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  • Phillips, Jonathan  (565)
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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 02 May 2017, Vol.114(18), pp.4649-4654
    Description: The capacity for representing and reasoning over sets of possibilities, or modal cognition, supports diverse kinds of high-level judgments: causal reasoning, moral judgment, language comprehension, and more. Prior research on modal cognition asks how humans explicitly and deliberatively reason about what is possible but has not investigated whether or how people have a default, implicit representation of which events are possible. We present three studies that characterize the role of implicit representations of possibility in cognition. Collectively, these studies differentiate explicit reasoning about possibilities from default implicit representations, demonstrate that human adults often default to treating immoral and irrational events as impossible, and provide a case study of high-level cognitive judgments relying on default implicit representations of possibility rather than explicit deliberation.
    Keywords: High-Level Cognition ; Modality ; Morality ; Norms ; Possibility ; Cognition ; Judgment ; Morals
    ISSN: 00278424
    E-ISSN: 1091-6490
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Cognition, December 2015, Vol.145, pp.30-42
    Description: Past work has demonstrated that people’s moral judgments can influence their judgments in a number of domains that might seem to involve straightforward matters of fact, including judgments about freedom, causation, the doing/allowing distinction, and intentional action. The present studies explore whether the effect of morality in these four domains can be explained by changes in the relevance of alternative possibilities. More precisely, we propose that moral judgment influences the degree to which people regard certain alternative possibilities as relevant, which in turn impacts intuitions about freedom, causation, doing/allowing, and intentional action. Employing the stimuli used in previous research, Studies 1a, 2a, 3a, and 4a show that the relevance of alternatives is influenced by moral judgments and mediates the impact of morality on non-moral judgments. Studies 1b, 2b, 3b, and 4b then provide direct empirical evidence for the link between the relevance of alternatives and judgments in these four domains by manipulating (rather than measuring) the relevance of alternative possibilities. Lastly, Study 5 demonstrates that the critical mechanism is not whether alternative possibilities are considered, but whether they are regarded as . These studies support a unified framework for understanding the impact of morality across these very different kinds of judgments.
    Keywords: Morality ; Alternative Possibilities ; Modality ; Psychology
    ISSN: 0010-0277
    E-ISSN: 18737838
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Ecological Modelling, 2011, Vol.222(3), pp.475-484
    Description: State-and-transition models (STMs) can represent many different types of landscape change, from simple gradient-driven transitions to complex, (pseudo-) random patterns. While previous applications of STMs have focused on individual states and transitions, this study addresses broader-scale modes of spatial change based on the entire network of states and transitions. STMs are treated as mathematical graphs, and several metrics from algebraic graph theory are applied—spectral radius, algebraic connectivity, and the -metric. These indicate, respectively, the amplification of environmental change by state transitions, the relative rate of propagation of state changes through the landscape, and the degree of system structural constraints on the spatial propagation of state transitions. The analysis is illustrated by application to the Gualalupe/San Antonio River delta, Texas, with soil types as representations of system states. Concepts of change in deltaic environments are typically based on successional patterns in response to forcings such as sea level change or river inflows. However, results indicate more complex modes of change associated with amplification of changes in system states, relatively rapid spatial propagation of state transitions, and some structural constraints within the system. The implications are that complex, spatially variable state transitions are likely, constrained by local (within-delta) environmental gradients and initial conditions. As in most applications, the STM used in this study is a representation of observed state transitions. While the usual predictive application of STMs is identification of local state changes associated with, e.g., management strategies, the methods presented here show how STMs can be used at a broader scale to identify landscape scale modes of spatial change.
    Keywords: State-and-Transition Models ; Spectral Radius ; Algebraic Connectivity ; S-Metric ; Spatial Change ; Landscape Change ; Environmental Sciences ; Ecology
    ISSN: 0304-3800
    E-ISSN: 1872-7026
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Cognition, 2011, Vol.119(2), pp.166-178
    Description: When we evaluate moral agents, we consider many factors, including whether the agent acted freely, or under duress or coercion. In turn, moral evaluations have been shown to influence our (non-moral) evaluations of these same factors. For example, when we judge an agent to have acted immorally, we are subsequently more likely to judge the agent to have acted freely, not under force. Here, we investigate the cognitive signatures of this effect in interpersonal situations, in which one agent (“forcer”) forces another agent (“forcee”) to act either immorally or morally. The structure of this relationship allowed us to ask questions about both the “forcer” and the “forcee.” Paradoxically, participants judged that the “forcer” forced the “forcee” to act immorally (i.e. X forced Y), but that the “forcee” was not forced to act immorally (i.e. Y was not forced by X). This pattern obtained only for human agents who acted intentionally. Directly changing participants’ focus from one agent to another (forcer versus forcee) also changed the target of moral evaluation and therefore force attributions. The full pattern of judgments may provide a window into motivated moral reasoning and focusing bias more generally; participants may have been motivated to attribute greater force to the immoral forcer and greater freedom to the immoral forcee.
    Keywords: Morality ; Motivated Cognition ; Force ; Focusing ; Counterfactual Thinking ; Psychology
    ISSN: 0010-0277
    E-ISSN: 18737838
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Earth-Science Reviews, November 2012, Vol.115(3), pp.153-162
    Description: Reporting results and promoting ideas in science in general, and Earth science in particular, is treated here as storytelling. Just as in literature and drama, storytelling in Earth science is characterized by a small number of basic plots. Though the list is not exhaustive, and acknowledging that multiple or hybrid plots and subplots are possible in a single piece, eight standard plots are identified, and examples provided: cause-and-effect, genesis, emergence, destruction, metamorphosis, convergence, divergence, and oscillation. The plots of Earth science stories are not those of literary traditions, nor those of persuasion or moral philosophy, and deserve separate consideration. Earth science plots do not conform those of storytelling more generally, implying that Earth scientists may have fundamentally different motivations than other storytellers, and that the basic plots of Earth Science derive from the characteristics and behaviors of Earth systems. In some cases preference or affinity to different plots results in fundamentally different interpretations and conclusions of the same evidence. In other situations exploration of additional plots could help resolve scientific controversies. Thus explicit acknowledgement of plots can yield direct scientific benefits. Consideration of plots and storytelling devices may also assist in the interpretation of published work, and can help scientists improve their own storytelling.
    Keywords: Storytelling ; Earth Science ; Plot ; Narrative ; Scientific Communication ; Geology
    ISSN: 0012-8252
    E-ISSN: 1872-6828
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Ecological Modelling, 24 February 2015, Vol.298, pp.16-23
    Description: Chronosequences are a fundamental tool for studying and representing change in Earth surface systems. Increasingly, chronosequences are understood to be much more complex than a simple monotonic progression from a starting point to a stable end-state. The concept of path stability is introduced here as a measure of chronosequence robustness; i.e., the degree to which developmental trajectories are sensitive to disturbances or change. Path stability is assessed on the basis of the largest Lyapunov exponent ( ) of an interaction matrix consisting of positive, negative, or zero entries based on whether existence of a given system state or stage promotes or facilitates (positive), prevents or inhibits (negative), or has no significant effect on transitions to another state. Analysis of several generic chronosequence structures represented as signed, directed, unweighted graphs indicates five general cases: Path-stable reversible progressions ( 〈 0); neutrally path-stable irreversible progressions ( = 0); path unstable with very low divergence (0 〈 〈 1); path unstable with low divergence ( = 1); and complex multiple pathways ( 〉 1). Path stability is probably relatively rare in chronosequences due to the directionality inherent in most of them. A complex soil chronosequence on the lower coastal plain of North Carolina was analyzed as described above, yielding = 0.843, indicating very low divergence. This outcome is consistent with pedological interpretations, and derives largely from the presence of self-limiting early stages, and a few highly developed states that inhibit retrogression back to many of the earlier stages. This kind of structure is likely to be common in pedological and hydrological sequences, but this suggestion requires further testing.
    Keywords: Robustness ; Path Stability ; Chronosequence ; Coevolution ; Earth Surface Systems ; Environmental Sciences ; Ecology
    ISSN: 0304-3800
    E-ISSN: 1872-7026
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2010, Vol.35(11), pp.5764-5764
    Keywords: Engineering
    ISSN: 0360-3199
    E-ISSN: 1879-3487
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Physics Essays, Dec, 2010, Vol.23(4), p.574(5)
    Description: Classical quantum mechanics (CQM) postulates that all matter is composed of particles of absolute size and shape in three dimensions that obey Newton's laws and Maxwell's equations at all scales. It has been shown that this provides excellent quantitative agreement with observation for a host of measured atomic phenomenon including ionization energies of virtually all atoms, magnetic behavior, excitation energies, and even scattering behavior. Moreover, there are no data that are clearly inconsistent with the predictions of this new quantum model; thus, it remains a valid theory. In the scientific spirit of discovery, we explore the consequences of the CQM model (in fact, the consequence of assuming any "extended three dimensional" model of elementary particles) for the fields of extended particles. It is shown that energy conservation, a requirement of any theory that purports to be consistent with Newtonian physics, requires that the static fields of all charged particles never disappear but only "appear to disappear" because of the masking by fields of oppositely charged (or spinning) particles. Moreover, the field of each charged particle must extend to the edge of the universe. Finally, it is logical to conclude that each charged particle material core and its associated static field are the "equivalent reference frames" of special relativity. [DOI: 10.4006/1.3486356] La Mecanique Quantique Classique (MQC) postule que toute matiere est composee de particules tridimensionnelles, possedant une taille absolue et une forme qui obeissent, A toutes les echelles, aux lois de Newton ainsi qu'aux equations de Maxwell. Il a ete prouve que ceci est en excellent accord quantitatif avec de nombreux phenomenes atomiques, incluant les energies d'ionisation et d'excitation de tout atome, leur comportement magnetique, et meme les mecanismes de diffusion qui leur sont associes. De plus, il n'existe pas de donnees qui contredisent clairement les predictions de ce nouveau modele quantique, ce qui prouve la validite de la theorie. A la recherche de nouvelles decouvertes scientifiques, nous avons explore les consequences du modele MQC (et en particulier les consequences de l'extrapolation tridimensionnelle du modele pour chaque particule elementaire) dans le domaine des particules etendues. Il est montre que la conservation d'energie, requise pour toute theorie consistante avec la physique newtonienne, implique que les champs statiques de toutes les particules chargees ne disparaissent jamais, mais "semble disparaitre" suite A un masquage du aux champs des particules de charges (ou de spin) opposees. En outre, le champ de chaque particule doit s'etendre jusqu'aux confins de l'univers. Finalement, il est naturel de conclure que chaque element materiel et son champ statique associe sont les "cadres de reference equivalent" de la Relativite Generale.
    Keywords: Quantum Mechanics -- Research ; Classical Mechanics -- Research ; Particle Physics -- Research
    ISSN: 0836-1398
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Climatic Change, 2010, Vol.103(3), pp.571-595
    Description: Efforts to predict responses to climate change and to interpret modern or paleoclimate indicators are influenced by several levels of potential amplifiers, which increase or exaggerate climate impacts, and/or filters, which reduce or mute impacts. With respect to geomorphic responses and indicators, climate forcings are partly mediated by ecological, hydrological, and other processes which may amplify or filter impacts on surface processes and landforms. Then, geomorphic responses themselves may be threshold-dominated or dynamically unstable, producing disproportionately large and long-lived responses to climate changes or disturbances. Or, responses may be dynamically stable, whereby resistance or resilience of geomorphic systems minimizes the effects of changes. Thus a given geomorphic response to climate could represent (at least) two levels of amplification and/or filtering. An example is given for three fluvial systems in Kentucky, U.S.A, the Kentucky, Green, and Big South Fork Rivers. Climate impacts in the early Quaternary were amplified by glacially-driven reorganization of the ancestral Ohio River system to the North, and by dynamical instability in the down-cutting response of rivers incising plateau surfaces. Effects of more recent climate changes, however, have been filtered to varying extents. Using alluvial terraces as an example, the study rivers show distinctly different responses to climate forcings. The lower Green River has extensive, well-developed terraces recording several episodes of aggradation and downcutting, while the Big South Fork River has no alluvial terraces. The Kentucky River is intermediate, with limited preservation of relatively recent terraces. The differences can be explained in terms of differences among the rivers in (1) filtering effects of constraints on fluvial responses imposed by strongly incised, steep-walled bedrock controlled valleys; and (2) amplifier effects of periodic damming of lower river reaches by glaciofluvial outwash.
    Keywords: Climate Change -- Research ; Geomorphology -- Research ; Rivers -- Environmental Aspects;
    ISSN: 0165-0009
    E-ISSN: 1573-1480
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, January 2018, Vol.165, pp.161-182
    Description: Young children have difficulty in distinguishing events that violate physical laws (impossible events) from those that violate mere physical regularities (improbable events). They judge both as “impossible.” Young children also have difficulty in distinguishing events that violate moral laws (immoral events) from events that violate mere social regularities (unconventional events). They judge both as “wrong.” In this set of studies, we explored the possibility that both difficulties arise from a more general deficit in cognition, or the way in which children represent and reason about possibilities. Participants (80 children aged 3–10 years and 101 adults) were shown impossible, improbable, unconventional, and immoral events and were asked to judge whether the events could occur in real life and whether they would be okay to do. Preschool-aged children not only had difficulty distinguishing law-violating events from regularity-violating events but also had difficulty distinguishing the two modal questions themselves, judging physically abnormal events (e.g., floating in the air) as immoral and judging socially abnormal events (e.g., lying to a parent) as impossible. These findings were replicated in a second study where participants (74 children and 78 adults) judged whether the events under consideration would require magic (a specific consequence of impossibility) or would require punishment (a specific consequence of impermissibility). Our findings imply that young children’s modal representations clearly distinguish abnormal events from ordinary events but do not clearly distinguish different types of abnormal events from each other. That is, the distinction between whether an event occur and whether an event occur must be learned.
    Keywords: Moral Judgment ; Possibility Judgment ; Social Reasoning ; Physical Reasoning ; Modality ; Conceptual Development ; Social Welfare & Social Work ; Psychology
    ISSN: 0022-0965
    E-ISSN: 1096-0457
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