Julius Schönherr
CV: PDF
Teaching
Writing Wagner
I am an Assistant Professor in philosophy at Peking University. My research revolves is on the moral and cognitive foundations of human cooperative interaction and, more recently, on the moral significance of negative emotions. I'm working on papers about the rationality of grief and forgiveness. You can find my published work below. Please feel invited to click on the "Wagner" link above. There, you can find a handy visualization of some important Leitmotives from Wagner's Ring. Published Papers Believing on Eggshells: Epistemic Injustice Through Pragmatic Encroachment (forthcoming). Phil. Studies (with Javiera Perez Gomez) This paper defends the claim that pragmatic encroachment—the idea that knowledge is sensitive to the practical stakes of believing—can explain a distinctive kind of epistemic injustice: the injustice that occurs when prejudice causes someone to know less than they otherwise would. This encroachment injustice, as we call it, occurs when the threat of being met with prejudice raises the stakes for someone to rely on her belief when acting, by raising the level of evidential support required for knowledge. We begin by explaining this notion of encroachment injustice. We then support it by connecting it to the empirical literature on implicit bias and defending it against important objections.
Salience Reasoning in Coordination Games (2021). Synthese. Salience reasoning, many have argued, can help solve coordination problems, but only if such reasoning is supplemented by higher-order predictions; e.g. beliefs about what others believe yet others will choose. In this paper, I shall argue that this line of reasoning is self-undermining. Higher-order behavioral predictions defeat salience-based behavioral predictions. To anchor my argument in the philosophical literature, I shall develop it in response and opposition to the popular Lewisian model of salience reasoning in coordination games. This model imports the problematic higher-order beliefs by way of a ‘symmetric reasoning’ constraint. In the second part of this paper, I shall argue that a player may employ salience reasoning only if she suspends judgment about what others believe yet others will do. PDF
Two problems of fitting grief (2020). Analysis. Recent years have seen a surge in philosophical work on the rationality of grief. Much of this research is premised on the idea that people tend to grieve much less than would be appropriate or, as it is often called, fitting. My goal in this paper is diagnostic, that is, to articulate two never properly distinguished, and indeed often conflated, arguments in favor of the purported discrepancy between experienced and fitting grief: a metaphysical, and a psychological argument. According to the former, grief is rationalized entirely by facts about the past. And because the past is unchangeable, grief can be said to remain forever fitting. According to the latter argument, humans’ emotional resilience causes grief to diminish at a faster rate than would be fitting. Which of these problems we end up facing, depends on relatively subtle variations in the characterization of the losses that render grief appropriate. PDF
Beyond ‘Interaction’: How to Understand Social Effects on Social Cognition (2019). 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
When forgiveness comes easy (2019). 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
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 PDF

 

Julius Schönherr
CV: PDF
Teaching
Writing Wagner
I am an Assistant Professor in philosophy at Peking University. My research revolves is on the moral and cognitive foundations of human cooperative interaction and, more recently, on the moral significance of negative emotions. I'm working on papers about the rationality of grief and forgiveness. You can find my published work below. Please feel invited to click on the "Wagner" link above. There, you can find a handy visualization of some important Leitmotives from Wagner's Ring. Published Papers Believing on Eggshells: Epistemic Injustice Through Pragmatic Encroachment (forthcoming). Phil. Studies (with Javiera Perez Gomez) This paper defends the claim that pragmatic encroachment—the idea that knowledge is sensitive to the practical stakes of believing—can explain a distinctive kind of epistemic injustice: the injustice that occurs when prejudice causes someone to know less than they otherwise would. This encroachment injustice, as we call it, occurs when the threat of being met with prejudice raises the stakes for someone to rely on her belief when acting, by raising the level of evidential support required for knowledge. We begin by explaining this notion of encroachment injustice. We then support it by connecting it to the empirical literature on implicit bias and defending it against important objections.
Salience Reasoning in Coordination Games (2021). Synthese. Salience reasoning, many have argued, can help solve coordination problems, but only if such reasoning is supplemented by higher-order predictions; e.g. beliefs about what others believe yet others will choose. In this paper, I shall argue that this line of reasoning is self-undermining. Higher-order behavioral predictions defeat salience-based behavioral predictions. To anchor my argument in the philosophical literature, I shall develop it in response and opposition to the popular Lewisian model of salience reasoning in coordination games. This model imports the problematic higher-order beliefs by way of a ‘symmetric reasoning’ constraint. In the second part of this paper, I shall argue that a player may employ salience reasoning only if she suspends judgment about what others believe yet others will do. PDF
Two problems of fitting grief (2020). Analysis. Recent years have seen a surge in philosophical work on the rationality of grief. Much of this research is premised on the idea that people tend to grieve much less than would be appropriate or, as it is often called, fitting. My goal in this paper is diagnostic, that is, to articulate two never properly distinguished, and indeed often conflated, arguments in favor of the purported discrepancy between experienced and fitting grief: a metaphysical, and a psychological argument. According to the former, grief is rationalized entirely by facts about the past. And because the past is unchangeable, grief can be said to remain forever fitting. According to the latter argument, humans’ emotional resilience causes grief to diminish at a faster rate than would be fitting. Which of these problems we end up facing, depends on relatively subtle variations in the characterization of the losses that render grief appropriate. PDF
Beyond ‘Interaction’: How to Understand Social Effects on Social Cognition (2019). 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
When forgiveness comes easy (2019). 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
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 PDF
Julius Schönherr
CV: PDF
Teaching
Writing Wagner
I am an Assistant Professor in philosophy at Peking University. My research revolves is on the moral and cognitive foundations of human cooperative interaction and, more recently, on the moral significance of negative emotions. I'm working on papers about the rationality of grief and forgiveness. You can find my published work below. Please feel invited to click on the "Wagner" link above. There, you can find a handy visualization of some important Leitmotives from Wagner's Ring. Published Papers Believing on Eggshells: Epistemic Injustice Through Pragmatic Encroachment (forthcoming). Phil. Studies (with Javiera Perez Gomez) This paper defends the claim that pragmatic encroachment—the idea that knowledge is sensitive to the practical stakes of believing—can explain a distinctive kind of epistemic injustice: the injustice that occurs when prejudice causes someone to know less than they otherwise would. This encroachment injustice, as we call it, occurs when the threat of being met with prejudice raises the stakes for someone to rely on her belief when acting, by raising the level of evidential support required for knowledge. We begin by explaining this notion of encroachment injustice. We then support it by connecting it to the empirical literature on implicit bias and defending it against important objections.
Salience Reasoning in Coordination Games (2021). Synthese. Salience reasoning, many have argued, can help solve coordination problems, but only if such reasoning is supplemented by higher-order predictions; e.g. beliefs about what others believe yet others will choose. In this paper, I shall argue that this line of reasoning is self-undermining. Higher-order behavioral predictions defeat salience-based behavioral predictions. To anchor my argument in the philosophical literature, I shall develop it in response and opposition to the popular Lewisian model of salience reasoning in coordination games. This model imports the problematic higher-order beliefs by way of a ‘symmetric reasoning’ constraint. In the second part of this paper, I shall argue that a player may employ salience reasoning only if she suspends judgment about what others believe yet others will do. PDF
Two problems of fitting grief (2020). Analysis. Recent years have seen a surge in philosophical work on the rationality of grief. Much of this research is premised on the idea that people tend to grieve much less than would be appropriate or, as it is often called, fitting. My goal in this paper is diagnostic, that is, to articulate two never properly distinguished, and indeed often conflated, arguments in favor of the purported discrepancy between experienced and fitting grief: a metaphysical, and a psychological argument. According to the former, grief is rationalized entirely by facts about the past. And because the past is unchangeable, grief can be said to remain forever fitting. According to the latter argument, humans’ emotional resilience causes grief to diminish at a faster rate than would be fitting. Which of these problems we end up facing, depends on relatively subtle variations in the characterization of the losses that render grief appropriate. PDF
Beyond ‘Interaction’: How to Understand Social Effects on Social Cognition (2019). 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
When forgiveness comes easy (2019). 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
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 PDF