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Uwe Peters
Universität Bonn
  1. Ideological Diversity, Hostility, and Discrimination in Philosophy.Uwe Peters, Nathan Honeycutt, Andreas De Block & Lee Jussim - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (4):511-548.
    Members of the field of philosophy have, just as other people, political convictions or, as psychologists call them, ideologies. How are different ideologies distributed and perceived in the field? Using the familiar distinction between the political left and right, we surveyed an international sample of 794 subjects in philosophy. We found that survey participants clearly leaned left (75%), while right-leaning individuals (14%) and moderates (11%) were underrepresented. Moreover, and strikingly, across the political spectrum, from very left-leaning individuals and moderates to (...)
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  2. Implicit Bias, Ideological Bias, and Epistemic Risks in Philosophy.Uwe Peters - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (3):393-419.
    It has been argued that implicit biases are operative in philosophy and lead to significant epistemic costs in the field. Philosophers working on this issue have focussed mainly on implicit gender and race biases. They have overlooked ideological bias, which targets political orientations. Psychologists have found ideological bias in their field and have argued that it has negative epistemic effects on scientific research. I relate this debate to the field of philosophy and argue that if, as some studies suggest, the (...)
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  3. Hidden Figures: Epistemic Costs and Benefits of Detecting (Invisible) Diversity in Science.Uwe Peters - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-21.
    Demographic diversity might often be present in a group without group members noticing it. What are the epistemic effects if they do? Several philosophers and social scientists have recently argued that when individuals detect demographic diversity in their group, this can result in epistemic benefits even if that diversity doesn’t involve cognitive differences. Here I critically discuss research advocating this proposal, introduce a distinction between two types of detection of demographic diversity, and apply this distinction to the theorizing on diversity (...)
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  4. What Is the Function of Confirmation Bias?Uwe Peters - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-26.
    Confirmation bias is one of the most widely discussed epistemically problematic cognitions, challenging reliable belief formation and the correction of inaccurate views. Given its problematic nature, it remains unclear why the bias evolved and is still with us today. To offer an explanation, several philosophers and scientists have argued that the bias is in fact adaptive. I critically discuss three recent proposals of this kind before developing a novel alternative, what I call the ‘reality-matching account’. According to the account, confirmation (...)
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  5. Science Communication and the Problematic Impact of Descriptive Norms.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - British Journal for Philosophy of Science.
    When scientists or science reporters communicate research results to the public, this often involves ethical and epistemic risks. One such a risk arises when scientific claims cause cognitive or behavioral changes in the audience that contribute to the self-fulfillment of these claims. Focusing on such effects, I argue that the ethical and epistemic problem that they pose is likely to be much broader than hitherto appreciated. Moreover, it is often due to a psychological phenomenon that has been neglected in the (...)
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  6. The Complementarity of Mindshaping and Mindreading.Uwe Peters - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (3):533-549.
    Why do we engage in folk psychology, that is, why do we think about and ascribe propositional attitudes such as beliefs, desires, intentions etc. to people? On the standard view, folk psychology is primarily for mindreading, for detecting mental states and explaining and/or predicting people’s behaviour in terms of them. In contrast, McGeer (1996, 2007, 2015), and Zawidzki (2008, 2013) maintain that folk psychology is not primarily for mindreading but for mindshaping, that is, for moulding people’s behavior and minds (e.g., (...)
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  7.  72
    An Argument for Egalitarian Confirmation Bias and Against Political Diversity in Academia.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    It has recently been suggested that politically motivated cognition leads progressive individuals to form beliefs that underestimate real differences between social groups and to process information selectively to support these beliefs and an egalitarian outlook. I contend that this tendency, which I shall call ‘egalitarian confirmation bias’, is often ‘Mandevillian’ in nature. That is, while it is epistemically problematic in one’s own cognition, it often has effects that significantly improve other people’s truth tracking, especially that of stigmatized individuals in academia. (...)
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  8. Illegitimate Values, Confirmation Bias, and Mandevillian Cognition in Science.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy079.
    In the philosophy of science, it is a common proposal that values are illegitimate in science and should be counteracted whenever they drive inquiry to the confirmation of predetermined conclusions. Drawing on recent cognitive scientific research on human reasoning and confirmation bias, I argue that this view should be rejected. Advocates of it have overlooked that values that drive inquiry to the confirmation of predetermined conclusions can contribute to the reliability of scientific inquiry at the group level even when they (...)
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  9. Teleosemantics, Swampman, and Strong Representationalism.Uwe Peters - 2014 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 90 (1):273–288.
    Teleosemantics explains mental representation in terms of biological function and selection history. One of the main objections to the account is the so-called ‘Swampman argument’ (Davidson 1987), which holds that there could be a creature with mental representation even though it lacks a selection history. A number of teleosemanticists reject the argument by emphasising that it depends on assuming a creature that is fi ctitious and hence irrelevant for teleosemantics because the theory is only concerned with representations in real-world organisms (...)
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  10. Teleology and Mentalizing in the Explanation of Action.Uwe Peters - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):2941-2957.
    In empirically informed research on action explanation, philosophers and developmental psychologists have recently proposed a teleological account of the way in which we make sense of people’s intentional behavior. It holds that we typically don’t explain an agent’s action by appealing to her mental states but by referring to the objective, publically accessible facts of the world that count in favor of performing the action so as to achieve a certain goal. Advocates of the teleological account claim that this strategy (...)
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  11. On the Automaticity and Ethics of Belief.Uwe Peters - 2017 - Teoria:99–115..
    Recently, philosophers have appealed to empirical studies to argue that whenever we think that p, we automatically believe that p (Millikan 2004; Mandelbaum 2014; Levy and Mandelbaum 2014). Levy and Mandelbaum (2014) have gone further and claimed that the automaticity of believing has implications for the ethics of belief in that it creates epistemic obligations for those who know about their automatic belief acquisition. I use theoretical considerations and psychological findings to raise doubts about the empirical case for the view (...)
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  12. Introspection, Mindreading, and the Transparency of Belief.Uwe Peters - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):1086-1102.
    This paper explores the nature of self-knowledge of beliefs by investigating the relationship between self-knowledge of beliefs and one's knowledge of other people's beliefs. It introduces and defends a new account of self-knowledge of beliefs according to which this type of knowledge is developmentally interconnected with and dependent on resources already used for acquiring knowledge of other people's beliefs, which is inferential in nature. But when these resources are applied to oneself, one attains and subsequently frequently uses a method for (...)
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  13. Human Thinking, Shared Intentionality, and Egocentric Biases.Uwe Peters - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (6):1-16.
    The paper briefly summarises and critiques Tomasello’s A Natural History of Human Thinking. After offering an overview of the book, the paper focusses on one particular part of Tomasello’s proposal on the evolution of uniquely human thinking and raises two points of criticism against it. One of them concerns his notion of thinking. The other pertains to empirical findings on egocentric biases in communication.
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  14. Interpretive Sensory-Access Theory and Conscious Intentions.Uwe Peters - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (4):583–595.
    It is typically assumed that while we know other people’s mental states by observing and interpreting their behavior, we know our own mental states by introspection, i.e., without interpreting ourselves. In his latest book, The opacity of mind: An integrative theory of self-knowledge, Peter Carruthers (2011) argues against this assumption. He holds that findings from across the cognitive sciences strongly suggest that self-knowledge of conscious propositional attitudes such as intentions, judgments, and decisions involves a swift and unconscious process of self-interpretation (...)
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  15. Evolution, Moral Justification, and Moral Realism.Uwe Peters - 2012 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior 3 (1):8–18.
    Does evolutionary theory have the potential to undermine morality? In his book The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce (2006) argues for a positive answer. He contends that an evolutionary account of morality would undermine moral judgements and lend support to moral scepticism. I offer a critique of Joyce’s argument. As it turns out, his case can be read in two different ways. It could be construed as an argument to establish a general scepticism about the justification of moral judgements. Or (...)
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  16. How (Many) Descriptive Claims About Political Polarization Exacerbate Polarization.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - Journal of Social and Political Psychology.
    Recently, researchers and reporters have made a wide range of claims about the distribution, nature, and societal impact of political polarization. Here I offer reasons to believe that, even when they are correct and prima facie merely descriptive, many of these claims have the highly negative side effect of increasing political polarization. This is because of the interplay of two factors that have so far been neglected in the work on political polarization, namely that (1) people have a tendency to (...)
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  17. Objectivity, Perceptual Constancy, and Teleology in Young Children.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Can young children such as 3-year-olds represent the world objectively? Some prominent developmental psychologists (Perner, Tomasello) assume so. I argue that this view is susceptible to a prima facie powerful objection: to represent objectively, one must be able to represent not only features of the entities represented but also features of objectification itself, which 3-year-olds can’t do yet. Drawing on Tyler Burge’s work on perceptual constancy, I provide a response to this objection and motivate a distinction between three different kinds (...)
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  18.  97
    Self-Knowledge and Consciousness of Attitudes.Uwe Peters - 2014 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (1-2):139-155.
    Suppose we know our own attitudes, e.g. judgments and decisions, only by unconsciously interpreting ourselves. Would this undermine the assumption that there are conscious attitudes? Carruthers has argued that if the mentioned view of selfknowledge is combined with either of the two most common approaches to consciousness, i.e. the higher-order state account or the global workspace theory , then the conjunction of these theories implies that there are no conscious attitudes. I shall show that Carruthers' argument against the existence of (...)
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  19. Values in Science: Assessing the Case for Mixed Claims.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Social and medical scientists frequently produce empirical generalizations that involve concepts partly defined by value judgments. These generalizations, which have been called ‘mixed claims’, raise interesting questions. Does the presence of them in science imply that science is value-laden? Is the value-ladenness of mixed claims special compared to other kinds of value-ladenness of science? Do we lose epistemically if we reformulate these claims as conditional statements? And if we want to allow mixed claims in science, do we need a new (...)
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