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’
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
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
On this episode of Upon Reflection, I read my 2021 paper in Logoi titled, “On Second Thought, Libet-style Unreflective Intentions May Be Compatible With Free Will“. Imagine if I could predict your behavior before you even became conscious of your intention to behave that way. Would this mean that you don’t have free will? I used to think so. In this paper, I explain why I was wrong: my view of free will involved magical thinking.Continue reading Upon Reflection, Ep. 7: Unreflective Intentions Are Compatible With Free Will
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)
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?
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.Continue reading Upon Reflection, Ep. 5: Reflective Reasoning For Real People (Dissertation Overview)