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Wesley Buckwalter
George Mason University
  1. Belief Through Thick and Thin.Wesley Buckwalter, David Rose & John Turri - 2015 - Noûs 49 (4):748-775.
    We distinguish between two categories of belief—thin belief and thick belief—and provide evidence that they approximate genuinely distinct categories within folk psychology. We use the distinction to make informative predictions about how laypeople view the relationship between knowledge and belief. More specifically, we show that if the distinction is genuine, then we can make sense of otherwise extremely puzzling recent experimental findings on the entailment thesis (i.e. the widely held philosophical thesis that knowledge entails belief). We also suggest that the (...)
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  2. Knowledge and Luck.John Turri, Wesley Buckwalter & Peter Blouw - 2015 - Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 22 (2):378-390.
    Nearly all success is due to some mix of ability and luck. But some successes we attribute to the agent’s ability, whereas others we attribute to luck. To better understand the criteria distinguishing credit from luck, we conducted a series of four studies on knowledge attributions. Knowledge is an achievement that involves reaching the truth. But many factors affecting the truth are beyond our control and reaching the truth is often partly due to luck. Which sorts of luck are compatible (...)
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  3. Descartes’s Schism, Locke’s Reunion: Completing the Pragmatic Turn in Epistemology.John Turri & Wesley Buckwalter - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (1):25-46.
    Centuries ago, Descartes and Locke initiated a foundational debate in epistemology over the relationship between knowledge, on the one hand, and practical factors, on the other. Descartes claimed that knowledge and practice are fundamentally separate. Locke claimed that knowledge and practice are fundamentally united. After a period of dormancy, their disagreement has reignited on the contemporary scene. Latter-day Lockeans claim that knowledge itself is essentially connected to, and perhaps even constituted by, practical factors such as how much is at stake, (...)
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  4. Intuition Fail: Philosophical Activity and the Limits of Expertise.Wesley Buckwalter - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):378-410.
    Experimental philosophers have empirically challenged the connection between intuition and philosophical expertise. This paper reviews these challenges alongside other research findings in cognitive science on expert performance and argues for three claims. First, evidence taken to challenge philosophical expertise may also be explained by the well-researched failures and limitations of genuine expertise. Second, studying the failures and limitations of experts across many fields provides a promising research program upon which to base a new model of philosophical expertise. Third, a model (...)
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  5. When Words Speak Louder Than Actions: Delusion, Belief, and the Power of Assertion.David Rose, Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy (4):1-18.
    People suffering from severe monothematic delusions, such as Capgras, Fregoli, or Cotard patients, regularly assert extraordinary and unlikely things. For example, some say that their loved ones have been replaced by impostors. A popular view in philosophy and cognitive science is that such monothematic delusions aren't beliefs because they don't guide behaviour and affect in the way that beliefs do. Or, if they are beliefs, they are somehow anomalous, atypical, or marginal beliefs. We present evidence from five studies that folk (...)
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  6. Telling, Showing and Knowing: A Unified Theory of Pedagogical Norms.Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2014 - Analysis 74 (1):16-20.
    Pedagogy is a pillar of human culture and society. Telling each other information and showing each other how to do things comes naturally to us. A strong case has been made that declarative knowledge is the norm of assertion, which is our primary way of telling others information. This article presents an analogous case for the hypothesis that procedural knowledge is the norm of instructional demonstration, which is a primary way of showing others how to do things. Knowledge is the (...)
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  7. Inability and Obligation in Moral Judgment.Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2015 - PLoS ONE 10 (8).
    It is often thought that judgments about what we ought to do are limited by judgments about what we can do, or that “ought implies can.” We conducted eight experiments to test the link between a range of moral requirements and abilities in ordinary moral evaluations. Moral obligations were repeatedly attributed in tandem with inability, regardless of the type (Experiments 1–3), temporal duration (Experiment 5), or scope (Experiment 6) of inability. This pattern was consistently observed using a variety of moral (...)
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  8. Gender and the Philosophy Club.Stephen Stich & Wesley Buckwalter - 2011 - The Philosophers' Magazine 52 (52):60-65.
    If intuitions are associated with gender this might help to explain the fact that while the gender gap has disappeared in many other learned clubs, women are still seriously under-represented in the Philosophers Club. Since people who don’t have the intuitions that most club members share have a harder time getting into the club, and since the majority of Philosophers are now and always have been men, perhaps the under-representation of women is due, in part, to a selection effect.
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  9. Choosing and Refusing: Doxastic Voluntarism and Folk Psychology.John Turri, David Rose & Wesley Buckwalter - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2507-2537.
    A standard view in contemporary philosophy is that belief is involuntary, either as a matter of conceptual necessity or as a contingent fact of human psychology. We present seven experiments on patterns in ordinary folk-psychological judgments about belief. The results provide strong evidence that voluntary belief is conceptually possible and, granted minimal charitable assumptions about folk-psychological competence, provide some evidence that voluntary belief is psychologically possible. We also consider two hypotheses in an attempt to understand why many philosophers have been (...)
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  10. Gettier Cases: A Taxonomy.Peter Blouw, Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2017 - In R. Borges, C. de Almeida & P. Klein (eds.), Explaining Knowledge: New Essays on the Gettier Problem. Oxford University Press. pp. 242-252.
    The term “Gettier Case” is a technical term frequently applied to a wide array of thought experiments in contemporary epistemology. What do these cases have in common? It is said that they all involve a justified true belief which, intuitively, is not knowledge, due to a form of luck called “Gettiering.” While this very broad characterization suffices for some purposes, it masks radical diversity. We argue that the extent of this diversity merits abandoning the notion of a “Gettier case” in (...)
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  11. Implicit Attitudes and the Ability Argument.Wesley Buckwalter - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2961-2990.
    According to one picture of the mind, decisions and actions are largely the result of automatic cognitive processing beyond our ability to control. This picture is in tension with a foundational principle in ethics that moral responsibility for behavior requires the ability to control it. The discovery of implicit attitudes contributes to this tension. According to the ability argument against moral responsibility, if we cannot control implicit attitudes, and implicit attitudes cause behavior, then we cannot be morally responsible for that (...)
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  12.  82
    Actionability Judgments Cause Knowledge Judgments.John Turri, Wesley Buckwalter & David Rose - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):212-222.
    Researchers recently demonstrated a strong direct relationship between judgments about what a person knows and judgments about how a person should act. But it remains unknown whether actionability judgments cause knowledge judgments, or knowledge judgments cause actionability judgments. This paper uses causal modeling to help answer this question. Across two experiments, we found evidence that actionability judgments cause knowledge judgments.
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  13. Ability, Responsibility, and Global Justice.Wesley Buckwalter - 2017 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 34 (3):577-590.
    Many have argued we have a moral obligation to assist others in need, but given the scope of global suffering, how far does this obligation extend? According to one traditional philosophical view, the obligation to help others is limited by our ability to help them, or by the principle that “ought implies can”. This view is primarily defended on the grounds that it is a core principle of commonsense moral psychology. This paper reviews findings from experimental philosophy in cognitive science (...)
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  14. In the Thick of Moral Motivation.Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2):433-453.
    We accomplish three things in this paper. First, we provide evidence that the motivational internalism/externalism debate in moral psychology could be a false dichotomy born of ambiguity. Second, we provide further evidence for a crucial distinction between two different categories of belief in folk psychology: thick belief and thin belief. Third, we demonstrate how careful attention to deep features of folk psychology can help diagnose and defuse seemingly intractable philosophical disagreement in metaethics.
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  15. Perceived Weaknesses of Philosophical Inquiry: A Comparison to Psychology.Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (1):33-52.
    We report two experiments exploring the perception of how contemporary philosophy is often conducted. We find that (1) participants associate philosophy with the practice of conducting thought experiments and collating intuitions about them, and (2) that this form of inquiry is viewed much less favourably than the typical form of inquiry in psychology: research conducted by teams using controlled experiments and observation. We also found (3) an effect whereby relying on intuition is viewed more favorably in the context of team (...)
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  16. Epistemic Injustice in Social Cognition.Wesley Buckwalter - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):294-308.
    ABSTRACTSilencing is a practice that disrupts linguistic and communicative acts, but its relationship to knowledge and justice is not fully understood. Prior models of epistemic injustice tend to c...
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  17. General Introduction to "A Companion to Experimental Philosophy".Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma - forthcoming - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell.
    This is the general introduction to the edited collection "A companion to Experimental Philosophy".
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  18. Impossible Intentions.Wesley Buckwalter, David Rose & John Turri - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Philosophers are divided on whether it is possible to intend believed-impossible outcomes. Several thought experiments in the action theory literature suggest that this is conceptually possible, though they have not been tested in ordinary social cognition. We conducted three experiments to determine whether, on the ordinary view, it is conceptually possible to intend believed-impossible outcomes. Our findings indicate that participants firmly countenance the possibility of intending believed-impossible outcomes, suggesting that it is conceptually possible to intend to do something that one (...)
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  19.  65
    Knowledge, Adequacy, and Approximate Truth.Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2020 - Consciousness and Cognition 83:102950.
    Approximation involves representing things in ways that might be close to the truth but are nevertheless false. Given the widespread reliance on approximations in science and everyday life, here we ask whether it is conceptually possible for false approximations to qualify as knowledge. According to the factivity account, it is impossible to know false approximations, because knowledge requires truth. According to the representational adequacy account, it is possible to know false approximations, if they are close enough to the truth for (...)
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  20.  88
    Knowledge and Truth: A Skeptical Challenge.Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):93-101.
    It is widely accepted in epistemology that knowledge is factive, meaning that only truths can be known. We argue that this theory creates a skeptical challenge: because many of our beliefs are only approximately true, and therefore false, they do not count as knowledge. We consider several responses to this challenge and propose a new one. We propose easing the truth requirement on knowledge to allow approximately true, practically adequate representations to count as knowledge. In addition to addressing the skeptical (...)
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  21. Mind-Brain Dichotomy, Mental Disorder, and Theory of Mind.Wesley Buckwalter - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):511-526.
    The tendency to draw mind-brain dichotomies and evaluate mental disorders dualistically arises in both laypeople and mental health professionals, leads to biased judgments, and contributes to mental health stigmatization. This paper offers a theory identifying an underlying source of these evaluations in social practice. According to this theory, dualistic evaluations are rooted in two mechanisms by which we represent and evaluate the beliefs of others in folk psychology and theory of mind: the doxastic conception of mental disorders and doxastic voluntarism. (...)
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  22. Natural Compatibilism, Indeterminism, and Intrusive Metaphysics.Thomas Nadelhoffer, David Rose, Wesley Buckwalter & Shaun Nichols - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (8).
    The claim that common sense regards free will and moral responsibility as compatible with determinism has played a central role in both analytic and experimental philosophy. In this paper, we show that evidence in favor of this “natural compatibilism” is undermined by the role that indeterministic metaphysical views play in how people construe deterministic scenarios. To demonstrate this, we re-examine two classic studies that have been used to support natural compatibilism. We find that although people give apparently compatibilist responses, this (...)
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  23.  79
    Deciding Without Intending.Alexandra M. Nolte, Wesley Buckwalter, David Rose & John Turri - 2020 - Journal of Cognition 3 (1):12.
    According to a consensus view in philosophy, “deciding” and “intending” are synonymous expressions. Researchers have recently challenged this view with the discovery of a counterexample in which ordinary speakers attribute deciding without intending. The aim of this paper is to investigate the strengths and limits of this discovery. The result of this investigation revealed that the evidence challenging the consensus view is strong. We replicate the initial finding against consensus and extend it by utilizing several new measures, materials, and procedures. (...)
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  24.  90
    Knowledge Before Belief.Jonathan Phillips, Wesley Buckwalter, Fiery Cushman, Ori Friedman, Alia Martin, John Turri, Laurie Santos & Joshua Knobe - forthcoming - Behavioral and Brain Sciences:1-37.
    Research on the capacity to understand others’ minds has tended to focus on representations of beliefs, which are widely taken to be among the most central and basic theory of mind representations. Representations of knowledge, by contrast, have received comparatively little attention and have often been understood as depending on prior representations of belief. After all, how could one represent someone as knowing something if one doesn't even represent them as believing it? Drawing on a wide range of methods across (...)
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