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Review Paper

Knobe, J. (2010). Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 33: 315-329.

(Or see the full version, with 28 commentaries and a reply.)


Edited Volumes

Knobe, J. & Nichols, S. (2008). Experimental Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press. (Amazon)

Knobe, J. & Nichols, S. (2014). Experimental Philosophy, Volume 2. New York: Oxford University Press. (Amazon)


Intentional Action

These papers form a pretty unified research program. For the original empirical paper, see Knobe (2003a) (written for an audience of analytic philosophers). For my take on the more theoretical issues that arise here, see Pettit & Knobe (2009).

Knobe, J. (2003a). Intentional Action and Side Effects in Ordinary Language. Analysis, 63, 190-193.

Knobe, J. (2005). Theory of Mind and Moral Cognition: Exploring the Connections. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 357-359.

Knobe, J. (2006). The Concept of Intentional Action: A Case Study in the Uses of Folk Psychology. Philosophical Studies. 130: 203-231.

Pettit, D. & Knobe, J. (2009). The Pervasive Impact of Moral Judgment. Mind & Language 24:5, 586-604.

Inbar, Y., Pizarro, D., Knobe, J. & Bloom, P. (2009). Disgust Sensitivity Predicts Intuitive Disapproval of Gays. Emotion 9:3, 435-439.

Knobe, J. (2004). Intention, Intentional Action and Moral Considerations. Analysis, 64, 181-187.

Leslie, A., Knobe, J. & Cohen, A. (2006). Acting intentionally and the side-effect effect: ‘Theory of mind’ and moral judgment. Psychological Science, 17, 421-427.

Knobe, J. (2004). Folk Psychology and Folk Morality: Response to Critics. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 24.

Knobe, J. (2003b). Intentional Action in Folk Psychology: An Experimental Investigation. Philosophical Psychology, 16, 309-324.

Knobe, J. and Burra, A. (2006). Intention and Intentional Action: A Cross-Cultural Study. Journal of Culture and Cognition, 6, 113-132.

Knobe, J. and Burra, A. (2006). Experimental Philosophy and Folk Concepts: Methodological Considerations. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 6, 331-342. [A reply to comments from Alfred Mele, Fred Adams, Gilbert Harman, Adam Morton, Liane Young at al. and Charles Kalish]

Knobe, J. & Mendlow, G. (2004). The Good, the Bad and the Blameworthy: Understanding the Role of Evaluative Reasoning in Folk Psychology. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 24, 252-258.

Malle, B. F. & Knobe, J. (1997). The Folk Concept of Intentionality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 33, 101-121.

Malle, B. F. & Knobe, J. (2001) The Distinction between Desire and Intention: A Folk-Conceptual Analysis. In B. F. Malle, L. J. Moses, & D. A. Baldwin (Eds.), Intentions and Intentionality: Foundations of Social Cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.



Hitchcock, C. & Knobe, J. (2009). Cause and Norm. Journal of Philosophy 11, 587-612.

For responses, see Alicke, Rose and Bloom (2011)Sytsma, Livengood and Rose (2012) and Strevens (2013).

Icard, T., Kominsky, J., & Knobe, J. (in press). Normality and actual causal strength. Cognition.

Kominsky, J., Phillips, J., Gerstenberg, T., Lagnado, D. & Knobe, J. (2015). Causal superseding. Cognition, 137, 196-209.

Knobe, J. & Shapiro, SJ. (in press). Proximate Cause Explained: An Essay in Experimental Jurisprudence. University of Chicago Law Review.

Henne, P., Niemi, L., Pinillos, Á., De Brigard, F., & Knobe, J. (in press). A counterfactual explanation for the action effect. Cognition.

Gill, M., Kominsky, J. F., Icard, T., & Knobe, J. (in press). An interaction effect of norm violations on causal judgment. Cognition.

Knobe, J. & Fraser, B. (2008). Causal Judgment and Moral Judgment: Two Experiments. In W. Sinnott-Armstrong, Moral Psychology, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 441-448.

Cushman, F., Knobe, J. & Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2008). Moral Appraisals Affect Doing/Allowing Judgments 108:1, 281-289. Cognition.

Knobe, Joshua. (2005). Cognitive Processes Shaped by the Impulse to Blame. Brooklyn Law Review, 71, 929-937.

Knobe, J. (2009). Folk Judgments of Causation. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 40:2, 238-242. [For a symposium on experimental philosophy.]


Free Will and Moral Responsibility

For our first empirical paper on this topic, see Nichols & Knobe (2007). For a more recent theoretical paper and review, see Knobe (in press).

Nichols, S. & Knobe, J. (2007). Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions. Nous, 41, 663-685.

For responses to this paper, see Murray & Nahmias (2012), Feltz & Cova, and Mandelbaum & Ripley (2012).

Knobe, J. (in press). Free Will and the Scientific Vision. In Edouard Machery and Elizabeth O’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge.

Bear, A. & Knobe, J. (in press). What do people find incompatible with causal determinism? Cognitive Science.

Knobe, J. & Nichols, S. (2011). Free Will and the Bounds of the Self. In Kane, R. The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. New York: Oxford University Press, 530-554.

Sarkissian, H., Chatterjee, A., De Brigard, F., Knobe, J., Nichols, S. & Sirker, S. (2010). Is Belief in Free Will a Cultural Universal? Mind & Language, 25, 346–358.

Knobe, J. & Doris, J. Responsibility. (2010). In J. Doris and The Moral Psychology Research Group. The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 321-354.

This is the paper formerly known as ‘Strawsonian Variations.’ (Though the title has been altered, the content remains unchanged.) For responses, see Nelkin (2007) and Warmke (2011).

Clark, C. J., Luguri, J. B., Ditto, P. H., Knobe, J., Shariff, A. F., & Baumeister, R. F. (2014). Free to punish: A motivated account of free will belief. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 501-513.


Intuitions About Consciousness

These papers explore the idea that seeing an entity as biologically embodied has an impact on people’s ascriptions of consciousness. Knobe & Prinz look at people’s intuitions about entities that do not have bodies at all. Gray et al. then go in the opposite direction, looking at intuitions about people whose bodies have been made especially salient (e.g., by being depicted without clothing).

Knobe, J. & Prinz, J. (2008). Intuitions about Consciousness: Experimental Studies. Phenomenology and Cognitive Science, 7, 67-83.

For replies, see Buckwalter & Phelan (2014) and Phelan, Arico & Nichols (2013).

Gray, K., Knobe, J., Sheskin, M., Bloom. P. & Barrett, L. F. (2011). More than a body: Mind perception and the nature of objectification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1207-1220.

Knobe, J. (2008). Experimental Philosophy of Consciousness. Scientific American: Mind.


The Impact of Morality

People’s moral judgments seem to affect just about every aspect of the way they understand people’s minds and their actions. These papers examine some of the different aspects of people’s cognition that can be impacted by morality. In my view, these different phenomena are actually the result of two different underlying processes. Some are due to the way people think about alternative possibilities (Phillips et al., 2015); others are due to the way people think about the true self (Newman et al., 2015). 

Bear, A. & Knobe, J. (in press). Normality: Part Descriptive, part prescriptiveCognition.

Phillips, J., Luguri, J. & Knobe, J. (2015). Unifying morality’s influence on non-moral judgments: The relevance of alternative possibilities. Cognition,145, 30-42.

Phillips, J. & Knobe, J. (in press). The psychological representation of modalityMind & Language.

Knobe, J. & Cushman, F. (in press). The common effect of value on prioritized memory and category representation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Knobe, J. (2022). Personal identity and dual character concepts. In Tobia, K. (Ed.). Experimental Philosophy of Identity and the Self. London, Bloomsbury. 49-71.

Phillips, J., Mott, C., De Freitas, J., Gruber, J. & Knobe, J. (in press). True happiness: The role of morality in the folk concept of happiness. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Prinzing, M., Earp, B. & Knobe, J. (in press.) Why Do Evaluative Judgments Affect Emotion Attributions? The Roles of Judgments About Fittingness and the True Self. Cognition.

Cowles, H. & Knobe, J. (in press). The average isn’t normal: The history and cognitive science of an everyday scientific practice. In Kriegel, U. (Ed.) Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind, vol. 3. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK.

Phillips, J., Misenheimer, L. & Knobe, J. (2011). The Ordinary Concept of Happiness (and Others Like It). Emotion Review, 3, 320-322.

Knobe, J. & Samuels, R. (2013). Thinking Like a Scientist: Innateness as a Case Study. Cognition, 126, 72-86.

Phillips, J. & Knobe, J. (2009). Moral Judgments and Intutitions about Freedom. Psychological Inquiry, 20, 30-36.

See the funny video starring Ram Neta. For an experimental paper extending these results, see Young & Phillips (2011), or for a more theoretical response, see Kratzer (2013).

Knobe, J., Prasada, S., & Newman, G. (2013). Dual character concepts and the normative dimension of conceptual representation. Cognition. 127, 242-257.

For a response, see Leslie (2013).

Yang, F., Knobe, J., & Dunham, Y. (in press). Happiness is from the soul: The nature and origins of our happiness concept. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Knobe, J. (2010). Action Trees and Moral Judgment. Topics in Cognitive Science, 2, 555–578.

Knobe, J. & Szabó, Z. (2013). Modals with a Taste of the Deontic. Semantics and Pragmatics, 6, 1-42.

Knobe. J. (in press). Morality and possibility. In J. Doris & M. Vargas (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology.

Knobe, J. (2007). Reason Explanation in Folk Psychology. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 31, 90-107.

Knobe, J. & Roedder, E. (2009). The Ordinary Concept of Valuing. Philosophical Issues 19:1, 131-147.

For a response, see Gonnerman (2008)

Knobe, J. (2007). Folk Psychology: Science and Morals. In Hutto, D. & Ratcliffe, M. (ed.) Folk Psychology Reassessed. Kluwer/Springer Press. 157-174.


The True Self

Newman, G., Bloom, P. & Knobe, J. (2014). Value Judgments and the True Self. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 203-216.

Newman, G., De Freitas, J. & Knobe, J. (2015). Beliefs About the True Self Explain Asymmetries Based on Moral Judgment. Cognitive Science, 39, 96-125.

Strohminger, N., Knobe, J. & Newman, G. (in press). The true self: A psychological concept distinct from the self. Perspectives on Psychological Science.

De Freitas, J., Sarkissian, H., Newman, G. E., Grossman, I., De Brigard, F., Luco, A., & Knobe, J. (2017). Consistent belief in a good true self in misanthropes and three interdependent cultures. Cognitive Science.

Knobe, J. (2005). Ordinary Ethical Reasoning and the Ideal of ‘Being Yourself.’ Philosophical Psychology, 18, 327-340.

De Freitas, J., Tobia, K. P., Newman, G. E., & Knobe, J. (in press). Normative judgments and individual essence. Cognitive science.


Folk Explanations of Behavior

These papers present a theory about how people ordinarily explain behavior. For a relatively accessible introduction, see Knobe and Malle (2002).

Knobe, J. & Malle, B. F. (2002). Self and Other in the Explanation of Behavior. Psychologica Belgica, 42, 113-130.

Malle, B.F., Knobe, J. & Nelson, S. (2007). Actor-Observer Asymmetries in Explanations of Behavior: New Answers to an Old Question.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 93, 491-514.

Malle, B. F., Knobe, J., O’Laughlin, M., Pearce, G., & Nelson, S. (2000). Conceptual Structure and Social Functions of Behavior Explanations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 309-326.

Malle, B. F. & Knobe, J. (1997) Which Behaviors Do People Explain? A Basic Actor-Observer Asymmetry. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 288-304.


Experimental Philosophy

These papers discuss the new field of ‘experimental philosophy.’ The first and second papers address metaphilosophical questions about the aims of experimental philosophy, while the third reviews recent work in the field.

Knobe, J. (in press). Philosophical Intuitions Are Surprisingly Stable Across both Demographic Groups and Situations. Filozofia Nauki.

Knobe, J. & Nichols, S. (2008). An Experimental Philosophy Manifesto. In Knobe, J. & Nichols, S. (ed.) Experimental Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 3-14.

Knobe, J. (forthcoming). Experimental Philosophy is Cognitive Science. In Sytsma, J. & Buckwalter, W. (eds.) A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell.

Cova, F. et al. (40 co-authors) (in press). Estimating the reproducibility of experimental philosophy. Review of Philosophy and Psychology.

Knobe, J. (2019). Philosophical Intuitions Are Surprisingly Robust Across Demographic Differences. Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, 56, 29-36.

Knobe, J. (in press). Difference and Robustness in the Patterns of Philosophical Intuition Across Demographic Groups. Review of Philosophy and Psychology.

Knobe, J., Buckwalter, W., Nichols, S., Robbins, P., Sarkissian, H. & Sommers, T. (2011). Experimental Philosophy. Annual Review of Psychology 63.

Knobe, J. (2007). Experimental Philosophy and Philosophical Significance. Philosophical Explorations, 10: 119-122.

Knobe, J. (2004). What Is Experimental Philosophy? The Philosophers’ Magazine., 28.

French translation by Raphaël Verchère and Luc-Etienne de Boyer des Roches:
Knobe, J. Qu’est-ce que la philosophie expérimentale? REPHA 2, 49-53.

Knobe, J. (2007). Experimental Philosophy. Philosophy Compass 2 (1):81–92.


Other Papers

Sarkissian, H., Park, J., Tien, D., Wright, J., & Knobe, J. (2011). Folk Moral Relativism. Mind & Language, 26, 482-505.

See the ridiculous YouTube video (in 3D!) by filmmaker Ben Coonley.

Newman, G. & Knobe, J. (in press). The Essence of Essentialism. Mind & Language.

Bailey, A. & Knobe, J. (in press). Biological essentialism correlates with (but doesn’t cause?) intergroup bias. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Bailey, A., Knobe, J., & Newman, G. (in press). Value-based Essentialism: Essentialist Beliefs about Social Groups with Shared Values. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Phillips, J., Buckwalter, W., Cushman, F., Friedman, O., Martin, A., Turri, J., Santos, L. & Knobe, J. (in press). Knowledge before Belief. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Tobia, K. Newman, G. & Knobe, J. (in press). Water Is and Is Not H2O. Mind & Language.

Almeida, G., Knobe, J., Struchiner, N. & Hannikainen, I. (in press). Purposes in Law and in Life: An Experimental Investigation of Purpose Attribution. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence.

Ritchie, K. & Knobe, J. (in press). Kindhood and Essentialism: Evidence from Language. Advances in Child Development and Behavior (Ed. Marjorie Rhodes).

Liao, S. Y., Meskin, A., & Knobe, J. (in press). Dual character art concepts. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.

Jenkins, A., Dodell-Feder, D., Saxe, R. & Knobe, J. (2014). The Neural Bases of Directed and Spontaneous Mental State Attributions to Group Agents. PLoS ONE 9(8): e105341.

Knobe, J. & Yalcin, S. (2014). Epistemic modals and context: Experimental data. Semantics and Pragmatics, 7, 1-21.

For an important paper extending these results, see Khoo (forthcoming).

Joo, S., Yousif, S. R., & Knobe, J. (in press). Teleology beyond explanation. Mind & Language.

Attie-Picker, M., Venkatesan,T. Newman, G & Knobe, J. (in press). On the Value of Sad Music. Journal of Aesthetic Education.

Fletcher, S.C., Knobe, J., Wheeler, G. & Woodcock, B.A. (in press). Changing use of formal methods in philosophy: Late 2000s vs. Late 2010s. Synthese.

Knobe, J. (2015). Philosophers are doing something different now: Quantitative data. Cognition, 135, 36-38.

Khoo, J. & Knobe, J. (2018). Moral disagreement and moral semantics. Noûs, 52, 109-143.

Bear, A., Bensinger, S., Jara-Ettinger, J., Knobe, J., & Cushman, F. (in press). What comes to mind? Cognition.

Earp, B. D., Do, D., & Knobe, J. (in press). The ordinary concept of true love. In: C. Grau & A. Smuts (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Love. Oxford: Oxford University Press,.

Icard, T., Cushman, F., & Knobe, J. (2018). On the instrumental value of hypothetical and counterfactual thought. Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

Strickland, B., Fisher, M., Keil, F. & Knobe, J. (2014). Syntax and intentionality: An automatic link between language and theory-of-mind. Cognition. 133, 249-261.

Schaffer, J. & Knobe, J. (2012). Contrastive Knowledge Surveyed. Nous, 46, 675–708.

For responses, see DeRose (2011) and Sripada & Stanley (2012).

Fisher, M., Knobe, J., Strickland, B., & Keil, F. C. (in press). The influence of social interaction on intuitions of objectivity and subjectivity. Cognitive Science.

Kim, N.S., Johnson, S.G.B., Ahn, W., & Knobe, J. The effect of abstract versus concrete framing on judgments of biological and psychological bases of behavior. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.

Kim, N.S., Ahn, W., Johnson, S.G.B., & Knobe, J. (2016). The influence of framing on clinicians’ judgments of the biological basis of behaviors. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 22, 39–47.

Strickland, B., Fisher, M. & Knobe, J. (2012). Moral Structure Falls Out of General Event Structure. Psychological Inquiry, 23, 198-205.

Cameron, C.D., Payne, B.K. & Knobe, J. (2010). Do Theories of Implicit Race Bias Change Moral Judgments? Social Justice Research, 23, 272-289.

Tasimi, A., Gelman, S. A., Cimpian, A., Knobe, J., & Tasimi, A. (in press). Differences in the evaluation of generic statements about human and non-human categories. Cognitive Science.

Knobe, J. & Leiter, B. (2007).  The Case for Nietzschean Moral Psychology. In Nietzsche and Morality. Brian Leiter and Neil Sinhababu (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 83-109.
(To download the paper, follow the link and then click on one of the images at the bottom of the page.)

Knobe, J. (2009). Answers to Five Questions. In Aguilar, J & Buckareff, A (eds.) Philosophy of Action: 5 Questions. London: Automatic Press.

Knobe, J., Olum, K. & Vilenkin, A. (2006). Philosophical Implications of Inflationary Cosmology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 57, 47-67.

Knobe, J. (1995). A Talent for Bricolage: An Interview with Richard Rorty. The Dualist2, 56-71

Zhong, R., Knobe, J., Feigenson, N. & Mercurio, M. (2011). Age and Disability Biases in Pediatric Resuscitation Among Future Physicians. Clinical Pediatrics, 50, 1001-1004.

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