landscape, perhaps, or in wonderment at the complexity of the cosmos—even to a nonphilosopher. In this book, Helen De Cruz and Johan De (...)
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  7. Mathematical Symbols as Epistemic Actions.De Cruz Helen & De Smedt Johan - 2013 - Synthese 190 (1):3-19.
    Recent experimental evidence from developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience indicates that humans are equipped with unlearned elementary mathematical skills. However, formal mathematics has properties that cannot be reduced to these elementary cognitive capacities. The question then arises how human beings cognitively deal with more advanced mathematical ideas. This paper draws on the extended mind thesis to suggest that mathematical symbols enable us to delegate some mathematical operations to the external environment. In this view, mathematical symbols are not only used to (...)
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  8.  55
    Testimony and Children’s Acquisition of Number Concepts.Helen De Cruz - 2018 - In Sorin Bangu (ed.), Naturalizing Logico-Mathematical Knowledge. Approaches from Philosophy, Psychology and Cognitive Science. London, UK: pp. 172-186.
    An enduring puzzle in philosophy and developmental psychology is how young children acquire number concepts, in particular the concept of natural number. Most solutions to this problem conceptualize young learners as lone mathematicians who individually reconstruct the successor function and other sophisticated mathematical ideas. In this chapter, I argue for a crucial role of testimony in children’s acquisition of number concepts, both in the transfer of propositional knowledge (e.g., the cardinality concept), and in knowledge-how (e.g., the counting routine).
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  9. A Cognitive Approach to the Earliest Art.Johan de Smedt & Helen de Cruz - 2011 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69 (4):379-389.
    This paper takes a cognitive perspective to assess the significance of some Late Palaeolithic artefacts (sculptures and engraved objects) for philosophicalconcepts of art. We examine cognitive capacities that are necessary to produceand recognize objects that are denoted as art. These include the ability toattribute and infer design (design stance), the ability to distinguish between themateriality of an object and its meaning (symbol-mindedness), and an aesthetic sensitivity to some perceptual stimuli. We investigate to what extent thesecognitive processes played a role in (...)
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  10. Numerical Cognition and Mathematical Realism.Helen De Cruz - 2016 - Philosophers' Imprint 16.
    Humans and other animals have an evolved ability to detect discrete magnitudes in their environment. Does this observation support evolutionary debunking arguments against mathematical realism, as has been recently argued by Clarke-Doane, or does it bolster mathematical realism, as authors such as Joyce and Sinnott-Armstrong have assumed? To find out, we need to pay closer attention to the features of evolved numerical cognition. I provide a detailed examination of the functional properties of evolved numerical cognition, and propose that they prima (...)
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  11. The Relevance of Hume's Natural History of Religion for Cognitive Science of Religion.Helen De Cruz - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (3):653-674.
    Hume was a cognitive scientist of religion avant la lettre. His Natural History of Religion (1757 [2007]) locates the origins of religion in human nature. This paper explores similarities between some of his ideas and the cognitive science of religion, the multidisciplinary study of the psychological origins of religious beliefs. It also considers Hume’s distinction between two questions about religion: its foundation in reason (the domain of natural theology and philosophy of religion) and its origin in human nature (the domain (...)
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  12. The Epistemic Value of Speculative Fiction.Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz - 2015 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):58-77.
    Speculative fiction, such as science fiction and fantasy, has a unique epistemic value. We examine similarities and differences between speculative fiction and philosophical thought experiments in terms of how they are cognitively processed. They are similar in their reliance on mental prospection, but dissimilar in that fiction is better able to draw in readers (transportation) and elicit emotional responses. By its use of longer, emotionally poignant narratives and seemingly irrelevant details, speculative fiction allows for a better appraisal of the consequences (...)
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  13. Religious Disagreement: An Empirical Study Among Academic Philosophers.Helen De Cruz - 2017 - Episteme 14 (1).
    Religious disagreement is an emerging topic of interest in social epistemology. Little is known about how philosophers react to religious disagreements in a professional context, or how they think one should respond to disagreement. This paper presents results of an empirical study on religious disagreement among philosophers. Results indicate that personal religious beliefs, philosophical training, and recent changes in religious outlook have a significant impact on philosophers' assessments of religious disagreement. They regard peer disagreement about religion as common, and most (...)
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  14. The Enduring Appeal of Natural Theological Arguments.Helen De Cruz - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (2):145-153.
    Natural theology is the branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to gain knowledge of God through non-revealed sources. In a narrower sense, natural theology is the discipline that presents rational arguments for the existence of God. Given that these arguments rarely directly persuade those who are not convinced by their conclusions, why do they enjoy an enduring appeal? This article examines two reasons for the continuing popularity of natural theological arguments: (i) they appeal to intuitions that humans robustly hold (...)
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  15. Is Linguistic Determinism an Empirically Testable Hypothesis?Helen De Cruz - 2009 - Logique Et Analyse 52 (208):327-341.
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  16. Cognitive Science of Religion and the Study of Theological Concepts.Helen De Cruz - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):487-497.
    The cultural transmission of theological concepts remains an underexplored topic in the cognitive science of religion (CSR). In this paper, I examine whether approaches from CSR, especially the study of content biases in the transmission of beliefs, can help explain the cultural success of some theological concepts. This approach reveals that there is more continuity between theological beliefs and ordinary religious beliefs than CSR authors have hitherto recognized: the cultural transmission of theological concepts is influenced by content biases that also (...)
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  17. Reformed and Evolutionary Epistemology and the Noetic Effects of Sin.Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (1):49-66.
    Despite their divergent metaphysical assumptions, Reformed and evolutionary epistemologists have converged on the notion of proper basicality. Where Reformed epistemologists appeal to God, who has designed the mind in such a way that it successfully aims at the truth, evolutionary epistemologists appeal to natural selection as a mechanism that favors truth-preserving cognitive capacities. This paper investigates whether Reformed and evolutionary epistemological accounts of theistic belief are compatible. We will argue that their chief incompatibility lies in the noetic effects of sin (...)
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  18. Is Teaching Children Young Earth Creationism Child Abuse?Helen De Cruz - 2013 - The Philosophers' Magazine 63:21-23.
    Richard Dawkins has argued on several occasions that bringing up your child religiously is a form of child abuse. According to Dawkins, teaching children about religion is fine (it helps them to understand cultural references, for instance), but indoctrinating children – by which Dawkins means any form of education that teaches religious beliefs as facts – is morally wrong and harmful. Dawkins is not alone: the American theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, for instance, recently argued that teaching Young Earth Creationism (henceforth (...)
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  19. Delighting in Natural Beauty: Joint Attention and the Phenomenology of Nature Aesthetics.Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (4):167-186.
    Empirical research in the psychology of nature appreciation suggests that humans across cultures tend to evaluate nature in positive aesthetic terms, including a sense of beauty and awe. They also frequently engage in joint attention with other persons, whereby they are jointly aware of sharing attention to the same event or object. This paper examines how, from a natural theological perspective, delight in natural beauty can be conceptualized as a way of joining attention to creation. Drawing on an analogy between (...)
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  20.  54
    Intuitions and Arguments: Cognitive Foundations of Argumentation in Natural Theology.Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (2):57-82.
    This paper examines the cognitive foundations of natural theology: the intuitions that provide the raw materials for religious arguments, and the social context in which they are defended or challenged. We show that the premises on which natural theological arguments are based rely on intuitions that emerge early in development, and that underlie our expectations for everyday situations, e.g., about how causation works, or how design is recognized. In spite of the universality of these intuitions, the cogency of natural theological (...)
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  21.  75
    Het 'Universele Zuur' van de Evolutionaire Psychologie?Maarten Boudry, Helen De Cruz, Stefaan Blancke & Johan De Smedt - 2011 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 73 (2):287-305.
    In a previous issue of Tijdschrift voor Filosofie, Filip Buekens argues that evolutionary psychology (EP), or some interpretations thereof, have a corrosive impact on our ‘manifest self-image’. Buekens wants to defend and protect the global adequacy of this manifest self-image in the face of what he calls evolutionary revisionism. Although we largely agree with Buekens’ central argument, we criticize his analysis on several accounts, making some constructive proposals to strengthen his case. First, Buekens’ argument fails to target EP, because his (...)
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  22.  17
    Religious Disagreement.Helen De Cruz - 2019 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This Element examines what we can learn from religious disagreement, focusing on disagreement with possible selves and former selves, the epistemic significance of religious agreement, the problem of disagreements between religious experts, and the significance of philosophy of religion. Helen De Cruz shows how religious beliefs of others constitute significant higher-order evidence. At the same time, she advises that we should not necessarily become agnostic about all religious matters, because our cognitive background colors the way we evaluate evidence. This allows (...)
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