Professor of History and Philosophy of Science
My research centers on the theoretical issues that are raised by psychology and cognitive science. I focus particularly on the following themes:
Concepts: The class of concepts divides into several kinds of data structures that are very different from each other. The notion of concept is at best useless to study the mind. This theme and many others are developed in detail in my book Doing without Concepts (2009, Oxford University Press).
Evolution, Culture and Cognition: Cognition is the product of evolution. Nonetheless, cognition does not boil down to a toolkit of domain-specific, canalized systems. We have evolved to acquire a substantial part of our psychological endowment by cultural transmission. I have a strong interest in the interactions between evolved cognition and culture in the moral and social domains. I have for instance been working on the nature and origins of racial categorization.
Experimental philosophy: in many areas, e.g., moral philosophy, semantics etc., philosophical arguments rest often on untested empirical assumptions. Testing these empirical assumptions may ground far-reaching conclusions (see at the bottom of this page).
Philosophy: Philosophy without science is blind. Criticizing confused notions, assumptions and controversies within philosophy and within science is one of the decent functions of philosophy.
For a complete description of my education, the complete list of publications, etc., see my CV.
Media coverage of my work
I have been interviewed on the Australian National Radio ABC by Natasha Mitchell in her program All in the Mind. Listen to the interview about intentional action here and read the listeners reaction on Natasha Mitchell's blog (February 2009).
My work on semantic intuitions has been written up in the Chronicle of Higher Education (October 2008).
I have been profiled in the June issue of the Corriere della Sera Style Magazine (2008).
Anthony Appiah has written up my contribution to experimental philosophy in the New York Times Magazine (12/09/2007). Read the article here.
The American Psychological Association's Psychological Science Agenda has published a short opinion piece about the use of evolutionary theory in the behavioral sciences in honor of Darwin's birthday.
Watch my lecture "Did morality really evolve?" in the Brain, Evolution, and Cognition series at UCLA here. The Q&A discussion is there.
Dialogue will publish a symposium on Doing wihtout Concepts with comments by Tania Lombrozo (Berkeley, psychology), Gualtiero Piccinini (UMSL, philosophy), Markus Werning (Düsseldorf, philosophy), and Luc Faucher (UQAM, philosophy).
The Center for Philosophy of Science has organized a symposium for the release of my book Doing without Concepts (OUP 2009), March 5, 2009 with Barbara Malt (psychology, Lehigh) and Jesse Prinz (philosophy, CUNY). Information here.
Tel: + (1) 412 624 5883
Fax: + (1) 412 624 6825
Hinzen, W., & Machery, E. under contract, The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality.
Against Hybrid Theories of Concepts, with Selja Seppälä.
The Concept of Intentional Action in Asperger Syndrome, with T. Zalla.
Sytsma, J., and Machery, E. Two Conceptions of Subjective Experience. Philosophical Studies.
Machery, E. Why I Stopped Worrying about the Definition of Life... And why you Should as Well. Synthese.
Machery, E., Faucher, L., and Kelly, D. On the Alleged Inadequacy of Psychological Explanations of Racism. The Monist.
Machery, E., Olivola, C., and de Blanc, M. Linguistic and Metalinguistic Intuitions in the Philosophy of Language. Analysis.
Machery, E., and Lederer, L. Simple Heuristics for Concept Combination. In M. Werning, W. Hinzen, and E.
Machery (Eds.), The
Machery, E. Do we Talk to be Relevant? Biology & Philosophy.
Griffiths, P., Machery, E., Linquist, S. The Vernacular Concept of Innateness. Mind & Language.
Machery, E. The Bleak Implications of Moral Psychology. Neuroethics.
Mallon, R., Machery, E., Nichols, S., & Stich, S. Against Arguments from Reference. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Machery, E. Developmental Disorders and Cognitive Architecture. In A. De Block and P. Adriaens (Eds.), Darwin and Psychiatry: Philosophical Perspectives. OUP.
Machery, E. Philosophy of Psychology. In F. Allhoff (Ed.), Philosophy of the Special Sciences. SUNY Press.
Fessler, D., & Machery, E. Culture and Cognition. In E.
Margolis, R. Samuels and S. Stich (Eds.),
Machery, E., and Mallon, R. The Evolution of Morality. In J. Doris et
Kelly, D., Machery, E., & Mallon, R. Racial Cognition and Normative Theory. In J. Doris et
Machery, E. Discovery and Confirmation in Evolutionary
Psychology. In J. Prinz (ed.),
Sytsma. J., & Machery, E. 2009. How to study Folk Intuitions about Phenomenal Consciousness. Philosophical Psychology, 22, 21-35.
Faucher, L., & Machery, E. 2009. Racism: Against Jorge Garcia's Moral and Psychological Monism. Philosophy of the Social Sciences. 39, 41-62.
Machery, E. 2008. Modularity and the Flexibility of Human Cognition. Mind & Language, 23, 263-272.
Machery, E. 2008. The Folk
Concept of Intentional Action: Philosophical and Experimental
& Language, 23, 165-189.
Katsikopoulos, K., Pachur, T., Machery, E., & Wallin, A. 2008. From Meehl (1954) to Fast and Frugal Heuristics (And Back): New Insights into How to Bridge the Clinical-Actuarial Divide. Theory & Psychology, 18, 443-464.
Machery, E. 2008. A Plea for Human Nature. Philosophical Psychology, 21, 321-330.
Griffiths, P. E., & Machery, E. 2008. Innateness, Canalization, and ‘Biologicizing the Mind’. Philosophical Psychology, 21, 397-414.
Machery, E. 2007. Concept Empiricism: A Methodological Critique. Cognition, 104, 19-46.
Machery, E. Massive Modularity and Brain Evolution. Philosophy of Science, 74, 825-838.
Livengood, J., & Machery, E. 2007. The Folk Probably Don’t Think What You Think They Think: Experiments on
Causation by Absence.
Machery, E. 2007. 100 Years of Psychology of Concepts: The Theoretical Notion of Concept and Its Operationalization. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 38, 63-84.
Machery, E. 2007. Review of Robert J. Stainton, Words and Thoughts: Subsentences, Ellipsis, and the Philosophy of Language. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
Machery, E. 2006. How to Split Concepts. Reply to Piccinini and Scott. Philosophy of Science, 73, 410-418.
Machery, E., & Barrett, C. 2006. Debunking Adapting Minds. Philosophy of Science, 73, 232-246.
Machery, E. 2006. Two Dogmas of Neo-Empiricism. Philosophy Compass, 1, 4, 398-412.
Machery, E. 2006. Review of A. Zilhao, ed., Evolution, Rationality and Cognition. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
Kelly, D., Machery, E., Mallon, R., Mason, K., & Stich, S. P. 2006, The Role of Psychology in the Study of Culture. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 29, 4, 355.
Machery, E. 2005. Concepts are Not a Natural Kind. Philosophy of Science, 72, 444-467.
Machery, E. 2005. You don’t Know How you Think: Introspection and Language of Thought. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 56, 469-485.
Machery, E., & Faucher, L. 2005. Social Construction and the Concept of Race. Philosophy of Science, 72, 1208-1219.
Machery, E., & Faucher, L. 2005. Why do we Think Racially?. In H. Cohen and C. Lefebvre (eds.), Handbook of Categorization in Cognitive Science, Elsevier (pp. 1009-1033).
Machery, E., Kelly, D., & Stich, S. P. 2005. Moral Realism and Cross-Cultural Normative Diversity, Comment on Henrich et al., Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28, 6, 830.
Machery, E. 2005. Review of R. Boyd and P. Richerson, The Origin and Evolution of Cultures. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
Machery, E., Mallon, R., Nichols, S., & Stich, S. P. 2004. Semantics, Cross-cultural Style. Cognition, 92, 3, B1-B12.
NB: Please, quote only the
published versions of these articles.
Works in Preparation
Trusting and Punishing Artifacts, with Lévan Sardjevéladzé, under revision.
An Empirical Study of Evolutionary Psychology, with Kara Cohen.
Hypothesis Testing: Reports of its Death have been Greatly Exaggerated.
Reduction and Emergence, Second meeting of the IHPST (Paris)/HPS-Center for Philosophy of Science (Pittsburgh) Workshop Series, Pittsburgh, December 11-12, 2009.
Adaptations in Psychology and in Biology, First meeting of the IHPST (Paris)/HPS-Center for Philosophy of Science (Pittsburgh) Workshop Series, Paris, June 4-5, 2008.
Bi-annual meeting of the Moral Psychology
Member of the program committee for the annual
congress of the Human Behavior &
Evolution Society (HBES 2004),
NAC 2004: New Aspects of Compositionality, Paris, June, 18-20, 2004, coorganized with Pr. M. Werning (financial support: the RESCIF, the Ecole Normale Superieure, Department of Cognitive Studies, the University of Paris-Sorbonne, and the Institut Jean-Nicod)
CoCoCo: Compositionality, Concepts, and Cognition, Düsseldorf, February, 28-March, 3, 2004, coorganized with Pr. M. Werning and Pr. G. Schurz (financial support: the Thyssen Foundation and the University Heinrich-Heine of Düsseldorf)
TBA, UQAM, Montréal, February 26, 2010.
Les Implications Troublantes de la Psychologie Morale, Paris, February 12, 2010.
Three Neuroscientific Arguments against the Massive Modularity Hypothesis, University of Waterloo, December 4, 2009.
Can we Hold People Responsible for their Implicit Biases against Women and Minorities? Women's Studies Brown Bag, University of Pittsburgh, November 17, 2009.
TBA, Rutgers, November 5, 2009.
Three Neuroscientific Arguments against the Massive Modularity Hypothesis, Carnegie Mellon University, October 1, 2009.
Three Neuroscientific Arguments against the Massive Modularity Hypothesis, Mexico City, August 12-14, 2009.
Diversity in Semantic Intuitions, NEH Summer Institute on Experimental Philosophy, June 24, 2009.
Introduction to Statistics, NEH Summer Institute on Experimental Philosophy, June 23, 2009.
Multi-Kulti Semantics, Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Bloomington, June 12-14, 2009.
Did Morality Really Evolve, June 4, 2009, Caltech.
Reply to my critics, symposium on Doing without Concepts, Canadian Philosophical Association, Ottawa, May 26-28, 2009.
Did Morality Really Evolve?, Irvine, May 15, 2009.
Experimental Semantics (or What would Kripke Have Said if he were Asian?), Las Vegas, May 1, 2009.
Did Morality Really Evolve?, Brain, evolution, and culture, UCLA, April 19, 2008.
Experimental Semantics (or What would Kripke Have Said if he were Asian?), Berkeley, March 18, 2009.
Reply to Barbara Malt and Jesse Prinz, symposium on Doing without Concepts, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, March 6, 2009.
Experimental Semantics, Riverside, February 11, 2009
Theory Testing in Psychology, Eastern APA, December 26, 2008.
Shaun Nichols and Ron Mallon have organized a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College and University teachers with Steve Stich, Paul Griffiths, John Doris, Joshua Knobe, myself and others as Visting Faculty (June 22-July 17, 2009). Information here and see here for the complete list of visiting faculty.
Edouard Machery, Joshua Knobe, and Tania Lombrozo are editing two special issues of The European Review of Philosophy dedicated to experimental philosophy. Call for Paper here.
Experimental Philosophy surveys (Bryony Pierce): here.