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
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
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.Continue reading Upon Reflection, Ep. 6: Your Health vs. My Liberty (COVID-19 Research Paper)
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.
Welcome to the third episode of Upon Reflection, a podcast about what we think as well as how and why we think it.
In this podcast, I read my chapter, “Causal Network Accounts of Ill-being: Depression & Digital Well-being” from Ethics of Digital Well-being: A Multidisciplinary Approach. In this chapter, I review how well-being and ill-being can be understood in terms of the causal networks studied by economists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and other scientists. As with all of my writing, the free preprint can be found on my CV at byrdnick.com/cv under “Publications“.
If you want to hear more, you can subscribe wherever you find podcasts. You can also find out more about me and my research on Twitter via @byrd_nick, or on Facebook via @byrdnick. If you end up enjoying the Upon Reflection podcast, then feel free to tell people about it, online, in person, or in your ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review.
- Upon Reflection Podcast, Ep. 0: Introduction
- 15+ Podcasts about Cognitive Science
- 40+ Podcasts about Philosophy
- Experimental Philosophy 2.0: The Neuroscience of Philosophy
- Exercise, Neuroscience, and the Network Theory of Well-being
- New Paper — Causal Network Accounts of Ill-being: Depression & Digital Well-being
To be or not to be. That is the question. (Seriously.) David Benatar argues that it’s better not to be in “Why Coming Into Existence is Always a Harm” from his book Better Never To Have Been (2006) and follow-up paper “Still Better Never to Have Been: A Reply to (More of) My Critics“. This comparative claim seemed intuitively plausible at first.1 After all, I lean towards non-natalism: creating new life does not seem necessarily good. However, upon reflection, that claim about bringing something into existence is different from Benetar’s comparative claim about both existence and non-existence. And the more I think about Benetar’s comparative claim, the more I find myself puzzled by it. I worry that this anti-natalism comparison involves contradiction, equivocation, and/or a false sense of commensurability. In this post, I’ll explain.
Some have said that free will is an illusion (e.g., Wegner, 2002). And some free will skeptics base their claims on evidence that experimenters can predict our decisions before we are aware of making the decision or forming an intention. This leap from pre-decision prediction to free will skepticism seems intuitive at first. Upon reflection, however, it seems odd. In this post, I’ll explain.