It is now taken for granted in many circles that substantial psychological variability exists across human populations; we do not merely differ in the ways we behave, but in the ways we think, as well. Versions of this view have been around since early interest in ‘cultural relativism’ in cultural psychology and anthropology, but Joe Henrich, Steven Heine, and Ara Norenzayan’s 2010 paper, ‘The Weirdest People in the World?’ has had an exciting and catalyzing impact on the field, getting researchers (...) involved in discussions of human nature to take cross-cultural cognitive diversity seriously. Reviewing a broad selection of comparative studies from across the behavioral sciences, in social psychology, cognitive... (shrink)
This article takes the following two assumptions for granted: first, that gifts influence physicians and, second, that the influences gifts have on physicians may be harmful for patients. These assumptions are common in the applied ethics literature, and they prompt an obvious practical question, namely, what is the best way to mitigate the negative effects? We examine the negative effects of gift giving in depth, considering how the influence occurs, and we assert that the ethical debate surrounding gift-giving practices must (...) be reoriented. Our main claim is that the failure of recent policies addressing gift giving can be traced to a misunderstanding of what psychological mechanisms are most likely to underpin physicians’ biased behavior as a result of interaction with the medical industry. The problem with gift giving is largely not a matter of malicious or consciously self-interested behavior, but of well-intentioned actions on the part of physicians that are nonetheless perniciously infected by the presence of the medical industry. Substantiating this claim will involve elaboration on two points. First, we will retrace the history of policies regarding gift giving between the medical profession and the medical industry and highlight how most policies assume a rationalistic view of moral agency. Reliance on this view of agency is best illustrated by past attempts to address gift giving in terms of conflicts of interest. Second, we will introduce and motivate an alternate view of moral agency emerging from recent literature in social psychology on implicit social cognition. We will show that proper consideration of implicit social cognition paints a picture of human psychology at odds with the rationalistic model assumed in discussions of COIs. With these two pieces on the table we will be able to show that, without fully appreciating the social-psychological mechanisms of implicit cognition, policy-makers are likely to overlook significant aspects of how gifts influence doctors. (shrink)
Self-knowledge is a difficult thing. Many have had the experience of knowing that a friend or partner is in a bad mood before she herself realizes it. Similarly, with mental illness it seems that a person may be sick without realizing it, or even while denying it outright. Anosognosia, the lack of awareness that one is mentally ill, is most visible in cases of dementia or brain damage, but recent insights in psychology have shown that healthy human beings too generally (...) lack accurate introspective awareness in matters of our own well-being.1 Getting this right—whether or not someone is flourishing2 psychologically—is crucial in psychiatry, and self-report cannot always be relied upon.At the same time, many have been... (shrink)
In many areas of philosophy, it is becoming more and more mainstream to appeal or at least refer to social science research. For example, in moral psychology, the empirically informed approach is well established in the literature on moral judgment, moral emotions, and moral responsibility (Greene, 2013; Nichols, 2004; Prinz, 2007; Kelly, 2011; Doris, 2016; Roskies, 2006; Vargas, 2013). Does work in the social sciences have any bearing on philosophical questions about practical reason or reasoning? While there has been some (...) excellent work that explores this question (e.g., Stein, 1996 ; Bishop and Trout, 2004 ), the growing empirical wave is less noticeable here. But this may not be because empirical research is irrelevant to the philosophical questions in the area. In this chapter, we will consider three questions about practical reason or reasoning that might be illuminated by attention to research in the social sciences. First, we’ll consider whether research on the role of sentiments on moral judgment is relevant to the philosophical debate between moral rationalism and moral sentimentalism. Second, we’ll consider whether research on the unconscious causes of action undermines philosophical views about the relationship between reasons and actions. Third, we’ll consider whether research on implicit bias is relevant to the normative question of how we can reason better. Along the way, we’ll see that when philosophical arguments and theories about practical reason make empirical assumptions – which they often do – empirical research can help to test these assumptions. We’ll also see that philosophical theories don’t always make the assumptions they are accused of making by their critics. Finally, we’ll see that we can make better prescriptions for how to reason better if we have a better sense of what we’re doing wrong. (shrink)
I take issue with Kalisch et al.’s formulation of PASTOR, arguing that care must be taken in understanding what is meant by “appraisal.” I examine the implications of PASTOR given two competing possibilities for what counts as an appraisal – first, if appraisal is restricted to conscious reflection on one’s circumstances, and second, if appraisal is expanded to include subconscious mechanisms of evaluation.
We discuss the implications of the Selfish Goal model for moral responsibility, arguing it suggests a form of skepticism we call the “locus problem.” In denying that individuals contain any genuine psychological core of information processing, the Selfish Goal model denies the kind of locus of control intuitively presupposed by ascriptions of responsibility. We briefly consider ways the problem might be overcome.