The Upon Reflection Podcast, Ep. 0 – Introduction

Welcome to the first, introductory episode of Upon Reflection, a podcast about the philosophy of cognitive science and the cognitive science of philosophy.

The artwork for the Upon Reflection Podcast: a functional magnetic resonance image of the thinker.

In this podcast I’ll be sharing my own and others’ research with you. For instance, I’ll talk about the differences between intuition and reflection and how intuitive reasoning predicts different philosophical beliefs than reflective reasoning. I’ll also discuss topics like implicit bias and how—contrary to what you may have heard—implicit bias may not be entirely unconscious and involuntary. Of course, cognitive science is an interdisciplinary research community. So there will be much more to talk about.

If this sounds like the kind of research that you want to hear more about, you can subscribe to Upon Reflection wherever you find podcasts. You can also find out more about me and my research at @byrd_nick on Twitter, or @byrdnick on Facebook. If you end up enjoying the Upon Reflection podcast, then feel free to tell people about it, online, in person, or in your ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review.

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New Paper: What We Can (And Can’t) Infer About Implicit Bias From Debiasing Experiments

Synthese has just published one of my papers on implicit bias. As with all of my papers, you can find a link to the free preprint on my CV: The final, corrected, and typeset version is on Synthese’s website and the audio version is on my podcast. In this post, you will find a non-technical overview of the paper’s main point and then the TLDR explainer.

Continue reading New Paper: What We Can (And Can’t) Infer About Implicit Bias From Debiasing Experiments

A Dissertation About Reflective Reasoning in Philosophy, Morality, & Bias

One of the things that I worked on in 2018 was a dissertation about the roles of reflective reasoning in philosophy, morality, and bias. Pending a follow-up study for one chapter, every chapter is written and has enjoyed at least one round of comments—and some of the chapters are under review. As the chapters find homes in journals, I will be sure to post preprints and links to the online publication on my blog and in my social media feeds. So, ya know, follow those if you want more updates. In this post, I’ll give you drafts of the abstracts for each chapter, so that you can get a birds-eye view of the dissertation project.†

[Update: audio and video of the introduction to the dissertation defense is now available.]

Continue reading A Dissertation About Reflective Reasoning in Philosophy, Morality, & Bias

Academic Fake News?

I was just on the I Can’t Believe It’s Not News podcast talking about fake news, academic fake news (e.g., fake conferences, scam publishers), open access publishing, and what it’s like to look like Neil Patrick Harris. I had a great time. The hosts, Beth and Elizabeth, are very fun and resourceful. You can preview and listen to the podcast below.


You can listen to the podcast in the player below. (In case you care, I join the podcast somewhere around 4:10 and leave around 52:30.)

Continue reading Academic Fake News?

How To Write A Philosophy Paper: 4 Criteria, 9 Tips

When my students ask me how to write a philosophy paper, I tell them to aim for three or four criteria—clarity, cogency, concision, and creativity—in that order. And if they want more guidance, I give them writing tips. Below I elaborate on the four criteria and my tips for each criterion.†

1.  Clarity

What this means: It should be difficult for me to misunderstand you.††

So don’t waste time crafting long sentences with big words, which often backfires (Oppenheimer, 2005). Instead, aim for a 6th- to 9th-grade reading level. Yes, I know: that’s not how many academics write.††† Do as we say, not as we do.

1st Writing Tip: Continue reading How To Write A Philosophy Paper: 4 Criteria, 9 Tips

The Moral Argument Against Footnotes and PDF

[Update: the latest version of this argument is now on the APA’s Blog.]

Once upon a time, I loved footnotes and PDF documents. Now I don’t. I prefer eBook format and endnotes. I admit that footnotes are handy sometimes. For example, when I read visually, it’s nice to have the notes on the same page as the body text. However, footnotes are not so handy for auditory reading. Neither are PDF documents. For instance, footnotes wreak havoc on auditory reading. They interrupt the audio stream of the main body of text — sometimes mid-sentence. And since many people have to rely on auditory reading to consume academic research, this means that PDF documents and footnotes decrease the accessibility of research. That’s bad. If we can avoid this bad, we should. And we can avoid it. So we should.

1.  Books vs. Articles

Sometimes academic books are available in an eBook version that is amenable to auditory reading — e.g., Amazon’s Kindle format and Apple’s iBook format. And some academic books have a proper audiobook version — e..g, Amazon’s audiobooks. This is great, but… Continue reading The Moral Argument Against Footnotes and PDF