Upon Reflection, Ep. 11: Testing for Implicit Bias

In this episode, I read my short paper with Morgan Thompson in WIRES Cognitive Science titled, “Testing for Implicit Bias: Values, Psychometrics, and Science Communication“. You may have heard about implicit bias. It is measured by indirect rather than direct measures of bias. We reconstruct arguments from debates about these measures, reveal some instances of talking past one another, highlight how debate has changed, and highlight how the debate is laden with value judgments about psychometrics and science communication. As always, free preprints of my papers are available on my CV under “Publications”.

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Upon Reflection, Ep. 10: Great Minds Do Not Think Alike

This time I read my 2022 paper in Review of Philosophy and Psychology titled, “Great Minds Do Not Think Alike: Philosophers’ Views Predicted by Reflection, Education, Personality, and Other Demographic Differences“. As the title suggests, various psychological factors predicted variance in philosophers’ answers to classic philosophical questions. This raises questions about how psychological and demographic differences can explain philosophical differences. There are also implications for scientific psychologists as well as academic philosophers.

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Upon Reflection Podcast, Ep. 9: Bounded Reflectivism & Epistemic Identity

In this episode, I read one of my 2022 articles in Metaphilosophy titled, “Bounded Reflectivism & Epistemic Identity“. Does reflective reasoning help or hinder our judgment? In this paper, I take a middle view between reflectivism and anti-reflectivism that I call bounded reflectivism. The idea is that reflection is a tool that can be used to improve our judgment or for other purposes (such as to defend the beliefs that we consider essential to our identity—a.k.a., our “epistemic identity”).

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Upon Reflection Podcast, Ep. 8: Reflective Reasoning & Philosophy

On this episode, I read one of my articles from 2021 titled, “Reflective Reasoning and Philosophy” in Philosophy Compass. Both philosophers and cognitive scientists seem to think that philosophical thinking could depend on whether we reason intuitively or reflectively. In this paper, I review the claims, scientific methods, evidence, and what we may need to do to improve our understanding of reflection’s role in philosophical thinking.

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Upon Reflection Podcast, Ep. 6: Your Health vs. My Liberty (COVID-19 Research Paper)

Welcome to the latest episode of Upon Reflection. This time, I read my paper with Michał Białek, “Your health vs. my liberty: Philosophical beliefs dominated reflection and identifiable victim effects when predicting public health recommendation compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic” (Total N = 998).

As the title suggests we found that complying with public health recommendations didn’t depend on whether people received messaging about identifiable COVID-19 victims or statistical victims in flatten the curve graphs. Rather compliance increased the more that people endorsed an effective altruist principle about reducing harm and the more that they endorsed the truth of scientific theories, but compliance decreased as people valued liberty more than equality. Importantly, we also found that people were less likely to prevent the spread of disease by wearing masks and staying at home if the pandemic was equally deadly, but labeled as a “flu” pandemic—-mostly because they perceived this as less threatening to society. We think this suggests that people’s life-threatening decisions to flout public health recommendations like mask-wearing and staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic was not just about ineffective messaging, but also about their prior philosophical commitments.

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What good is reflective reasoning?


Philosophers and cognitive scientists tend to think that reflective reasoning will improve our judgments and decisions. The idea reflection will lead us to test our judgments by “looking for their coherence with our beliefs about similar cases and our beliefs about a broader range of …issues” a la reflective equilibrium. This sounds intuitively plausible. But is it true? In this post I briefly present some research suggesting that reflective reasoning often, but does not always improve our judgments and decisions.  Continue reading What good is reflective reasoning?