My research falls in the intersection of psychology, philosophy, and linguistics, and fits most easily within the broader umbrella of cognitive science. Much of the work I've done is related in one way or another to the psychological representation of modality — the way our minds represent possibilities. I have also done research on theory of mind, causal reasoning, moral judgment, formal semantics, and happiness.
I earned my Ph.D. in Psychology and Philosophy at Yale in 2015, and I'm currently housed in Harvard's Moral Psychology Research Lab.
Differentiating could from should: Developmental changes in modal cognition
Morality constrains the default representation of what is possible
Knowledge wh and False Beliefs: Experimental Investigations
Phillips, J. & George, B.R. (forthcoming) Journal of Semantics
Causation and norms of proper functioning: Counterfactuals are (still) relevant.
Phillips, J., Kominsky, J. (2017) Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
True happiness: The role of morality in the folk concept of happiness.
Unifying morality's influence on non-moral judgments: The relevance of alternative possibilities
A second look at automatic theory of mind: Reconsidering Kovács, Téglás, and Endress (2010)
The good in happiness
Manipulating morality: Third-party intentions alter moral judgments by changing causal reasoning
The paradox of moral focus
The ordinary concept of happiness
(and others like it)
Moral judgments and intuitions about freedom
Submitted / Working Papers
Do children believe immoral events are possible?
Phillips, J. & Bloom, P. (submitted)
New horizons for a theory of epistemic modals
Khoo, J. and Phillips, J. (under revision)
Factive Theory of Mind
Phillips, J. & Norby, A. (under revision)
Moral bias in children's predictions of others
Phillips, J. & Bloom, P. (working paper)
Phillips, J. & Worsnip, A. (working paper)
Evaluations of knowledge without belief
'Force': Morality and context
Mandelkern, M. and Phillips, J. (working paper)