2021 Philosophy Publications and Grants

* Indicates student co-author

Basu, Rima. “A Tale of Two Doctrines: Moral Encroachment and Doxastic Wronging.” Applied Epistemology edited by Jennifer Lackey. Oxford University Press, 2021, pp. 99-118.

Abstract: In this paper, I argue that morality might bear on belief in at least two conceptually distinct ways. The first is that morality might bear on belief by bearing on questions of justification. The claim that it does is the doctrine of moral encroachment. The second, is that morality might bear on belief given the central role belief plays in mediating and thereby constituting our relationships with one another. The claim that it does is the doctrine of doxastic wronging. Though conceptually distinct, the two doctrines overlap in important ways. This paper provides clarification on the relationship between the two, providing reasons throughout that we should accept both.

Davia, Cory. “Using Deliberate Practice to Help Students Learn from Discussion.” Teaching Gradually: Practical Pedagogy, for Graduate Students, by Graduate Students. Stylus Publishing, 2021.

Abstract: There is sometimes an asymmetry in how students and teachers experience classroom discussion. What a teacher might find to be a productive exploration of the conceptual space, a student might experience as talking in circles. Drawing on the literature about how students learn to read critically, this article proposes several strategies for how to help students identify insights from their peers, identify open questions, and transfer understanding gained through discussion to the other work they do in class.

Davia, Cory. “Zoom Teaching and Establishing New Classroom Norms.” The Journal for Research and Practice in College Teaching, vol. 6, no. 2, 2021.

Abstract: This essay describes some pedagogical choices I made while teaching online, reflects on how they turned out, and puts forward some ideas about how they might be translated back to in-person teaching.

Johnson, Gabrielle. “Algorithmic Bias: On the Implicit Biases of Social Technology." Synthese, vol. 198, 2021, pp. 9941-9961.

Abstract: Often machine learning programs inherit social patterns reflected in their training data without any directed effort by programmers to include such biases. Computer scientists call this algorithmic bias. This paper explores the relationship between machine bias and human cognitive bias. In it, I argue similarities between algorithmic and cognitive biases indicate a disconcerting sense in which sources of bias emerge out of seemingly innocuous patterns of information processing. The emergent nature of this bias obscures the existence of the bias itself, making it difficult to identify, mitigate, or evaluate using standard resources in epistemology and ethics. I demonstrate these points in the case of mitigation techniques by presenting what I call ‘the Proxy Problem.’ One reason biases resist revision is that they rely on proxy attributes, seemingly innocuous attributes that correlate with socially-sensitive attributes, serving as proxies for the socially-sensitive attributes themselves. I argue that in both human and algorithmic domains, this problem presents a common dilemma for mitigation: attempts to discourage reliance on proxy attributes risk a tradeoff with judgement accuracy. This problem, I contend, admits of no purely algorithmic solution.

Badura, Christopher and Amy Kind, editors. Epistemic Uses of Imagination. Routledge, 2021.

Abstract: This book explores a topic that has recently become the subject of increased philosophical interest: how can imagination be put to epistemic use? Though imagination has long been invoked in contexts of modal knowledge, in recent years philosophers have begun to explore its capacity to play an epistemic role in a variety of other contexts as well.

In this collection, the contributors address an assortment of issues relating to epistemic uses of imagination, and in particular, they take up the ways in which our imaginings must be constrained so as to justify beliefs and give rise to knowledge. These constraints are explored across several different contexts in which imagination is appealed to for justification, namely reasoning, modality and modal knowledge, thought experiments, and knowledge of self and others. Taken as a whole, the contributions in this volume break new ground in explicating when and how imagination can be epistemically useful.

Epistemic Uses of Imagination will be of interest to scholars and advanced students who are working on imagination, as well as those working more broadly in epistemology, aesthetics, and philosophy of mind.

Badura, Christopher and Amy Kind. “Book Symposium on Epistemic Uses of Imagination.” The Junkyard, August 23, 2021. 

Badura, Christopher and Amy Kind. “Epistemic Uses of Imagination.” Imperfect Cognitions, September 14, 2021.

Badura, Christopher and Amy Kind. “Introduction: The Epistemic Role of Imagination.” Epistemic Uses of Imagination, edited by Christopher Badura and Amy Kind. Routledge, 2021, pp. 1-20.

Abstract: Philosophical interest in the epistemic usefulness of imagination has recently blossomed. Although there are a number of philosophers who remain skeptical, the claim that imagination has an important role to play in the epistemic domain now enjoys considerable support. How best to articulate that role, and what explains the ability of imagination to play it, remain largely open questions, however. It is these kinds of questions that are explored in this volume. We have chosen to organize the volume by epistemic context. The fifteen papers have been divided into four sections, each of which focuses on a particular context in which imagination seems to have epistemic usefulness: modality and modal knowledge, reasoning, thought experiments, and understanding self and others. However, in this introduction, we provide a general discussion of three themes that unite the papers across sections. The first part focuses on the themes themselves; the second part focuses on the individual papers in more detail and, in doing so, aims to highlight how they pick up these various themes.

Kind, Amy. “A-Level Guide on the Metaphysics of Mind, Royal Institute of Philosophy.” Royal Institute of Philosophy, 2021. 

Kind, Amy. “Bridging the Divide: Imagining Across Experiential Perspectives.” Epistemic Uses of Imagination, edited by Christopher Badura and Amy Kind. Routledge, 2021, pp. 237-259.

Abstract: Can one have imaginative access to experiential perspectives vastly different from one’s own? Can one successfully imagine what it’s like to live a life very different from one’s own? These questions are particularly pressing in contemporary society as we try to bridge racial, ethnic, and gender divides. Yet philosophers have often expressed considerable pessimism in this regard. It is often thought that the gulf between vastly different experiential perspectives cannot be bridged. This chapter explores the case for this pessimism. Though the case is often less implicit, the chapter identifies two different arguments that can be found in the literature: the Epistemic Arrogance argument and the Too Big a Gulf argument. Both arguments are found to be considerably weaker than is usually thought. But even if the case for pessimism is unsuccessful, discussion of that case suggests the importance of treading carefully in taking up imaginative explorations of different experiential perspectives. The chapter thus concludes with a cautionary note in this regard.

Kind, Amy. “Can Imagination be Unconscious?Synthese, vol. 199, 2021, pp. 13121-13141.

Abstract: Our ordinary conception of imagination takes it to be essentially a conscious phenomenon, and traditionally that’s how it had been treated in the philosophical literature. In fact, this claim had often been taken to be so obvious as not to need any argumentative support. But lately in the philosophical literature on imagination we see increasing support for the view that imagining need not occur consciously. In this paper, I examine the case for unconscious imagination. I consider four different arguments that we can find in the recent literature, three of which are based on cases and one that is based on considerations relating to action guidance. To my mind, none of these arguments is successful. I conclude that the case for postulating unconscious imagining has not yet been well motivated.

Kind, Amy. “Love in the Time of AI.” Minding the Future: Artificial Intelligence, Philosophical Visions and Science Fiction, edited by Will Slocombe and Attila Tanyi. Springer, 2021, pp. 89-106.

Abstract: As we await the increasingly likely advent of genuinely intelligent artificial systems, a fair amount of consideration has been given to how we humans will interact with them. Less consideration has been given to how—indeed if—we humans will love them. What would human-AI romantic relationships look like? What do such relationships tell us about the nature of love? This chapter explores these questions via consideration of several works of science fiction, focusing especially on the Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back” and the Spike Jonze’s movie Her. As I suggest, there may well be cases where it is both possible and appropriate for a human to fall in love with a machine.

Kind, Amy. “The Possibility of Imagining Pain.” Review of Imagined and Delusional Pain‚ by Jennifer Radden. Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia, vol. 12, no. 2, 2021, pp. 183-189.

Abstract: In Imagined and Delusional Pain, Jennifer Radden aims to show that experiences of pain—and in particular, the pain associated with depression—cannot be merely delusional. Her reasoning relies crucially on the claim that the feeling of pain is imaginatively beyond our reach. Though she thinks that there are many ways that one can imagine scenarios involving oneself being in pain, she argues that one cannot imagine the feeling of pain itself. In this commentary, I target this claim in an attempt to show that Radden is mistaken. My argument relies on facts about individual differences involving imagination. To my mind, arguments like Radden’s involve an unfortunate slide from an “I can’t imagine…” claim to an “It can’t be imagined claim…” To support my argument, I also call upon empirical findings concerning pain imagination. As I conclude, we have no reason to think that the feeling of pain is something that is, in principle, unimaginable.

Locke, Dustin. “I, Trolley: Self-Redirection and Hybrid Trolley Cases.” Utilitas, vol. 34, issue 4, 2021, pp. 458-473.

Abstract: While it is permissible to switch the trolley in the classic Switch case, it is not permissible to push the stranger in the classic Footbridge (aka, ‘Push’) case. But what may we do in cases that offer both a ‘switch-like’ option and a ‘push-like’ option? Surprisingly, we may choose the push-like option, provided that it has better consequences than the switch-like option. We arrive at this conclusion by taking ourselves seriously—not just as agents who might redirect threats—but as threats who might be redirected by agents.

Martin, Adrienne. “Against Mother’s Day and Employee Appreciation Day and Other Representations of Oppressive Expectations as Opportunities for Excellence and Beneficence.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 102, issue 1, 2021, pp. 126-146.

Abstract: Appreciation and gratitude get good press: They are central virtues in many religious and secular ethical frameworks, core in positive psychology research, and they come highly recommended by the self-improvement set. Generally, appreciation and gratitude feature as good things, in popular consciousness. Of course, on an Aristotelian model, the belief that these are virtues implies they are something people can get right or wrong. This paper examines bad appreciation and bad gratitude, characterizing forms of appreciation and gratitude at the center of some major social norms and practices, and demonstrating that they mask familiar oppressive expectations and power relations.

Martin, Adrienne. “Personal Bonds: Directed Obligations Without Rights.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 102, issue 1, 2021, pp. 65-86.

Abstract: I argue for adopting a conception of obligation that is broader than the conception commonly adopted by moral philosophers. According to this broader conception, the crucial marks of an obligatory action are, first, that the reasons for the obliged party to perform the action include an exclusionary reason and, second, that the obliged party is the appropriate target of blaming reactive attitudes, if they inexcusably fail to perform the obligatory action. An obligation is directed if the exclusionary reason depends on the relationship between the obliged person and the person to whom they owe the obligatory action, and the latter person is positioned to personally blame the obligated person for inexcusably failing to perform the obligatory action. Some directed obligations are not owed as a matter of right, and the person to whom the obligatory action is owed is the only person positioned to blame nonperformance. Other directed obligations are owed as a matter of right, and people who are not part of the relationship grounding the obligation nevertheless are also positioned to (impersonally) blame non‐performance. Only the rights‐based form of directed obligation has received significant attention from moral philosophers, yet the former—which is at the heart of what I call “personal bonds”—is a pervasive and significant theme of our ordinary interpersonal lives.

Obdrzalek, Suzanne. “The Philosopher’s Reward: Contemplation and Immortality in Plato’s Dialogues.” Immortality in Ancient Philosophy, edited by A.G. Long. Cambridge University Press, 2021, pp. 66-92.

Rajczi, Alex. “Introduction to Western Philosophy of Art.” Rajczi, 2021.

Abstract: A 95,000 word book that covers major topics in the philosophy of art, including philosophical issues that arise when defining art, how to experiencing art, and evaluating art. I wrote this in response to my dissatisfaction with existing books from major academic publishers, which were unnecessarily complicated and confusing for 5C students, and which were also preposterously un-diverse (virtually no discussion of women philosophers, non-white philosophers, and so on).

Rajczi, Alex. Primer on the Methods of Philosophy, Book A: Core Techniques. Rajczi, 2021.

Abstract: An introduction to informal logic. Released for free to the philosophical community.

Rajzi, Alex. Primer on the Methods of Philosophy, Book B: Workbook. Rajczi, 2021.

Abstract: A workbook with exercises to accompany the textbook Primer on the Methods of Philosophy. Released for free to the philosophical community.

Rajczi, Alex. Primer on the Methods of Philosophy, Book C: Longer Passages. Rajczi, 2021.

Abstract: A third book on informal logic, focusing on how to take the techniques of informal logic and apply them to lengthy philosophical articles. Released for free to the philosophical community.

Rajczi, Alex. Primer on the Methods of Philosophy, Book D: Ethical and Political Arguments. Rajczi, 2021.

Abstract: A short book on how to apply informal logic to normative and value-based arguments, such as those encountered in classes on ethics and political philosophy. Released for free to the philosophical community.

Rajczi, Alex, Judith Daar, Aaron Kheriaty, and Cyrus Dastur. “The University of California Crisis Standards of Care: Public Reasoning for Socially Responsible Medicine.” The Hastings Center Report, vol. 51, issue 5, 2021, pp. 30-41.

Abstract: During the Covid-19 pandemic, the University of California convened the University of California Critical Care Bioethics Working Group, a team of twenty individuals tasked with developing a set of triage procedures. This article highlights several crucial components of the UC procedures and describes the reasoning behind them. The recommendations and the reasoning in the UC protocol are distinctive because of the emphasis the working group placed on grounding its decisions on the public’s preferences for triage protocols. To highlight the distinctiveness of the recommendations and reasoning, this article contrasts the UC procedures with the triage procedures known as the “Pittsburgh framework.” Among the specific topics discussed are age discrimination, disability discrimination, the prioritization of critical workers for scarce resources, and triage priority for pregnant patients.

Boulicault, Marion and Andrew. Schroeder. “Public Trust in Science: Exploring the Idiosyncrasy-Free Ideal.” Social Trust, edited by Kevin Vallier and Michael Weber. Routledge, 2021, pp. 102-121.

Abstract: What makes science trustworthy to the public? This chapter examines one proposed answer: the trustworthiness of science is based at least in part on its independence from the idiosyncratic values, interests, and ideas of individual scientists. That is, science is trustworthy to the extent that following the scientific process would result in the same conclusions, regardless of the particular scientists involved. We analyze this “idiosyncrasy-free ideal” for science by looking at philosophical debates about inductive risk, focusing on two recent proposals which offer different methods of avoiding idiosyncrasy: the high epistemic standards proposal and the democratic values proposal.

Schroeder, S. Andrew. “Democratic Values: a Better Foundation for Public Trust in Science.” British Journal for Philosophy of Science, vol. 72, no. 2, 2021, pp. 545-562.

Abstract: There is a growing consensus among philosophers of science that core parts of the scientific process involve non-epistemic values. This undermines the traditional foundation for public trust in science. In this article I consider two proposals for justifying public trust in value-laden science. According to the first, scientists can promote trust by being transparent about their value choices. On the second, trust requires that the values of a scientist align with the values of an individual member of the public. I argue that neither of these proposals work and suggest an alternative that does better. When scientists must appeal to values in the course of their research, they should appeal to democratic values: the values of the public or its representatives.

Schroeder, S. Andrew. “How to Interpret Covid-19 Predictions: Reassessing the IHME's Model.” Philosophy of Medicine, vol. 2, no. 1, 2021, article 43.

Abstract: The IHME Covid-19 prediction model has been one of the most influential Covid models in the United States. Early on, it received heavy criticism for understating the extent of the epidemic. I argue that this criticism was based on a misunderstanding of the model. The model was best interpreted not as attempting to forecast the actual course of the epidemic. Rather, it was attempting to make a conditional projection: telling us how the epidemic would unfold, given certain assumptions. This misunderstanding of the IHME’s model prevented the public from seeing how dire the model’s projections actually were.

Hargroder, Alex, and Briana Toole. “Corrupt the Youth.” Philosophy Camps: Everything You Wanted to Know about Starting, Organizing, and Running a Philosophy Camp, edited by Claire Katz. Rowman and Littlefield, 2021, pp. 87-96.

Abstract: Corrupt the Youth is a philosophy outreach program that aims to bring philosophy to ethnically and socio-economically diverse schools in the hopes of making the discipline of philosophy more responsive to and representative of those in the social margins. Corrupt the Youth operates as a chapter-based program that works to create partnerships between Title I schools and local colleges and universities. In June 2019, Corrupt the Youth offered our first residential summer philosophy camp. We hosted students at the University of Texas at Austin for two weeks, during which time students were enrolled in philosophy classes and participated in residential activities. In this chapter, we explore how we arrived at the vision for a running camp and the pedagogical approach that emerged as a result, the logistics specific to operating a residential camp on a university campus, as well as brief reflections on fundraising, managing stakeholders, and curriculum-design.

Toole, Briana. “Believing is Seeing: Feminist Philosophy, Knowledge, and Perception.” Philosophy by Women: 22 Philosophers Reflect on Philosophy and Its Value, edited by Elly Vintiadis. Routledge, 2021, pp. 161-168.

Abstract: “Seeing is believing!”, or so the old adage goes. Roughly, the idea expressed by the adage is this: one needs to see x before one is willing to believe that x exists. In this chapter, I examine the extent to which it is more apt to say that believing is seeing. Expanding on the work of feminist epistemologists and critical race scholars, I consider a number of cases in which one needs to believe that x exists before one can see x. I then consider how reframing the relationship between seeing and believing can deepen our understanding of a wide range of social phenomena, ranging from police brutality to sexual harassment.

Toole, Briana. “Demarginalizing Standpoint Epistemology.” Cambridge University Press, vol. 19, issue 1, 2022, pp. 47-65.

Abstract: Standpoint epistemology, the view that social identity is relevant to knowledge-acquisition, has been consigned to the margins of mainstream philosophy. In part, this is because the principles of standpoint epistemology are taken to be in opposition to those which guide traditional epistemology. One goal of this paper is to tease out the characterization of traditional epistemology that is at odds with standpoint epistemology. The characterization of traditional epistemology that I put forth is one which endorses the thesis of intellectualism, the view that knowledge does not depend on non-epistemic features. I then suggest that two further components—the atomistic view of knowers and aperspectivalism—can be usefully interpreted as supporting features of intellectualism. A further goal of this paper is to show that we ought to resist this characterization of traditional epistemology. I use pragmatic encroachment as a dialectical tool to motivate the denial of intellectualism, and consequently, the denial of both supporting components. I then attempt to show how it is possible to have a view, similar to pragmatic encroachment, that takes social identity, rather than stakes, to be the feature that makes a difference to what a person is in a position to know.

Toole, Briana. “Recent Work in Standpoint Epistemology.” Analysis, vol. 81, issue 2, 2021, pp. 338-350.

Abstract: This particular piece is written to introduce readers to standpoint epistemology and the three central theses that comprise this view: the situated knowledge thesis, the achievement thesis, and the epistemic privilege thesis. The situated knowledge thesis as a view according to which what one is in a position to know depends on facts about that person’s social identity. The achievement thesis holds that this situated knowledge is achieved through the process of consciousness-raising, a process that enables a person to critically evaluate the relationship between the experiences one has and the operative system that makes those experiences possible. Lastly, the epistemic privilege thesis claims that those in positions of powerlessness or marginalization may be better positioned to know certain facts about the world that may be obscure to those in positions of power and privilege. These theses have critical practical implications. Consider, for instance, that a college is trying to determine whether its campus is accessible by sending out a survey to its students. However, not all students will be equally well-positioned to answer this question, especially when we consider that those of us without physical disabilities are unlikely to know about the accessibility of campus given that we have no need to notice or attend to such issues.

Toole, Briana. “What Lies Beneath: The Epistemic Roots of White Supremacy.” Political Epistemology, edited by Elizabeth Edenberg and Michael Hannon. Oxford University Press, 2021, pp. 76-94.

Abstract: This article proposes thinking of white supremacy not merely as a social or political system, but as an epistemological one that frames how we understand and engage with the world. An epistemological system, I argue, shapes what aspects of the world we notice, what conceptual resources we have available to interpret what we notice, and that they prime us to form some beliefs rather than others. I argue that white supremacy is an operative epistemological system that leads us to notice and interpret aspects of the world in a way that is consistent with this system (a claim supported by psychological research on the subject). This makes it difficult to counter racist beliefs by providing counter-evidence, as whatever evidence we are presented with may be seen to merely confirm our pre-held racist attitudes.