The Bat And Ball Problem 20 Years Later

In 2002, a chapter from Kahneman and Frederick mentioned “the bat and ball problem”.

A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total.
The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball.
How much does the ball cost?

By 2005, Frederick’s Cognitive Reflection Test paper added the lesser known Widgets and Lily Pad problems. In the intervening 20-ish years, each paper seems to have accrued over 5000 citations.

In 2023, Meyer and Frederick published a massive follow-up paper about the first problem: 59 studies, over 73,000 participants, and more pages of Appendixes than pages in the main article. As someone studying various reflection tests and interventions, I had to take a look right away. In this post, I list five initial takeaways and two things to like about the paper.

Continue reading The Bat And Ball Problem 20 Years Later

Oppenheimer: ‘Philosopher-Scientist-Statesman’

J. Robert Oppenheimer “was widely known not just for his scientific success but for his remarkably wide-ranging knowledge of the humanities [,…] an extraordinary combination…”, says Ashutosh Jogalekar in his 8th and final post about Oppie over at 3 Quarks Daily (2023). Why do I start with this quote? I think it alludes to an important lesson for our time. I explain in less than 700 words below.

Continue reading Oppenheimer: ‘Philosopher-Scientist-Statesman’

Upon Reflection, Ep. 12: Tell Us What You Really Think

I have a question for you: “If a bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total and the bat costs $1.00 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?“. Did 10 cents seem right? The authors of questions like this are attempting to lure you to accept this incorrect answer in order to test whether you thought reflectively when you solved the problem. However, there may be problems with this method of testing reflective thinking. So my colleagues used some underrated methods to determine the degree to which tests like this misclassify correct responses as reflective or lured responses as unreflective. I’ll read the paper in this episode.

Continue reading Upon Reflection, Ep. 12: Tell Us What You Really Think

Here’s to the Philosopher-Scientists!

Sometimes philosophers complain that scientists do philosophy badly and that philosophers may thereby be underrated. The idea is that people could have better philosophy if they just turned to academic philosophers rather than the popular scientists that have done philosophy badly. (Perhaps analogous complaints about philosophers circulate among scientists). In this post, I want to turn our attention to scientists that do philosophy well and philosophers that do science well.

Continue reading Here’s to the Philosopher-Scientists!

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.

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

Upon Reflection, 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”).

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

Upon Reflection, 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.

Continue reading Upon Reflection, Ep. 8: Reflective Reasoning & Philosophy

7 Philosophy Reading Lists Of Underrepresented Scholars/Texts

Every semester I begin courses by asking students to close their eyes and imagine a philosopher doing philosophy.

When I ask students to share what they imagined, I get classic stereotypes. “An old guy” says one. “With a beard,” adds another. “Yeah, in a toga!” yells someone in the back. […]

This is unsurprising. In the United States, few students are exposed to philosophy prior to college. So students’ are more likely to rely on stereotypical representations of philosophers—e.g., the Epic Rap Battles of History videos that people continue to send me.

To overcome these stereotypical representations, many instructors have called for a more representative set of philosophers in their courses. Of course, we tend to default to the status quo (e.g., the less representative syllabi that have been circulating for years). So some scholars have done us a favor by creating lists of texts and scholars that are traditionally underrepresented. Below are the lists that I have found so far.

Continue reading 7 Philosophy Reading Lists Of Underrepresented Scholars/Texts

9 Research Funding Resources

Some colleagues and readers have asked about my experience with grant applications. Perhaps the most common questions is just “Where do I find out about grant opportunities?” That one is fairly straightforward.

As usual, I recommend the automated or passive method: find websites that will crawl the internet for what you seek and then send you emails/notifications when they find it—sometimes called a “saved search”. That way you don’t have to spend days doing something that a bot can do while you do other work. This is how I find research in my areas. It is also how I find many grant opportunities. In this post I’ll share those kinds of grant resources as well as others. I’ll also try to make note of which resources are free to use.

Continue reading 9 Research Funding Resources

Two Years Of Time Logs as a Postdoc. and Assistant Prof.

In 2020, I deferred a tenure track job one year to start a postdoc. By Fall 2021, I had started the tenure track position (restructuring the postdoc as an external grant). In this post, I will report my time-logging data for all of 2020 and 2021, which includes my final 7 months of graduate school, about a year as a postdoc, and then a semester as an assistant professor (slash postdoc). I will also discuss how more remote work, less daylight, and a longer commute might have impacted my schedule and well-being (mostly for the worse).

Continue reading Two Years Of Time Logs as a Postdoc. and Assistant Prof.