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Erica Roedder

Office Address: 

Department of Philosophy
5 Washington Place
New York, NY 10003

Areas of Research/Interest: 

moral psychology, philosophy of science, ethics, philosophy of mind

ERICA ROEDDER's main philosophical interests lie in philosophy of psychology, especially moral psychology, with other interests in philosophy of science, ethics, and mind.  Her dissertation focuses on a cluster of results in social psychology showing our deliberation to be non-ideal, and she is particularly interested in the way thinkers who know about these results may alter their deliberation in order to compensate for their biases.  A summary of her dissertation is below.

Dissertation Summary
My dissertation focuses on issues within contemporary philosophy of psychology.   Recent psychological studies suggest that our deliberation is faulty in various ways.  For instance, considerations which ought not to be reasons affect our deliberation anyway—e.g., someone's race, age, or gender may unwittingly bias one's deliberation about whether to publish a person's paper or promote a worker.   In my dissertation, I pursue two questions: what can such studies tell us about our practical ideals, and how ought we to change our deliberation in light of such experimental findings?

In answer to the first question, I argue that reflection on our responses to these studies reveals an important structural feature of human ideals: when we care about something, we are committed to acting in ways such that—had things been different—we still would have promoted its flourishing.   In answer to the second question, I discuss ways in which a person might incorporate her knowledge of scientific psychology  into deliberation, and I argue that such enhanced deliberation will still fall short of certain deliberative ideals.

In addition to the intrinsic importance of these questions, this dissertation has significance for another reason.  Psychological science is continually discovering strange and unsettling facts about human nature, and these results are percolating into common culture.   In light of this, it seems to me that an important niche has opened up for philosophy: to think deeply about the normative implications of these findings and to offer some guidance on how we might live in light of the surprising facts science continues to uncover about us.

Updated on 01/15/2008