Study on the Personality and Reasoning of Philosophers


A new study is underway to learn about the relationship between personality and reasoning among philosophers. 

It would be pretty interesting to learn about any correlations between personality types and philosophical positions, no?

The study is being conducted by Nick Byrd, a PhD student in philosophy at Florida State University. He wrote to ask Daily Nous readers to participate in it. You can do so by clicking here. It should take 10-20 minutes. Pitch in, philosophers!

Mr. Byrd said he’d be willing to share some information about the results in a guest post here at Daily Nous. I’m looking forward to hearing what he finds.

Mary Iverson, “Weight”


Related: “The Personality of Philosophy Majors

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InsideBeing
InsideBeing
2 years ago

I was planning on doing this myself. Does anybody know what type of personality test he is using?Report

Tom
Tom
2 years ago

A suggestion for both this study and the many similar ones out there: remind me what various views are. Simply asking me to choose, as your first question does, between anti-physicalism and physicalism isn’t terribly helpful if I haven’t thought about philosophy of mind since I was an undergraduate. I may have actually forgotten what these words mean. Or the vocabulary used to describe the positions may have changed. Regardless, rather than asking me to pick this bit of jargon or that to describe my views, you might be better off describing a cliffnotes version of the view, then asking whether I accept it or not.Report

ano
ano
2 years ago

I feel like this study is a trick, it’s a study not about personality of philosophers but about whether we know the stuff we teach 😉Report

Ross
Ross
2 years ago

I like the idea and appreciate the effort. However, I could not complete the survey.

I have a significant learning disability that went undiagnosed until I was in my sophomore year in high school. By then it was too late. My mathematical reasoning and some other skills were never properly developed.

Furthermore, I suffer from debilitating test anxiety. It arises most prominently in situations where I feel I’m being asked to prove that I know something. The intensity of the anxiety is relative to a number of things–where there is mathematical reasoning involved it skyrockets, especially if timed. Here there were both–math and time restrictions (given my work schedule, etc.). (maybe that’s why my MA thesis defense on Bayesian Confirmation Theory was so terrifying–left all that out of my dissertation, much smoother defense : ) )

So, be warned—-for those like me, completing the survey and attempting to do your best on the questions directly challenging your mathematical reasoning skills is impossible without a couple of hours to set aside.

Also, I hope that the author of the survey will make a note of this when calculating the results. The results likely will not be representative of those who require a lot of time to complete surveys that test their mathematical reasoning abilities directly.

In any case, just a note, not a criticism. Thanks for the work!!!Report

Daniel Munoz
2 years ago

“Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching): straight or turn?”

I wasn’t sure what to make of this. Papers on the Trolley Problem are usually about whether turning the trolley is permissible (and how it could be, given that it involves killing one to save five). The survey seems to ask whether you would *in fact* turn the trolley, or whether it ought to be done. That might put some noise in the data.Report

Daniel Munoz
Reply to  Daniel Munoz
2 years ago

There are also some problems with the “quiz” questions. One math problem appears to be missing a zero, and some of the logic questions are worded oddly, such as:

All bears are ferocious.
Some stuffed animals are bears.
If these two statements are true, can we conclude from them that some stuffed animals are ferocious?

You’re supposed to say “yes.” But these two statements, at least in ordinary English, don’t *really* entail that some stuffed animals are ferocious, because they use “bear” in different ways. (All detectives are real. Some fictional characters are detectives…)Report

Alan White
Alan White
Reply to  Daniel Munoz
2 years ago

Daniel, I as well decided that equivocation trumps questions of validity in this case. I also notified the author of what I did, and he very graciously thanked me for noting this. Supposing even outlandish premises for the purpose of assessing validity is one thing; equivocation among premises is more dire. And frankly I think the problem of equivocation in argument in the literature is far more widespread than difficulties with validity.Report

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
Reply to  Daniel Munoz
2 years ago

How would any of us know “in fact” what we would do in that situation anyway? Honestly, I think this quiz needed another draft.Report

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
2 years ago

“How many years have you studied philosophy?”

What exactly is this question asking? My answer could be anything between 12 years to 30 years depending on what they mean by “study.” Is this a degree-credit question? Is this a formal v. informal study question? Does continuing to do research post PhD count as studying philosophy? Since the survey doesn’t allow you to skip any questions (a strange choice given that Qualtrics allows you to let people skip questions without mucking with your data), I stopped right here.Report