An fMRI of The Thinker statue by Nick Byrd. Licensed under Creative Commons B.Y., S.A.

About Nick Byrd

I am a PhD candidate at Florida State University. I work in the Social and Moral Reasoning Lab and in the Philosophy Department. You can find out more about me and my research below. And you can follow my day-to-day life on the social media profiles in the menu.


My mother was an accountant, a jeweler, and a social worker. My father was a restaurant owner and restaurant product salesman. I grew up in Massachusetts and South Florida. Since I was a kid, I liked building stuff — with Lego, wood, metal, motors/engines, …whatever I could get my hands on, really. As a teenager, my favorite classes were the ones in which I got to make stuff, use computers, argue, or some combination thereof. One of my first (and favorite) jobs was building and remodeling homes. When I wasn’t at school or at work, I was doing track, soccer, football, band, church, theatre, video games, or volunteer stuff. [Jump To Top]


As a teenager, I enjoyed — among other things — reading, writing, and trying to understand how things work. Eventually I decided that I wanted to do this full-time. When I started college, I thought, “Engineering and religion will explain how things work!” A few years into college, I changed my mind. I realized that philosophy is more foundational than either engineering or religion. So I became a philosophy major. A few years later, in graduate school, I changed my mind one more time. I realized that cognitive science is more fundamental than philosophy. So I’ve focused primarily on cognitive science ever since. [Jump To Top]

Research Overview

I try to answer questions via both philosophy and science.

The primary question that drives my research is this: how do we reason? 

Here are some more pointed questions: What is intuition? What is reflection? How do they work? Why do they work? What is the value and/or purpose of intuition and reflection? How do differences in intuition and reflection relate to differences in ideology, philosophy, religion, morality, and bias?

I’m also interested in wellbeing and willpower. So I also try to answer questions like these: What is wellbeing? How do we reliably improve wellbeing (or else reliably inhibit ill-being)? On a third note, what is willpower? Can it be improved? If so, how?

These questions steer me towards many academic fields. But my starting and ending points are usually in cognitive science (including experimental philosophy), philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science.

For more about my research, check out my research page and/or my CV. [Jump To Top]

Free Time

In my free time I like to spend time with my partner, exercise [Strava], blog, hike in conservation parks, travel [Instagram], make stuff, go to bed early, or some combination of the above. [Jump To Top]

What Am I Up To Today?

I am on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn on weekdays (and some weekends). Find me there for the latest.


And yes: I have been told that I look like Neil Patrick Harris.


Featured Image: “The Thinker’s MRI” by Nick Byrd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at