I’m Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University, Director of the Research Group on Evolution and Cognition, and Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty in 1989, I taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Maryland and the University of California, San Diego. I have lectured in more than 30 countries around the world and I’ve been Visiting Professor at a number of leading universities in the USA, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.
My publications include seven books, the most recent of which is a very cool introductory textbook, Philosophy: Asking Questions – Seeking Answers, co-authored with Tom Donaldson and published by Oxford University Press. I’ve also published about 200 articles and edited or co-edited 13 anthologies, including Epistemology for the Rest of the World (with Masa Mizumoto and Eric McCready, Oxford U.P. 2018) which explores themes in cross-cultural epistemology that are central to the Geography of Philosophy project, on which I am co-PI, along with Clark Barrett and Edouard Machery.
I’m a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of the Jean Nicod Prize awarded by the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the first recipient of the American Philosophical Association’s Gittler Award for Outstanding Scholarly Contribution in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences, and the 2016 recipient of the Lebowitz Prize for Philosophical Achievement and Contribution awarded by the Phi Beta Kappa Society in conjunction with the American Philosophical Association. In the Spring term of 2020, I was Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at the Princeton University Center for Human Values. And, far more important than any of these, I’ve been married to the wonderful Judith Gagnon Stich for almost half a century.
Over the decades, much of my work has been aimed at integrating the findings and methods of the cognitive and social sciences into traditional philosophical debates. In From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science (1983), I argued that theories in cognitive science encouraged radical rethinking of standard philosophical accounts of the mind. In a series of papers published a few years later, tried to show why connectionist approaches in cognitive science had important implications for both the nativism debate and the viability of “folk” psychology. My 1985 paper, “Could Man Be An Irrational Animal?” and my book, The Fragmentation of Reason (1990), helped to opened a new area of interdisciplinary research by exploring the implications of work in the psychology of reasoning, judgment and decision making for research in epistemology. I then turned my attention to the emerging psychological literature on mental state attribution. In collaboration with Shaun Nichols, I wrote a book (Mindreading) and a series of papers that developed a systematic and integrated account of the psychological mechanisms underlying pretense, the attribution of mental states to others, and the capacity for self-awareness. Starting in 2000, my students and I were actively involved in the creation of the new field of “experimental philosophy” which uses the methods of psychology and neuroscience to evaluate the claims of philosophical theories and assess the evidence offered for those claims. The experimental philosophy movement has now generated over 1000 papers, and has come in second in a poll of “currently hot topics” that “ought to fade away” according to readers of Brian Leiter’s Philosophy Blog. During the last fifteen years, a substantial part of my work has been focused on empirically informed moral psychology.