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    [–] Would a criminal conviction stop me from getting into grad school? byrd_nick 2 points ago in AcademicPsychology

    I’ve heard of worse crimes committed by people in academia. And some people in academia either talk openly or do not bother to hide evidence they do or consume illegal stuff. I’ve never seen any of these academics (grad students or faculty) experience difficulty keeping their position or being promoted/tenured/etc. So, committing crimes is probably not a disqualifier. And it’s not clear why being convicted of said crimes should be dramatically worse—even if various definitions/dogmas of professionalism would suggest otherwise.

    One thing I have to remember is that some states or university administrators can implement/enforce bizarre policies that severely punish otherwise common university behavior. So, perhaps your state or preferred university has a bizarre policy that would prevent someone in your situation from being admitted to a particular graduate program.

    I’d be curious to hear from others about the expected impact of having “a record” for graduate programs and other academic opportunities.

    [–] How Footnotes Can Be (Morally) Bad byrd_nick 1 points ago in philosophy

    Hmm. The claim is uncontroversial among everyone I know that reads auditorily. We’d love to be wrong (since that would mean that our lives could be easier). Can you show how PDF documents are, in fact, not more difficult for our software to read correctly?

    [–] How Footnotes Can Be (Morally) Bad byrd_nick 1 points ago in philosophy

    The problem may seem to silly to people who have no problem reading visually, a bit like the problems of stairwells, curbs, and narrow doorways are silly to people who have no problems walking bipedally . Whether such seemings show that the problems are actually silly is far from obvious.

    [–] How Footnotes Can Be (Morally) Bad byrd_nick 0 points ago * (lasted edited 3 days ago) in philosophy

    Even if the medium is the message, if the medium is capable of being accessible to many more people without being disproportionally more inconvenient to just a single person (e.g., an author), then the medium should be made more accessible. Just like that’s the case for digital images (e.g., we should embed “alternate text” into digital images online because doing so is easy and its benefits drastically outwiegh its costs) that’s the code for digital writing (eliminating notes or switching to endnotes is pretty easy and stands to confer benefits much larger than its costs).

    [–] How Footnotes Can Be (Morally) Bad byrd_nick 0 points ago in philosophy

    Your solutions do not preclude the solutions being proposed in this post.

    And answers to some of your “Why...” questions are at the end of the piece—e.g., the solution being proposed in this post can be implemented more easily and by any writer whereas the solutions you propose are harder to implement and can only be implemented by a select few.

    [–] How Footnotes Can Be (Morally) Bad byrd_nick 1 points ago in philosophy


    It’s 2019. Computers can drive cars, operate stores, and outperform humans in sophisticated games. However, computers cannot correctly read a PDF with footnotes. Alas, many people have to rely on their computers to read PDF papers. So, many people face significant obstacles while trying to consume written research. That seems bad. Insofar as we can prevent this bad outcome without thereby making matters worse, we should. (And writers, editors, etc. can prevent this bad. So, they should.)

    [–] A dissertation about the role of reflective reasoning in philosophy, morality, and bias. byrd_nick 1 points ago in philosophy

    Great question!

    The reflective judgment model seems like a really influential model in education, professional development (e.g., “reflective practice”), and pragmatist thought more generally. I’ve been following Google Scholar alerts for the model for a few months, but I have not noticed any clear empirical explications of what this community means by reflective judgment or its stages or (perhaps as a result) good quantitative research of about such judgment and its developmental stages. If you know of well-powered, quantitative work that would help me better evaluate the reflective judgment model, then I’d love to read it! Consider this an open invitation to share!

    [–] A dissertation about the role of reflective reasoning in philosophy, morality, and bias. byrd_nick 3 points ago in philosophy

    I see. Dual process theory is often unclear or inconsistent about what it means by System/Type 2 Deliberation. I’m mostly following Shea & Firth’s 2016 clarification of Type 2 cognition—i.e., consciously represented and less automatic thinking—and then providing a psychological model of that, and then discussing the model’s implications for philosophy.

    [–] A dissertation about the role of reflective reasoning in philosophy, morality, and bias. byrd_nick 1 points ago in philosophy

    That’s part of it. The first chapter lays it all out. An abbreviated version of the concept (but not the psychological model) is in the first few paragraphs of the post “What Is Reflective Reasoning?”

    [–] A dissertation about the role of reflective reasoning in philosophy, morality, and bias. byrd_nick 5 points ago in philosophy

    Hmm. You’re interpretation in your first paragraph is consistent with what you quote.

    But your comment reveals the need to emphasize that what I’ve found about philosophers being more reflective does not answer questions of causation like, “does philosophy cause reflection or does reflection cause philosophy (or both)?” So the data are consistent with your interpretation, but they are also consistent with alternative interpretations.

    [–] A dissertation about the role of reflective reasoning in philosophy, morality, and bias. byrd_nick 3 points ago in philosophy

    Hmm. The last chapter is the final product of the first seminar paper I wrote as a PhD student, which would have been 4 years ago. Some of third and fourth chapters are motivated by work I did as an MA student about 5 years ago. Obviously, I’ve not been working on only these 5 chapters for the last 4-5 years, but that helps explain how long projects can be in the pipeline at least.

    Also, one of my next blog posts is a dive into a year’s worth of data showing how I spent my time as a grad student in 2018. I use a time-tracking app to log all of the time I spend on coursework, dissertation work, conferencing, publishing, teaching, funding/bureaucracy, etc. I’ll share and visualize the data to give people a better idea of how time gets allocated (for me, at least). So, you might be interested in that post.

    [–] A dissertation about the role of reflective reasoning in philosophy, morality, and bias. byrd_nick 15 points ago * (lasted edited 7 days ago) in philosophy


    1. An account of reflection according to which reflection can, but does not necessarily improve judgment and decision-making: “bounded reflectionism”. This account stems from the evidence that reflection involves multiple stages and can be motivated by partisanship.

    2. A review of the various scientific measures of reflection reveals their shortcoming ms: they confound reflection with other factors and some involve a strange a priori assumption about the relationship between intuition and reflection. This chapter offers two solutions: verbal report protocols and process dissociation.

    3. The degree to which people reflect seems to predict many of their philosophical beliefs and judgments—e.g., less reflective people have tended toward theism. However, philosophers seem to be more reflective than others. So two studies examine whether differences in highly reflective philosophers will also predict differences in philosophical beliefs and judgments. Spoiler: they do.

    4. Some studies find that more reflective people tend towards utilitarian moral judgments and that less reflective people tend toward deontological judgments. However, the measures of reflection used in these studies are mathematical tasks, which confound reflection with numeracy. So one might wonder if utilitarian moral judgments are more reflective or merely more numerate. Two studies provide some evidence for the latter. Mathematical measures of reflection predict only utilitarian moral judgment, but logical and other measures of reflection predict both deontological and utilitarian moral judgment.

    5. The received view of implicit bias is that it is associative and it involves no reflection (e.g., some call it “unconscious bias”). Some challenge the idea that it is associative. This paper reviews the evidence and arguments for such non-associative views of implicit bias and finds them wanting. In the end, it finds evidence that implicit bias can be both associative and reflective.


    Free preprints of each paper will be posted once they are accepted for publication. So if you want automatic updates on these projects, follow along.

    [–] "The concepts of realism and objectivity are in tension [and] objectivity, not realism, should take center stage." byrd_nick 3 points ago in AcademicPhilosophy

    Objectivity and Evaluation

    Justin Clarke-Doane

    Abstract. In this article, I introduce the notion of pluralism about an area, and use it to argue that the questions at the center of our normative lives are not settled by the facts -- even the normative facts. One upshot of the discussion is that the concepts of realism and objectivity, which are widely identified, are actually in tension. Another is that the concept of objectivity, not realism, should take center stage.

    [–] Philosophical training may not improve our intuitions—actually, it might pollute them. byrd_nick 3 points ago in philosophy

    Title: Why Don’t Philosophers Do Their Intuition Practice?

    James Andow (University of East Anglia)

    Abstract. I bet you don’t practice your philosophical intuitions. What’s your excuse? If you think philosophical training improves the reliability of philosophical intuitions, then practicing intuitions should improve them even further. I argue that philosophers’ reluctance to practice their intuitions highlights a tension in the way that they think about the role of intuitions in philosophy.

    [–] Neuroscience is not better than psychology, and it cannot replace psychology. byrd_nick 1 points ago in philosophy

    Hmm. I’m not sure what a lot of these terms actually mean—e.g., “a giant bed of fluff” is just a metaphor. Can you define ‘concrete’ and ‘build’ from your description of physics and then explain precisely how psychology does not fulfill your physics-based description of science, citing current examples of the methods of experimental psychology?

    [–] Ocasio-Cortez wants higher taxes on very rich Americans. Here’s how much money that could raise. byrd_nick 16 points ago in Economics

    If the income of the top 1% is more than 40% of the country’s income, then no: the 1% is not doing its fair share.

    [–] "the empirical research which says that there are fewer women in Philosophy because women naturally lack the personalities required to be good philosophers is unconvincing." byrd_nick 1 points ago in AcademicPhilosophy


    • How do you imagine this anonymization strategy overcoming gender biases in later stages of the hiring/promotion process (e.g., phone interviews, in-person interviews, etc.)?

    • How do you imagine the anonymization strategy overcoming the differences in applications that are neither name nor gender, but are themselves due to gender bias (e.g., CVs that display less due to someone having fewer opportunities in one way or another).

    If such gender bias can play a role in non-anonymized stages of hiring and promotion and in what ends up in application materials, then it would seem that the anonymization strategy, while potentially helpful, would not be enough. No?

    [–] Neuroscience is not better than psychology, and it cannot replace psychology. byrd_nick 1 points ago in philosophy

    If a connection to physics and evidence are necessary (even if not sufficient) to science, then even some areas of physics (e.g., all of the theory that has yet to be or cannot be corroborated empirically) are less scientific than neuroscience and psychology in at least one way: less/no evidence.

    Also, it's not clear why studying what brains do is fundamentally different than studying what bodies do—especially given that what bodies do is, in large part, just an extension of what brains do. Can you precisify precisely how these observations are fundamentally different regarding your criteria about connections to physics and evidence? (Or are you admitting that they are not fundamentally different in those ways?)

    [–] Neuroscience is not better than psychology, and it cannot replace psychology. byrd_nick 1 points ago in philosophy

    Interesting. So something is scientific if it’s connected to physics, even non-empirically. Wouldn’t that make many fantasy video games (which employ principles of physics) scientific. This is beginning to seem like a strange conception of science.

    Also, on that conception, it’s not clear why neuroscience would be scientific. What exactly is its connection with physics that psychology lacks?