2023 Philosophy Publications and Grants

*Indicates student co-author.

Basu, Rima. “The Ethics of Expectations.” Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 13, edited by Mark Timmons. Oxford University Press, 2023, pp. 149-169.

Abstract: This chapter asks two questions about the ethics of expectations: one about the nature of expectations, and one about the wrongs of expectations. On the first question, expectations involve a rich constellation of attitudes ranging from beliefs to also include imaginings, hopes, fears, and dreams. As a result, sometimes expectations act like predictions, like your expectation of rain tomorrow, sometimes prescriptions, like the expectation that your students will do the reading, sometimes like proleptic reasons like the hope that your mentee will flourish, and sometimes expectations are peremptory in that they carry the force of moral law. Turning to the second question, given the multiple roles played by expectations it shouldn’t be surprising that there are also multiple ways expectations can be wrong to hold. Sometimes they wrong as beliefs do, e.g., doxastic wronging, and sometimes they result in alienation because of who holds that expectation of us. The upshot of this chapter is that getting clear on these potential ways expectations can wrong not only delivers an ethics of expectations that mirrors familiar discussions of the ethics of belief, but an ethics of expectations further opens the door for taking seriously an ethics of mental attitudes more generally.

Basu, Rima. “The Morality of Belief I: How Beliefs Wrong.” Philosophy Compass, vol. 18, issue 7, 2023, pp. 1-10.

Abstract: It is no surprise that we should be careful when it comes to what we believe. Believing false things can be costly. The morality of belief, also known as doxastic wronging, takes things a step further by suggesting that certain beliefs can not only be costly, they can also wrong. This article surveys some accounts of how this could be so. That is, how beliefs wrong.

Basu, Rima. “Morality of Belief II: Three Challenges and An Extension.” Philosophy Compass, vol. 18, issue 7, 2023, pp. 1-9.

Abstract: In this paper I explore three challenges to the morality of belief. First, whether we have the necessary control over our beliefs to be held responsible for them, i.e., the challenge of doxastic involuntarism. Second, the question of whether belief is really the attitude that we care about in the cases used to motivate the morality of belief. Third, whether attitudes weaker than belief, such as credence, can wrong, I then end by turning to how answers to the previous challenges suggest a way of extending the morality of belief to encompass a way of thinking of the moral mind more generally.

Basu, Ruma. “Risky Inquiry: Developing an Ethics for Philosophical Practice.” Hypatia, vol. 38, issue 2, 2023, pp. 275-293.

Abstract: Philosophical inquiry strives to be the unencumbered exploration of ideas. That is, unlike scientific research, which is subject to ethical oversight, it is commonly thought that it would either be inappropriate, or that it would undermine what philosophy fundamentally is, if philosophical research were subject to similar ethical oversight. Against this, I argue that philosophy is in need of a reckoning. Philosophical inquiry is a morally hazardous practice with its own risks. There are risks present in the methods we employ, risks inherent in the content of the views under consideration, and risks to the subjects of our inquiry. Likely, there are more risks still. However, by starting with the identification of these three risks we can demonstrate not only why an ethics of practice is needed but also which avenues are the most promising for developing an ethics for philosophical practice. Although we might just be in the business of asking questions, we do not merely, in virtue of engaging in philosophical inquiry, absolve ourselves of responsibility for the risks that inquiry incurs.

Hurley, Paul. Review of Rational Deliberation: Selected Writings, edited by Susan Dimock, Claire Finklestein, and Christoper Morris. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, January 1, 2023.

Johnson, Gabbrielle. “Unconscious Perception and Unconscious Bias: Parallel Debates about Unconscious Content.” Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind. Volume 3, edited by Uriah Kriegel. Oxford University Press, 2023, pp. 87-130.

Abstract: The possibilities of unconscious perception and unconscious bias prompt parallel debates about unconscious mental content. This chapter argues that claims within these debates alleging the existence of unconscious content are made fraught by ambiguity and confusion with respect to the two central concepts they involve: consciousness and content. Borrowing conceptual resources from the debate about unconscious perception, the chapter distills the two conceptual puzzles concerning each of these notions and establishes philosophical strategies for their resolution. It then argues that empirical evidence for unconscious bias falls victim to these same puzzles, but that progress can be made by adopting similar philosophical strategies. Throughout, the chapter highlights paths forward in both debates, illustrates how they serve as fruitful domains in which to study the relationship between philosophy and empirical science, and uses their combined study to further understanding of a general theory of unconscious content.

Kind, Amy and Daniel Stoljar. What is Consciousness? A Debate. Routledge, 2023.

Description: What is consciousness and why is it so philosophically and scientifically puzzling? For many years philosophers approached this question assuming a standard physicalist framework on which consciousness can be explained by contemporary physics, biology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. This book is a debate between two philosophers who are united in their rejection of this kind of "standard" physicalism - but who differ sharply in what lesson to draw from this. Amy Kind defends dualism 2.0, a thoroughly modern version of dualism (the theory that there are two fundamentally different kinds of things in the world: those that are physical and those that are mental) decoupled from any religious or non-scientific connotations. Daniel Stoljar defends non-standard physicalism, a kind of physicalism different from both the standard version and dualism 2.0. The book presents a cutting-edge assessment of the philosophy of consciousness and provides a glimpse at what the future study of this area might bring.

Kind, Amy. “Biometrics and the Metaphysics of Personal Identity.” IET Biometrics, vol. 12, issue 3, 2023, pp. 176-182.

Abstract: The vast advances in biometrics over the past several decades have brought with them a host of pressing concerns. Philosophical scrutiny has already been devoted to many of the relevant ethical and political issues, especially ones arising from matters of privacy, bias, and security in data collection. But philosophers have devoted surprisingly little attention to the relevant metaphysical issues, in particular, ones concerning matters of personal identity. This paper aims to take some initial steps to correct this oversight. After discussing the philosophical problem of personal identity, the ways in which the notion of biometric identity connects with, or fails to connect with, the philosophical notion of personal identity is explored. Though there may be some good reasons to use biometric identity to track personal identity, it is contended that biometric identity is not the same thing as personal identity and thus that biometrics researchers should stop talking as if it were.

Kind, Amy. “Imagining the Future.” Mana, February 6, 2023.

Kind, Amy. “Issues of Expertise in Perception and Imagination: Commentary on Stokes.” Philosophical Studies, 2023.

Abstract: In this commentary on Dustin Stokes’ Thinking and Perceiving, I focus on his discussion of perceptual expertise. This discussion occurs in the context of his case against modularity assumptions that underlie much contemporary theorizing about perception. As I suggest, there is much to be gained from thinking about considerations about perceptual expertise in conjunction with considerations about imaginative skill. In particular, I offer three different lessons that we can learn by way of the joint consideration of these two phenomena.

Kind, Amy. “Memory, Imagination, and Skill.” Philosophical Perspectives on Memory and Imagination, edited by Anja Berninger and Ingrid Vendrell Ferran. Taylor & Francis, 2023, pp. 192-211.

Kind, Amy. Review of Imagination in Inquiry, by A. Pablo Iannone. Review of Metaphysics, vol. 77, issue 2, 2023, pp. 354-355. 

Kind, Amy. “Salzburg Workshop on Imagistic Cognition: Some Intersecting Themes.” The Junkyard, May 17, 2023. 

Kind, Amy. “Why We Need Imagination.” Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind, 2nd edition, edited by Brian McLaughlin and Johnathan Cohen. Wiley-Blackwell, 2023, pp. 570-587.

Abstract: Traditionally, imagination has been considered to be a primitive mental state type (or group of types), irreducible to other mental state types. In particular, it has been thought to be distinct from other mental states such as belief, perception, and memory, among others. Recently, however, the category of imagination has come under attack, with challenges emerging from a multitude of different directions. Some philosophers have argued that we should not recognize belief and imagination as distinct states but rather on a continuum, whereas other philosophers have argued something similar with respect to belief and memory. And some philosophers have suggested that we can reduce imagination to other mental states, whether mental imagery, belief, supposition, or some combination. In this paper, I address some of these challenges in an attempt to show we need to maintain imagination as a distinct – and indeed, robust – category in our taxonomy of mind.

Maraguat, Edgar and James Kreines, editors. Hegel and Teleology. The Hegel Bulletin, Volume 22 - Special Issue 1. Cambridge University Press, 2023.

Korman, Daniel and Dustin Locke. “An Explanationist Account of Genealogical Defeat.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 106, issue 1, 2023, pp. 176-195.

Abstract: Sometimes, learning about the origins of a belief can make it irrational to continue to hold that belief—a phenomenon we call ‘genealogical defeat’. According to explanationist accounts, genealogical defeat occurs when one learns that there is no appropriate explanatory connection between one's belief and the truth. Flatfooted versions of explanationism have been widely and rightly rejected on the grounds that they would disallow beliefs about the future and other inductively-formed beliefs. After motivating the need for some explanationist account, we raise some problems for recent versions of explanationism. Learning from their failures, we then produce and defend a more resilient explanationism.

Korman, Daniel and Dustin Locke. “Modal Security and Evolutionary Debunking.” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, vol. 47, 2023, pp. 135-156.

Abstract: According to principles of modal security, evidence undermines a belief only when it calls into question certain purportedly important modal connections between one’s beliefs and the truth (e.g., safety or sensitivity). Justin Clarke-Doane and Dan Baras have advanced such principles with the aim of blocking evolutionary moral debunking arguments. We examine a variety of different principles of modal security, showing that some of these are too strong, failing to accommodate clear cases of undermining, while others are too weak, failing to do their advertised work of blocking evolutionary moral debunking arguments. If there is security principle that slips between the horns of this dilemma—one that is both viable and debunker-blocking—it remains to be formulated.

Korman, Daniel and Dustin Locke. “On Debunking Color Realism.” Evolutionary Debunking Arguments, edited by Diego E. Machuca. Routledge, 2023, pp. 257-277.

Abstract: You see a cherry and you experience it as red. A textbook explanation for why you have this sort of experience is going to cite such things as the cherry’s chemical surface properties and the distinctive mixture wavelengths of light it is disposed to reflect. What does not show up in this explanation is the redness of the cherry. Many allege that the availability of color-free explanations of color experience somehow calls into question our beliefs about the colors of objects around us. We explore how such explanations are supposed to undermine color beliefs, and in particular whether evolutionary considerations have any special role to play. 

Locke, Dustin. “The Levels System: An Application of Mastery Learning of Philosophical Writing.” Teaching Philosophy, vol. 46, issue 1, 2023, pp. 1-39.

Abstract: This paper describes an application of mastery learning to the teaching of philosophical writing—an approach I call “the Levels System.” In this paper, I explain the Levels System, how I integrate it into my course, and the pedagogical research supporting the principles of mastery learning on which it is built. I also compare the Levels System to Maryellen Weimer’s “menu approach,” Linda Nilson’s “specifications grading,” and Fred Keller’s “personalized system of instruction.” I argue that the Levels System has many of the virtues of these other systems and some additional virtues of its own.

Martin, Adrienne. Review of Coping: A Philosophical Guide, by Luc Bovens. The Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 73, issue 3, 2023, pp. 866-869.

Extract: Luc Bovens presents his book, Coping: A Philosophical Guide, as a teaching text, aimed at generating classroom discussion. Several features of the book suit it to this purpose. The topics are bound to resonate with undergraduates, especially first-year students making the great leap from living under their family's care and jurisdiction to the responsibilities and freedom of university life. The topics are loosely organised around the titular theme, and the idea that there are important life strategies between resistance and acceptance. Over the course of six short essays, Bovens explores the nature of hope and hoping well; the questions of what it means to die well and what people hope for in the face of death; the nature of love and how to live with lost love; apology and personal responses to wrongdoing; techniques for changing oneself or one's perspective, rather than striving to change the world; and the value and limits of counsels such as ‘Count your blessings’, and ‘Eat well’.

Obdrzalek, Suzanne. “Evaluative Illusion in Plato’s Protagoras.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, vol. 62, 2023, pp. 41-83. 

Abstract: In the Protagoras, Socrates argues that what appears to be akrasia is, in fact, the result of a hedonic illusion: proximate pleasures appear greater than distant ones. On the face of it, his account is puzzling: why should proximate pleasures appear greater than distant ones? Certain interpreters argue that Socrates must be assuming the existence of non-rational desires that cause proximate pleasures to appear inflated. In this paper, I argue that positing non-rational desires fails to explain the hedonic error. However, careful consideration of Socrates’ treatment of appearances reveals that he is not without resources to explain the illusion. I argue that in the Protagoras, appearances are imagistic mental representations that appear true but tend to be false. I suggest that proximate pleasures produce inflated hedonic predictions because we represent them more vividly than distant ones, yielding greater anticipatory pleasure which causes us to overestimate their magnitude.

Obdrzalek, Suzanne. “Socrates on Love.” The Bloomsbury Handbook of Socrates, 2nd Edition, edited by Russel E. Jones, Ravi Sharma, and Nicholas D. Smith. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2023 pp. 2029-2054.

Abstract: In this chapter, I offer an overview of current scholarly debates on Plato's Lysis. I also argue for my own interpretation of the dialogue. In the Lysis, Socrates argues that all love is motivated by the desire for one’s own good. This conclusion has struck many interpreters as unattractive, so much so that some attempt to reinterpret the dialogue, such that it either does not offer an account of interpersonal love, or that it offers an account on which love is, in fact, an other-regarding state. Others, notably Vlastos, criticize Socrates’ theory as implausibly and repellently egoistic. I maintain, against the first group, that Socrates is indeed offering an egoistic theory of love. I argue, against the second, that, while Socrates’ theory may be repellent, it possesses considerable explanatory power and avoids certain weaknesses which infect contemporary approaches to love.

Schroeder, Andrew. “Lockdowns, Bioethics, and the Public: Policy-Making in a Liberal Democracy.” Hastings Center Report, vol. 53, no. 6, 2023, pp. 11-17.

Abstract: Commentaries on the ethics of Covid lockdowns nearly all focus on offering substantive guidance to policy-makers. Lockdowns, however, raise many ethical questions that admit of a range of reasonable answers. In such cases, policy-making in a liberal democracy ought to be sensitive to which reasonable views the public actually holds—a topic existing bioethical work on lockdowns has not explored in detail. In this essay, I identify several important questions connected to the kind of influence the public ought to have on lockdown decision-making, including how policy-makers ought to handle misinformed or morally suspect viewpoints, and how policy-makers ought to respond to minority viewpoints. I argue that questions like this, concerning the appropriate influence of the public on decision-making, will be central to the field of bioethics as it increasingly focuses on policy and population-level issues and therefore ought to be priorities for future work.