Poster

Philosophers’ Brains: What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Philosophical Judgment?

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Abstract

Cognitive scientists have revealed a variety of psychological correlates (e.g. Adelstein 2011, Deyoung 2010) and biological correlates (e.g. Feldmanhall et al 2012, Glenn et al 2009, Harris et al 2009, Hsu et al 2005, Kahane et al 2012, Stern et al 2010) of various self-reported beliefs and judgments. It is perhaps most common to find articles reporting on political beliefs and judgments (e.g. Amodio et al 2007, Hatemi et al 2012, Kanai et al 2011, Jost et al 2007). This paper sets out to show that other types of judgments and belief are worthy of study, namely philosophers judgments and beliefs. The general hypothesis is that variations in neurobiology will correlate with and even predict variations in one’s proclivity towards or aversion to particular philosophical beliefs and judgments. I outline a few specific examples of this kind of hypothesis based on extant findings, explain the value of testing these hypotheses, provide two general ways to design the experiments, and discuss a few philosophical and methodological concerns about the project.

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