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 Philosophy and Psychology at Yale in 2015, and I'm currently housed in Harvard's Moral Psychology Research Lab.

Selected Publications

Causation and norms of proper functioning: Counterfactuals are (still) relevant.

Phillips, J., Kominsky, J. (forthcoming) Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society

OSF repository

Submitted / Working Papers

Do children believe immoral events are magical?

Phillips, J. & Bloom, P. (submitted)

Differentiating could from should: Developmental changes in modal cognition

Shtulman, A. and Phillips, J. (submitted)

Experimenting on Modals

Khoo, J. and Phillips, J. (working paper)


Factive Theory of Mind

Norby, A. & Phillips, J. (working paper)

Moral bias in children's predictions of others

Phillips, J. & Bloom, P. (working paper)