Julius Schönherr
CV: PDF
Teaching
Writing Wagner
I am a PhD student in the philosophy department at the University of Maryland. My research revolves around the cognitive foundations of human cooperative interaction and, more recently, on the nature of forgiveness. In my dissertation, I try to provide some answers to the question "How much mindreading is minimally necessary for cooperative activities such as joint action and coordination?". Feel invited to have a look at my one-page dissertation summary: PDF
Published Papers
When Forgiveness Comes Easy (In press). The Journal of Value Inquiry. Forgiveness, philosophical orthodoxy has it, must involve a causal process that leads from the recognition of the right kind of reasons (e.g. an apology) to forgoing some suitable negatively valenced emotion (e.g. resentment). In other words, forgiveness is said to require that the victim forswear resentment for the right reasons. In this paper, I will argue that undergoing such a process is not necessary for forgiveness. Rather, forgiveness consists in endorsing one’s having let go of resentment in light of the recognition of the right kinds of reasons. My view has desirable implications: First, it shows that, at times, forgiving can be easy. In the cases I have in mind the victim had lost her resentment long before an apology was issued. Second, I argue that, if philosophical orthodoxy were correct, agents would not generally be in the position to know whether they forgave. PDF
Lucky Joint Action (2018). Philosophical Psychology. In this paper, I argue that joint action permits a certain degree of luck. The cases I have in mind exhibit the following structure: each participant believes that the intended ends of each robustly support the joint action. This belief turns out to be false. Due to lucky circumstances, the discordance in intention never becomes common knowledge. However, common knowledge of the relevant intentions would have undermined the joint action altogether. The analysis of such cases shows the extent to which common knowledge of the participants’ intentions can be harmful to joint action. This extends a recent line of research that has questioned the necessity of common knowledge in joint action. PDF
Still Lives for Headaches (2018). Utilitas. There is no large number of very small bads that is worse than a small number of very large bads – or so, some maintain, it seems plausible to say. In this article, I criticize and reject two recently proposed vindications of the above intuition put forth by Dale Dorsey and Alex Voorhoeve. Dorsey advocates for a threshold marked by the interference with a person’s global life projects: any bad that interferes with the satisfaction of a life project is worse than any number of bads that don’t interfere with such a life project. Such thresholds, I argue, are broadly implausible. Voorhoeve gives a contractualist account for the irrelevance of minor bads. His account, I argue, does not, among other things, provide the right kind of reason in defense of the above intuition. PDF
Beyond ‘Interaction’: How to Understand Social Effects on Social Cognition (2017). British Journal of the Philosophy of Science (with Evan Westra). In recent years, a number of philosophers and cognitive scientists have advocated for an ‘interactive turn’ in the methodology of social-cognition research: to become more ecologically valid, we must design experiments that are interactive, rather than merely observational. While the practical aim of improving ecological validity in the study of social cognition is laudable, we think that the notion of ‘interaction’ is not suitable for this task: as it is currently deployed in the social cognition literature, this notion leads to serious conceptual and methodological confusion. In this paper, we tackle this confusion on three fronts: (1) we revise the ‘interactionist’ definition of interaction; (2) we demonstrate a number of potential methodological confounds that arise in interactive experimental designs; and (3) we show that ersatz interactivity works just as well as the real thing. We conclude that the notion of ‘interaction’, as it is currently being deployed in this literature, obscures an accurate understanding of human social cognition. PDF
What’s so Special About Interaction in Social Cognition? (2017). Review of Philosophy and Psychology. Enactivists often defend the following two claims: (a.) Successful interactions are not driven and explained by the interactors’ ability to mindread (i.e. the ability to attribute beliefs and desires to other agents). And (b.) the mechanisms enabling 2nd personal social cognition and those enabling 3rd personal social cognition are distinct. In this paper, I argue that both of these claims are false. With regard to (a.) I argue that enactivists fail to provide a plausible alternative to traditional accounts of social cognition in interaction. I examine and reject Hanne De Jaegher’s view according to which interaction is “constitutive” for social interaction. Furthermore, I critically discuss Shaun Gallagher’s and Daniel Hutto’s views according to which social interactions are exclusively driven by low level cognitive mechanisms such as “gaze following” and “emotion detection”. Concerning (b.), I rely on data from so called “spontaneous response” false belief tasks to show that interactive and observational paradigms require the same “social-cognitive” interpretation. PDF
Work in Progress
Paper about Coordinating Through Reasoning from Precedent (submitted). It has been argued that predicting others’ behavior in the context of a coordination game relying on precedent as a standard of inference presupposes so-called ‘common inductive standards’; i.e. a piece of (common) knowledge on the part of each player that one’s co-participants employ a similar standard of inference. My concern in this paper is to show that this claim is implausible. Precedent-based predictions are incompatible `common inductive standards’; the main reason being that common inductive standards are characterized in terms of higher-order beliefs (or knowledge); i.e. beliefs about what others believe yet others will do. In coordination games, however, justifications based on higher-order beliefs defeat justifications based on precedent. For this reason, I suggest that, when coordinating through reasoning from precedent, the common inductive standards requirement should be cast negatively as the common absence of higher-order beliefs. This analysis extends a nascent line of research according to which common knowledge can be harmful to certain cooperative activities. PDF
Paper about Forgiveness (submitted). In this paper, I defend what I call the endorsement view of forgiveness. On this view, forgiveness is the victim’s endorsement of her lack of negative offender-directed emotions (e.g. resentment) in light of the recognition of the right kind of reason to forgive. This view contrasts with the influential emotion account according to which forgiveness is the victim’s moderation of her negative offender-directed emotions (e.g. resentment) for the right kind of reason to forgive. Thus, while the emotion view focuses on emotional change, my view focuses on practically efficacious evaluations of these emotions. Supporting my account, I argue that, of these two views, only the endorsement view can show why victims of an offense are usually able to know whether they are in the position to forgive, and why forgiving entails a commitment not to unforgive. PDF
Julius Schönherr
CV: PDF
Teaching
Writing Wagner
I am a PhD student in the philosophy department at the University of Maryland. My research revolves around the cognitive foundations of human cooperative interaction and, more recently, on the nature of forgiveness. In my dissertation, I try to provide some answers to the question "How much mindreading is minimally necessary for cooperative activities such as joint action and coordination?". Feel invited to have a look at my one-page dissertation summary: PDF
Published Papers
When Forgiveness Comes Easy (In press). The Journal of Value Inquiry. Forgiveness, philosophical orthodoxy has it, must involve a causal process that leads from the recognition of the right kind of reasons (e.g. an apology) to forgoing some suitable negatively valenced emotion (e.g. resentment). In other words, forgiveness is said to require that the victim forswear resentment for the right reasons. In this paper, I will argue that undergoing such a process is not necessary for forgiveness. Rather, forgiveness consists in endorsing one’s having let go of resentment in light of the recognition of the right kinds of reasons. My view has desirable implications: First, it shows that, at times, forgiving can be easy. In the cases I have in mind the victim had lost her resentment long before an apology was issued. Second, I argue that, if philosophical orthodoxy were correct, agents would not generally be in the position to know whether they forgave. PDF
Lucky Joint Action (2018). Philosophical Psychology. In this paper, I argue that joint action permits a certain degree of luck. The cases I have in mind exhibit the following structure: each participant believes that the intended ends of each robustly support the joint action. This belief turns out to be false. Due to lucky circumstances, the discordance in intention never becomes common knowledge. However, common knowledge of the relevant intentions would have undermined the joint action altogether. The analysis of such cases shows the extent to which common knowledge of the participants’ intentions can be harmful to joint action. This extends a recent line of research that has questioned the necessity of common knowledge in joint action. PDF
Still Lives for Headaches (2018). Utilitas. There is no large number of very small bads that is worse than a small number of very large bads – or so, some maintain, it seems plausible to say. In this article, I criticize and reject two recently proposed vindications of the above intuition put forth by Dale Dorsey and Alex Voorhoeve. Dorsey advocates for a threshold marked by the interference with a person’s global life projects: any bad that interferes with the satisfaction of a life project is worse than any number of bads that don’t interfere with such a life project. Such thresholds, I argue, are broadly implausible. Voorhoeve gives a contractualist account for the irrelevance of minor bads. His account, I argue, does not, among other things, provide the right kind of reason in defense of the above intuition. PDF
Beyond ‘Interaction’: How to Understand Social Effects on Social Cognition (2017). British Journal of the Philosophy of Science (with Evan Westra). In recent years, a number of philosophers and cognitive scientists have advocated for an ‘interactive turn’ in the methodology of social-cognition research: to become more ecologically valid, we must design experiments that are interactive, rather than merely observational. While the practical aim of improving ecological validity in the study of social cognition is laudable, we think that the notion of ‘interaction’ is not suitable for this task: as it is currently deployed in the social cognition literature, this notion leads to serious conceptual and methodological confusion. In this paper, we tackle this confusion on three fronts: (1) we revise the ‘interactionist’ definition of interaction; (2) we demonstrate a number of potential methodological confounds that arise in interactive experimental designs; and (3) we show that ersatz interactivity works just as well as the real thing. We conclude that the notion of ‘interaction’, as it is currently being deployed in this literature, obscures an accurate understanding of human social cognition. PDF
What’s so Special About Interaction in Social Cognition? (2017). Review of Philosophy and Psychology. Enactivists often defend the following two claims: (a.) Successful interactions are not driven and explained by the interactors’ ability to mindread (i.e. the ability to attribute beliefs and desires to other agents). And (b.) the mechanisms enabling 2nd personal social cognition and those enabling 3rd personal social cognition are distinct. In this paper, I argue that both of these claims are false. With regard to (a.) I argue that enactivists fail to provide a plausible alternative to traditional accounts of social cognition in interaction. I examine and reject Hanne De Jaegher’s view according to which interaction is “constitutive” for social interaction. Furthermore, I critically discuss Shaun Gallagher’s and Daniel Hutto’s views according to which social interactions are exclusively driven by low level cognitive mechanisms such as “gaze following” and “emotion detection”. Concerning (b.), I rely on data from so called “spontaneous response” false belief tasks to show that interactive and observational paradigms require the same “social-cognitive” interpretation. PDF
Work in Progress
Paper about Coordinating Through Reasoning from Precedent (submitted). It has been argued that predicting others’ behavior in the context of a coordination game relying on precedent as a standard of inference presupposes so-called ‘common inductive standards’; i.e. a piece of (common) knowledge on the part of each player that one’s co-participants employ a similar standard of inference. My concern in this paper is to show that this claim is implausible. Precedent-based predictions are incompatible `common inductive standards’; the main reason being that common inductive standards are characterized in terms of higher-order beliefs (or knowledge); i.e. beliefs about what others believe yet others will do. In coordination games, however, justifications based on higher-order beliefs defeat justifications based on precedent. For this reason, I suggest that, when coordinating through reasoning from precedent, the common inductive standards requirement should be cast negatively as the common absence of higher-order beliefs. This analysis extends a nascent line of research according to which common knowledge can be harmful to certain cooperative activities. PDF
Paper about Forgiveness (submitted). In this paper, I defend what I call the endorsement view of forgiveness. On this view, forgiveness is the victim’s endorsement of her lack of negative offender-directed emotions (e.g. resentment) in light of the recognition of the right kind of reason to forgive. This view contrasts with the influential emotion account according to which forgiveness is the victim’s moderation of her negative offender-directed emotions (e.g. resentment) for the right kind of reason to forgive. Thus, while the emotion view focuses on emotional change, my view focuses on practically efficacious evaluations of these emotions. Supporting my account, I argue that, of these two views, only the endorsement view can show why victims of an offense are usually able to know whether they are in the position to forgive, and why forgiving entails a commitment not to unforgive. PDF
Julius Schönherr
CV: PDF
Teaching
Writing Wagner
I am a PhD student in the philosophy department at the University of Maryland. My research revolves around the cognitive foundations of human cooperative interaction and, more recently, on the nature of forgiveness. In my dissertation, I try to provide some answers to the question "How much mindreading is minimally necessary for cooperative activities such as joint action and coordination?". Feel invited to have a look at my one-page dissertation summary: PDF
Published Papers
When Forgiveness Comes Easy (In press). The Journal of Value Inquiry. Forgiveness, philosophical orthodoxy has it, must involve a causal process that leads from the recognition of the right kind of reasons (e.g. an apology) to forgoing some suitable negatively valenced emotion (e.g. resentment). In other words, forgiveness is said to require that the victim forswear resentment for the right reasons. In this paper, I will argue that undergoing such a process is not necessary for forgiveness. Rather, forgiveness consists in endorsing one’s having let go of resentment in light of the recognition of the right kinds of reasons. My view has desirable implications: First, it shows that, at times, forgiving can be easy. In the cases I have in mind the victim had lost her resentment long before an apology was issued. Second, I argue that, if philosophical orthodoxy were correct, agents would not generally be in the position to know whether they forgave. PDF
Lucky Joint Action (2018). Philosophical Psychology. In this paper, I argue that joint action permits a certain degree of luck. The cases I have in mind exhibit the following structure: each participant believes that the intended ends of each robustly support the joint action. This belief turns out to be false. Due to lucky circumstances, the discordance in intention never becomes common knowledge. However, common knowledge of the relevant intentions would have undermined the joint action altogether. The analysis of such cases shows the extent to which common knowledge of the participants’ intentions can be harmful to joint action. This extends a recent line of research that has questioned the necessity of common knowledge in joint action. PDF
Still Lives for Headaches (2018). Utilitas. There is no large number of very small bads that is worse than a small number of very large bads – or so, some maintain, it seems plausible to say. In this article, I criticize and reject two recently proposed vindications of the above intuition put forth by Dale Dorsey and Alex Voorhoeve. Dorsey advocates for a threshold marked by the interference with a person’s global life projects: any bad that interferes with the satisfaction of a life project is worse than any number of bads that don’t interfere with such a life project. Such thresholds, I argue, are broadly implausible. Voorhoeve gives a contractualist account for the irrelevance of minor bads. His account, I argue, does not, among other things, provide the right kind of reason in defense of the above intuition. PDF
Beyond ‘Interaction’: How to Understand Social Effects on Social Cognition (2017). British Journal of the Philosophy of Science (with Evan Westra). In recent years, a number of philosophers and cognitive scientists have advocated for an ‘interactive turn’ in the methodology of social-cognition research: to become more ecologically valid, we must design experiments that are interactive, rather than merely observational. While the practical aim of improving ecological validity in the study of social cognition is laudable, we think that the notion of ‘interaction’ is not suitable for this task: as it is currently deployed in the social cognition literature, this notion leads to serious conceptual and methodological confusion. In this paper, we tackle this confusion on three fronts: (1) we revise the ‘interactionist’ definition of interaction; (2) we demonstrate a number of potential methodological confounds that arise in interactive experimental designs; and (3) we show that ersatz interactivity works just as well as the real thing. We conclude that the notion of ‘interaction’, as it is currently being deployed in this literature, obscures an accurate understanding of human social cognition. PDF
What’s so Special About Interaction in Social Cognition? (2017). Review of Philosophy and Psychology. Enactivists often defend the following two claims: (a.) Successful interactions are not driven and explained by the interactors’ ability to mindread (i.e. the ability to attribute beliefs and desires to other agents). And (b.) the mechanisms enabling 2nd personal social cognition and those enabling 3rd personal social cognition are distinct. In this paper, I argue that both of these claims are false. With regard to (a.) I argue that enactivists fail to provide a plausible alternative to traditional accounts of social cognition in interaction. I examine and reject Hanne De Jaegher’s view according to which interaction is “constitutive” for social interaction. Furthermore, I critically discuss Shaun Gallagher’s and Daniel Hutto’s views according to which social interactions are exclusively driven by low level cognitive mechanisms such as “gaze following” and “emotion detection”. Concerning (b.), I rely on data from so called “spontaneous response” false belief tasks to show that interactive and observational paradigms require the same “social-cognitive” interpretation. PDF
Work in Progress
Paper about Coordinating Through Reasoning from Precedent (submitted). It has been argued that predicting others’ behavior in the context of a coordination game relying on precedent as a standard of inference presupposes so-called ‘common inductive standards’; i.e. a piece of (common) knowledge on the part of each player that one’s co-participants employ a similar standard of inference. My concern in this paper is to show that this claim is implausible. Precedent-based predictions are incompatible `common inductive standards’; the main reason being that common inductive standards are characterized in terms of higher-order beliefs (or knowledge); i.e. beliefs about what others believe yet others will do. In coordination games, however, justifications based on higher-order beliefs defeat justifications based on precedent. For this reason, I suggest that, when coordinating through reasoning from precedent, the common inductive standards requirement should be cast negatively as the common absence of higher-order beliefs. This analysis extends a nascent line of research according to which common knowledge can be harmful to certain cooperative activities. PDF
Paper about Forgiveness (submitted). In this paper, I defend what I call the endorsement view of forgiveness. On this view, forgiveness is the victim’s endorsement of her lack of negative offender-directed emotions (e.g. resentment) in light of the recognition of the right kind of reason to forgive. This view contrasts with the influential emotion account according to which forgiveness is the victim’s moderation of her negative offender-directed emotions (e.g. resentment) for the right kind of reason to forgive. Thus, while the emotion view focuses on emotional change, my view focuses on practically efficacious evaluations of these emotions. Supporting my account, I argue that, of these two views, only the endorsement view can show why victims of an offense are usually able to know whether they are in the position to forgive, and why forgiving entails a commitment not to unforgive. PDF