This post at Psychology Today focuses on ways in which we can use promises to our friends and family, or other social commitment devices, as strategies to supplement our self-control. It is based on my research funded by the John Templeton Foundation, via the Philosophy and Science of Self-Control project at Florida State University.
This post at Psychology Today takes up a strand of current debate around the nature of moral testimony, and the relationship between moral knowledge and moral understanding. In particular it draws on exchanges between Alison Hills, Paulina Sliwa and Kieran Setiya (see post for references). It was picked up by Spanish website El Confidencial.
This post at The Philosophers’ Magazine is one of a collection of pieces by philosophers on the UK General Election 2017. I complain about election leaflets carrying bar graphs where the relative sizes of the bars is out of all proportion to the vote shares they supposedly represent. The lurking philosophical issue is whether the lying/merely misleading distinction can sensibly be applied to pictorial representations as well as to written/verbal language. (Yes, and such bar graphs are outright lies.)
How to feel better about battling your darker side.
This post at Psychology Today developed out of my research on social mechanisms through which we try to exercise self-control, and in particular the variety of virtue-ethical approaches to temptation, continence, and self-control.
We can’t plan for spontaneity, but trust can help it happen.
This post at Psychology Today was prompted by Jason D’Cruz’s 2013 paper Volatile Reasons, plus some ideas from my book-in-progress about the ways in which our ability to be trustworthy can depend a great deal on our environment, both physical and social.
How to let people down gently when they are asking too much.
This post at Psychology Today reflects some aspects of my work on trustworthiness, in particular the idea that trustworthiness requires a degree of caution about taking on new commitments, as well as diligence in trying to meet our existing commitments.
Is it better to be evasive than to tell an outright lie?
This post at Psychology Today distinguishes lying from misleading, and discusses the ethical significance of the distinction, with reference to Jenny Saul’s book Lying, Misleading, and What is Said (OUP 2012). I was prompted to think about this by my work on a paper ‘Lies and Coercion’, forthcoming in Michaelson and Stokke (eds.) Lying (OUP), but the post doesn’t draw directly on my paper.
When is a gift not (just) a gift?
This pre-Christmas post at Psychology Today discusses gifting and reciprocity, linking this to the ultimatum game and drawing upon a brief discussion in my Trust: a Very Short Introduction.
After a bitter election, we urgently need more mutual understanding.
This post at Psychology Today uses the US election as hook to introduce ideas about strategic ignorance and social power (with reference to Charles W. Mills). There are subsurface connections to my paper ‘Social Science as a Guide to Social Metaphysics’, forthcoming in Journal of General Philosophy of Science.
How trustworthiness requires good judgement as well as good intentions. This post at Psychology Today explores the ways in which we can let other people down when we over-commit, or underestimate the difficulty of a task – this form of untrustworthiness stands alongside the more obvious forms involving dishonesty or intentional manipulation. I briefly mention situations in which it is difficult for us to say ‘no’ to new commitments.
The post develops a theme which is obvious in philosophical work on trustworthiness in testimony (where competence is to the fore, alongside sincerity), but sometimes less obvious in philosophical work on trust in practical situations.