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Kevin P. Tobia [10]Kevin Patrick Tobia [3]Kevin Tobia [2]
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Kevin P. Tobia
Yale University
  1. Personal Identity.David Shoemaker & Kevin P. Tobia - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford:
    Our aim in this entry is to articulate the state of the art in the moral psychology of personal identity. We begin by discussing the major philosophical theories of personal identity, including their shortcomings. We then turn to recent psychological work on personal identity and the self, investigations that often illuminate our person-related normative concerns. We conclude by discussing the implications of this psychological work for some contemporary philosophical theories and suggesting fruitful areas for future work on personal identity.
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  2. Water Is and Is Not H2O.Kevin P. Tobia, George Newman & Joshua Knobe - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    The Twin Earth thought experiment invites us to consider a liquid that has all of the superficial properties associated with water (clear, potable, etc.) but has entirely different deeper causal properties (composed of “XYZ” rather than of H2O). Although this thought experiment was originally introduced to illuminate questions in the theory of reference, it has also played a crucial role in empirically informed debates within the philosophy of psychology about people’s ordinary natural kind concepts. Those debates have sought to accommodate (...)
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  3. Experimental Philosophy and the Philosophical Tradition.Stephen Stich & Kevin P. Tobia - 2016 - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 5.
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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. Does Religious Belief Infect Philosophical Analysis?Kevin P. Tobia - 2016 - Religion, Brain and Behavior 6 (1):56-66.
    One popular conception of natural theology holds that certain purely rational arguments are insulated from empirical inquiry and independently establish conclusions that provide evidence, justification, or proof of God’s existence. Yet, some raise suspicions that philosophers and theologians’ personal religious beliefs inappropriately affect these kinds of arguments. I present an experimental test of whether philosophers and theologians’ argument analysis is influenced by religious commitments. The empirical findings suggest religious belief affects philosophical analysis and offer a challenge to theists and atheists, (...)
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  7. Personal Identity and the Phineas Gage Effect.Kevin P. Tobia - 2015 - Analysis 75 (3):396-405.
    Phineas Gage’s story is typically offered as a paradigm example supporting the view that part of what matters for personal identity is a certain magnitude of similarity between earlier and later individuals. Yet, reconsidering a slight variant of Phineas Gage’s story indicates that it is not just magnitude of similarity, but also the direction of change that affects personal identity judgments; in some cases, changes for the worse are more seen as identity-severing than changes for the better of comparable magnitude. (...)
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  8. How People Judge What Is Reasonable.Kevin P. Tobia - 2018 - Alabama Law Review 70 (2):293-359.
    A classic debate concerns whether reasonableness should be understood statistically (e.g., reasonableness is what is common) or prescriptively (e.g., reasonableness is what is good). This Article elaborates and defends a third possibility. Reasonableness is a partly statistical and partly prescriptive “hybrid,” reflecting both statistical and prescriptive considerations. Experiments reveal that people apply reasonableness as a hybrid concept, and the Article argues that a hybrid account offers the best general theory of reasonableness. -/- First, the Article investigates how ordinary people judge (...)
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  9. 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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  10. A Defense of Scalar Utilitarianism.Kevin Patrick Tobia - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (3):283-294.
    Scalar Utilitarianism eschews foundational notions of rightness and wrongness in favor of evaluative comparisons of outcomes. I defend Scalar Utilitarianism from two critiques, the first against an argument for the thesis that Utilitarianism's commitments are fundamentally evaluative, and the second that Scalar Utilitarianism does not issue demands or sufficiently guide action. These defenses suggest a variety of more plausible Scalar Utilitarian interpretations, and I argue for a version that best represents a moral theory founded on evaluative notions, and offers better (...)
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  11.  80
    Personal Identity and Moral Psychology.David Shoemaker & Kevin P. Tobia - forthcoming - In John M. Doris & Manuel Vargas (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  12.  93
    Rule Consequentialism and the Problem of Partial Acceptance.Kevin Tobia - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):643-652.
    Most plausible moral theories must address problems of partial acceptance or partial compliance. The aim of this paper is to examine some proposed ways of dealing with partial acceptance problems as well as to introduce a new Rule Utilitarian suggestion. Here I survey three forms of Rule Utilitarianism, each of which represents a distinct approach to solving partial acceptance issues. I examine Fixed Rate, Variable Rate, and Optimum Rate Rule Utilitarianism, and argue that a new approach, Maximizing Expectation Rate Rule (...)
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  13. Disparate Statistics.Kevin P. Tobia - 2017 - Yale Law Journal 126 (8):2382-2420.
    Statistical evidence is crucial throughout disparate impact’s three-stage analysis: during (1) the plaintiff’s prima facie demonstration of a policy’s disparate impact; (2) the defendant’s job-related business necessity defense of the discriminatory policy; and (3) the plaintiff’s demonstration of an alternative policy without the same discriminatory impact. The circuit courts are split on a vital question about the “practical significance” of statistics at Stage 1: Are “small” impacts legally insignificant? For example, is an employment policy that causes a one percent disparate (...)
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  14.  84
    Rule-Consequentialism's Assumptions.Kevin P. Tobia - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (4):458-471.
    Rule-Consequentialism faces “the problem of partial acceptance”: How should the ideal code be selected given the possibility that its rules may not be universally accepted? A new contender, “Calculated Rates” Rule-Consequentialism claims to solve this problem. However, I argue that Calculated Rates merely relocates the partial acceptance question. Nevertheless, there is a significant lesson from this failure of Calculated Rates. Rule-Consequentialism’s problem of partial acceptance is more helpfully understood as an instance of the broader problem of selecting the ideal code (...)
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  15.  66
    Philosophical Method and Intuitions as Assumptions.Kevin Patrick Tobia - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (4-5):575-594.
    Many philosophers claim to employ intuitions in their philosophical arguments. Others contest that no such intuitions are used frequently or at all in philosophy. This article suggests and defends a conception of intuitions as part of the philosophical method: intuitions are special types of philosophical assumptions to which we are invited to assent, often as premises in argument, that may serve an independent function in philosophical argument and that are not formed through a purely inferential process. A series of philosophical (...)
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