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Simon Fitzpatrick
John Carroll University
  1. Animal Morality: What is the Debate About?Simon Fitzpatrick - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1151-1183.
    Empirical studies of the social lives of non-human primates, cetaceans, and other social animals have prompted scientists and philosophers to debate the question of whether morality and moral cognition exists in non-human animals. Some researchers have argued that morality does exist in several animal species, others that these species may possess various evolutionary building blocks or precursors to morality, but not quite the genuine article, while some have argued that nothing remotely resembling morality can be found in any non-human species. (...)
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  2. Building a Science of Animal Minds: Lloyd Morgan, Experimentation, and Morgan’s Canon.Grant Goodrich & Simon Fitzpatrick - 2017 - Journal of the History of Biology 50 (3):525-569.
    Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1852–1936) is widely regarded as the father of modern comparative psychology. Yet, Morgan initially had significant doubts about whether a genuine science of comparative psychology was even possible, only later becoming more optimistic about our ability to make reliable inferences about the mental capacities of non-human animals. There has been a fair amount of disagreement amongst scholars of Morgan’s work about the nature, timing, and causes of this shift in Morgan’s thinking. We argue that Morgan underwent two (...)
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  3. Moral Realism, Moral Disagreement, and Moral Psychology.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2014 - Philosophical Papers 43 (2):161-190.
    This paper considers John Doris, Stephen Stich, Alexandra Plakias, and colleagues’ recent attempts to utilize empirical studies of cross-cultural variation in moral judgment to support a version of the argument from disagreement against moral realism. Crucially, Doris et al. claim that the moral disagreements highlighted by these studies are not susceptible to the standard ‘diffusing’ explanations realists have developed in response to earlier versions of the argument. I argue that plausible hypotheses about the cognitive processes underlying ordinary moral judgment and (...)
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  4. The Primate Mindreading Controversy : A Case Study in Simplicity and Methodology in Animal Psychology.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2009 - In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. pp. 224--246.
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  5. Against Morgan's Canon.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2017 - In Kristin Andrews & Jacob Beck (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds. Routledge.
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  6. Doing Away with the No Miracles Argument.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2013 - In Dennis Dieks & Vassilios Karakostas (eds.), Recent Progress in Philosophy of Science: Perspectives and Foundational Problems. Springer.
    The recent debate surrounding scientific realism has largely focused on the “no miracles” argument (NMA). Indeed, it seems that most contemporary realists and anti-realists have tied the case for realism to the adequacy of this argument. I argue that it is mistake for realists to let the debate be framed in this way. Realists would be well advised to abandon the NMA altogether and pursue an alternative strategy, which I call the “local strategy”.
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  7. Nativism, Empiricism, and Ockham’s Razor.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (5):895-922.
    This paper discusses the role that appeals to theoretical simplicity have played in the debate between nativists and empiricists in cognitive science. Both sides have been keen to make use of such appeals in defence of their respective positions about the structure and ontogeny of the human mind. Focusing on the standard simplicity argument employed by empiricist-minded philosophers and cognitive scientists—what I call “the argument for minimal innateness”—I identify various problems with such arguments—in particular, the apparent arbitrariness of the relevant (...)
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  8. Kelly on Ockham’s Razor and Truth-Finding Efficiency.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):298-309.
    This paper discusses Kevin Kelly’s recent attempt to justify Ockham’s Razor in terms of truth-finding efficiency. It is argued that Kelly’s justification fails to warrant confidence in the empirical content of theories recommended by Ockham’s Razor. This is a significant problem if, as Kelly and many others believe, considerations of simplicity play a pervasive role in scientific reasoning, underlying even our best tested theories, for the proposal will fail to warrant the use of these theories in practical prediction.
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    Distinguishing Between Three Versions of the Doctrine of Double Effect Hypothesis in Moral Psychology.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (4):505-525.
    Based on the results of empirical studies of folk moral judgment, several researchers have claimed that something like the famous Doctrine of Double Effect may be a fundamental, albeit unconscious, component of human moral psychology. Proponents of this psychological DDE hypothesis have, however, said surprisingly little about how the distinction at the heart of standard formulations of the principle—the distinction between intended and merely foreseen consequences—might be cognised when we make moral judgments about people’s actions. I first highlight the problem (...)
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