Gaining Knowledge without Learning

You can come to know something by observation, by testimony, or by working it out in your head. But there’s another way of knowing something that doesn’t involve learning because it doesn’t involve coming to know a pre-existing fact. This way of knowing arises when you do something intentionally.

When Do False Beliefs Exculpate? (Pt. I)

Another month of pandemic... and another philosophical puzzle from me to distract you from it. This time, the puzzle concerns beliefs and specifically whether acting under the guidance of false beliefs can exculpate someone of a moral wrongdoing.

Say it Enough, They’ll Believe It

If you repeat something often enough, people are more likely to believe it. That's a phenomenon called the illusory truth effect. It can happen with smart people, and even when the statement is already known to be false. So why does repeating something make people more likely to believe it?

Your Racist Mental Habits

A flurry of studies have shown that even self-avowed non-racists can still be implicitly biased against black people. There is not much agreement about how to think about the nature of this ‘implicit’ phenomenon, but one possibility is that our racist biases are best understood as a perceptual habit.

Puzzle 1: Are Beliefs Voluntary?

Need a distraction from the incessant stream of information and speculation about the Coronavirus? I certainly do. So for my next few blogs, I’m going to describe philosophical puzzles that are either old or new. I won’t help solve them until the next blog, at which point I’ll post links to various solutions. Enjoy!