The Effects of Reflective Reasoning on Philosophical Dilemmas

William T. Ervin, Daniel Corral

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Reasoning and reflective thought are critical to the study and practice of philosophy. However, findings from social cognition have challenged the extent to which many decisions are driven by explicit reasoning. We report an experiment that examines how reflective thinking impacts subjects' judgements on various philosophical topics. Subjects were presented various scenarios on common philosophical topics (e.g., mind-body dualism); each scenario stated a given position. Some subjects were asked to indicate the extent to which they endorsed these positions (control), whereas others were asked to engage in a reflective thinking task before making this choice. Our results revealed that the reflective thinking group was more skeptical of the scenarios' stated positions than the control group, but this effect depended on the topic of the scenarios. Thus, reflective thinking and reasoning do indeed seem to impact philosophical judgments, but this effect seems to depend on the topic under consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2022
Event44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Cognitive Diversity, CogSci 2022 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Jul 27 2022Jul 30 2022


Conference44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Cognitive Diversity, CogSci 2022


  • Experimental Philosophy
  • Judgement and Decision Making
  • Reflective Thought
  • Thinking and Reasoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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