Experimental Philosophy: Starring Amanda Palmer

A new video presents some surprising experimental results, with 3-D animated extraterrestrials and narration from rockstar Amanda Palmer.

Is Science Value-Free? An Experimental Study

An experimental study run on more than 1,000 scientists shows that their value judgments actually have a surprising influence on the way they decide whether a trait is 'innate.'

Can You Truly Be Happy Without a Meaningful Life?

A new interactive video lets you experience the latest experimental studies for yourself.

Sex and Violence: Male Warriors Revisited

Is male violence innate? The debate rages on.

Why Are Men So Violent?

Are men warriors by nature? A new evolutionary account may be wrong about the source of male violence.

Does Pornography Treat Women as Objects?

A new series of experiments looks at the impact of pornography. When people see a woman in a pornographic image, do they think of her entirely as a body and not as a mind? Or might they neglect only certain parts of her mind but continue to focus on others?

Deepak Chopra Takes on Experimental Philosophy

How do people understand the 'true self'? Recent research has gone after this question with systematic experimental studies. Deepak Chopra has argued that this research is misguided.

Sex on the Bench: Do Women and Men Have Different Moral Values?

Do men and women have different moral values?  If so, how will this change the Supreme Court if Elena Kagan is confirmed?

Experimental Philosophy on YouTube

A funny new video in which experimental philosophers take on an ancient conundrum.

Do People of all Cultures Believe in Free Will?

Imagine a universe in which everything that happens is completely caused by whatever happened before.

Do You Have Asperger's Syndrome?

How do we think about the intentional nature of actions? And how do people with an impaired mindreading capacity thinkg about it?

Do Atheists Pose a Threat to Morality?

Atheism is said to pose a major threat to morality. Some theists claim that disbelief leads to moral relativism and undermines the motivation to do good deeds. Recent research can help us see what is true and false about these anxieties.

Justice and Honor

A 2006 Washington Post article profiles a big-time Washington D.C. gang leader known as "A.J." The author reveals that A.J.'s half-brother was recently murdered. The killer then turned himself in and was charged with first degree murder. Here's A.J.'s reaction:"I would have rather him stayed on the street -- and get some street justice . . . I'm very upset that I can't do nothing about it. I'm very upset that this dude took the sucker way out and turned himself in. I'm mad and angry."(From "In or Out of the Game" by Kevin Merida. Washington Post, December 31, 2006)A.J. was upset, mad, angry, and yet it seems like justice was served. The murderer was charged for his crime and is going to be punished according to the gravity of his offense. He will receive his "just-deserts." So why is A.J. so angry and upset?

How to Eliminate Racism Part I

No doubt, racism is one of the most important evils in our pluralistic, open societies need to confront. And various programs are meant to do so. But what are the odds that these programs will work? Psychology can help us answer this question.

Torn Between Left and Right

New research in experimental philosophy explores the psychology behind our political preferences

Know thyself?

Knowledge about our own mental states seems to be the most secure thing in the world, doesn’t it? I certainly know what I feel and think right now and I know it more securely than any other thing I might know. Right? Philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel begs to differ.

Can the mentally ill be to blame?

Suppose you learned that someone had committed a horrible rape. And now suppose you find out that he is suffering from a neurological condition. Would you still hold him responsible for what he had done?

What’s the matter with a little brother/sister action?

 Fellow "Experiments in Philosophy" blogger Jesse Prinz posted about UVA psychologist Jon Haidt's work on political differences. I want to continue exploring the philosophical implications of Haidt's work by asking whether it's all right for Julie and her brother Mark to have sex.Here's a scenario drawn from a study Haidt conducted:

Would You be Willing to Enter the Matrix?

A new study in experimental philosophy asks whether people would be willing to live a life of illusion.

How Ideology Colors Morality

Do you think members of the opposition party are a bunch or idiots? Or worse, might they bad people deliberately trying to achieve reprehensible ends? The real problem is that liberals and conservatives have different basic values, and political debates are just cross talk.

What's Innate and What's Not? And Should We Care?

Philosophers and psychologists often debate about whether our beliefs, emotions, desires, values, etc., are innate or whether they are learned. But does this type of debate make sense? Paul Griffiths, Stefan Linquist and I have argued that it does not!

No Soul? I Can Live with That. No Free Will? AHHHHH!!!

Imagine a world where no one believed in free will. Life would no longer have meaning, right? We'd be robots, puppets on a string, living a mockery of a real human existence. And why be moral? After all, if we do something bad, we didn't freely choose to do it, and so we cannot be morally responsible for that choice. So why bother?

Does Donating Money Make Us Happy?

As my second official post, I'll point our readers to a finding that recently appeared in Science. Elizabeth Dunn (UBC) and her colleagues demonstrated that giving money to others makes us more happy overall than using that money for ourselves.