Congratulations to PhD Candidate Dustyn Addington who was awarded the Dan Gerler Dissertation Fellowship! The fellowship will allow Dustyn to take a quarter off from teaching to focus on writing his dissertation, “The Value of Non-Conscious Judgments.”
In this dissertation, Dustyn will be examining how some of the most important judgments we make – such as academic admissions, hiring, voting, medical treatments, and jury decisions – are not based on conscious, step-by-step reasoning, but rather gut reactions. The processes that produce these gut reactions, or intuitions, are hidden from conscious awareness. This hiddenness is of concern because recent psychological research on intuitions demonstrates that intuitions are vulnerable to arbitrary and irrational biases, without the individual ever noticing they were so influenced.
A tricky feature of intuitions is that, unlike the errors that afflict sensory experience such as optical illusions, we do not have a robust set of checks and balances that help prevent errors in judgment. His dissertation articulates how this research challenges philosophy’s core methodology (which builds normative theories on intuitions as their foundation) and evaluates cognitive resources that could be leveraged to keep biased intuitions in check.