Julius Schönherr
Wagner
Writing
I am a PhD student in the philosophy department at the University of Maryland, College Park. 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?". The classes I teach are mostly in moral philosophy. CV: PDF Papers 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
Still Lives for Headaches: A reply to Dorsey and Voorhoeve (2017). 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
Julius Schönherr
Wagner
Writing
I am a PhD student in the philosophy department at the University of Maryland, College Park. 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?". The classes I teach are mostly in moral philosophy. CV: PDF Papers 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
Still Lives for Headaches: A reply to Dorsey and Voorhoeve (2017). 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
Julius Schönherr
Wagner
Writing
I am a PhD student in the philosophy department at the University of Maryland, College Park. 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?". The classes I teach are mostly in moral philosophy. CV: PDF Papers 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
Still Lives for Headaches: A reply to Dorsey and Voorhoeve (2017). 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