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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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?

Upon Reflection Podcast, Ep. 5: Reflective Reasoning For Real People (Dissertation Overview)

Welcome to Upon Reflection. In this episode, I review the major take-aways and findings from my dissertation titled, “Reflective Reasoning For Real People”. I explain what cognitive scientists mean by terms like “reflective reasoning”, how reflection is measured empirically, how reflection can either help or hinder our reasoning, how more reflective philosophers tend toward certain philosophical beliefs, and how reflection may help us retrain our implicit biases.

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New paper: “Your Health vs. My Liberty”

Why did otherwise life affirming people flout public health recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • Was it leaders’ messaging? For example, are “flatten the curve” graphs about statistical victims less effective than information about identifiable victims?
  • Was it people’s reasoning? Do some people not think carefully enough about public health? Might people who better at math better understand public health information involving concepts like exponential growth and probability?
  • Was it people’s philosophical preferences? Do some people just care more about preventing harm? Do others prioritize personal liberty over pubic health? Do people’s beliefs about science matter? Religion?

Michał Białek and I investigated. In short, we found that flouting public health recommendations was less about messaging or reasoning than philosophical beliefs, especially beliefs about our duties to others, liberty, and science. The paper is under review now published in Cognition. As always, you can find a free copy of the paper on my CV at byrdnick.com/cv. More details below.

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Upon Reflection Podcast, Ep. 4: Online Conferences’ History, Methods, and Benefits

In this episode of Upon Reflection, I explain how academics should conference better. More accurately, I read my chapter, “Online Conferences: Some History, Methods, and Benefits” from Right Research: Modelling Sustainable Research Practices in the Anthropocene. This chapter reviews some history of online academic conferencing going back to the 1970s, explain the potential advantages of online conferences, report quantitative and qualitative results from three online conferences, and urge scholars to consider how they can contribute to a more sustainable, inclusive, and emergency resilient academy by replicating these online conferences.

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On Whether Reflection Is A Virtue


Some philosophers think of rationality in terms of virtue. For them, the rational thing to do is what the epistemically virtuous person would do. One type of reasoning that I study is reflective reasoning in which we step back and reconsider a gut reaction. So I have found myself asking, “Is reflective reasoning a virtue?” In this post, I’ll briefly consider reasons for answering “yes” and reasons for answering “no.” Continue reading On Whether Reflection Is A Virtue