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Michael Prinzing [8]Michael Madden Prinzing [1]
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Michael Prinzing
Baylor University
  1. Positive psychology is value-laden—It's time to embrace it.Michael Prinzing - 2020 - Journal of Positive Psychology 16 (3):289-297.
    Evaluative claims and assumptions are ubiquitous in positive psychology. Some will deny this. But such disavowals are belied by the literature. Some will consider the presence of evaluative claims a problem and hope to root them out. But this is a mistake. If positive psychology is to live up to its raison d’être – to be the scientific study of the psychological components of human flourishing or well-being – it must make evaluative claims. Well-being consists in those things that are (...)
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  2. Explanatory perfectionism: A fresh take on an ancient theory.Michael Prinzing - 2020 - Analysis (4):704-712.
    The ‘Big 3’ theories of well-being—hedonism, desire-satisfactionism, and objective list theory—attempt to explain why certain things are good for people by appealing to prudentially good-making properties. But they don’t attempt to explain why the properties they advert to make something good for a person. Perfectionism, the view that well-being consists in nature-fulfilment, is often considered a competitor to these views (or else a version of the objective list theory). However, I argue that perfectionism is best understood as explaining why certain (...)
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  3. Does Studying Philosophy Make People Better Thinkers?Michael Prinzing & Michael Vazquez - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    Philosophers often claim that doing philosophy makes people better thinkers. But what evidence is there for this empirical claim? This paper reviews extant evidence and presents some novel findings. We discuss standardized testing scores, review research on Philosophy for Children and critical thinking skills among college students, and present new empirical findings. On average philosophers are better at logical reasoning, more reflective, and more open-minded than non-philosophers. However, there is an absence of evidence for the claim that studying philosophy led (...)
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  4. Going green is good for you: Why we need to change the way we think about pro-environmental behavior.Michael Prinzing - 2020 - Ethics, Policy and Environment (1):1-18.
    Awareness and concern about climate change are widespread. But rates of pro-environmental behaviour are low. This is partly due to the way in which pro-environmental behaviour is framed—as a sacrifice or burden that individuals bear for the planet and future generations. This framing elicits well-known cognitive biases, discouraging what we should be encouraging. We should abandon the self-sacrifice framing, and instead frame pro-environmental behaviour as intrinsically desirable. There is a large body of evidence that, around the world, people who are (...)
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  5. 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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  6. Friendly Superintelligent AI: All You Need is Love.Michael Prinzing - 2017 - In Vincent C. Müller (ed.), The Philosophy & Theory of Artificial Intelligence. Berlin: Springer. pp. 288-301.
    There is a non-trivial chance that sometime in the (perhaps somewhat distant) future, someone will build an artificial general intelligence that will surpass human-level cognitive proficiency and go on to become "superintelligent", vastly outperforming humans. The advent of superintelligent AI has great potential, for good or ill. It is therefore imperative that we find a way to ensure-long before one arrives-that any superintelligence we build will consistently act in ways congenial to our interests. This is a very difficult challenge in (...)
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  7. How to study well-being: A proposal for the integration of philosophy with science.Michael Prinzing - 2021 - Review of General Psychology 25 (2):152-162.
    There are presently two approaches to the study of well-being. Philosophers typically focus on normative theorizing, attempting to identify the things that are ultimately good for a person, while largely ignoring empirical research. The idea is that empirical attention cannot be directed to the right place without a rigorous theory. Meanwhile, social scientists typically focus on empirical research, attempting to identify the causes and consequences of well-being, while largely ignoring normative theorizing. The idea is that conceptual and theoretical clarity will (...)
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  8. The Virtues of Ethics Bowl: Do Pre-College Philosophy Programs Prepare Students for Democratic Citizenship?Michael Vaquez & Michael Madden Prinzing - 2023 - Journal of Philosophy in Schools 10 (1):25-45.
    This paper discusses the rationale for, and efforts to quantify the success of, philosophy outreach efforts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a focus on the National High School Ethics Bowl (NHSEB). We explore the program's democratic foundations and its potential to promote civic and intellectual virtues. After describing pioneering efforts to empirically access the impact of NHSEB, we offer recommendations to empower publicly and empirically-engaged philosophers to conduct further studies in the future.
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