Minds Picture
Jesse J. Prinz

City University of New York, Graduate Center

Distinguished Professor,
Philosophy Pogram
Director, Committee for Interdisciplianry Science Studies
Director, CUNY Philosophy Lab


Previous affiliation: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (still an adjunct there); Washington University in St. Louis
Visiting positions: Humboldt University in Berlin, Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, The University of London, California Institute of Technology, University of Maryland at College Park

Research Statement
I work primarily in the philosophy of psychology, broadly construed. I am interested in how the mind works. I think philosophical accounts of the mental can be fruitfully informed by findings from psychology, the neurosciences, anthropology, and related fields. My theoretical convictions are unabashedly empiricist. I hope to resuscitate core claims of British Empiricism against the backdrop of contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

Current Research Topics
At present, my major research projects are focused on three topics: the relationship between morality and the self; the role of psychology in constructing the world; and the role of emotions in art.

Main Research Areas
Below is a list of some of my research interests.  If you click on the header, you will get a thesis statement.  For further elaboration, see the linked papers.  These papers are not intended as the most careful defenses of the theories that I favor.  I chose them because they state those theories concisely.  For more thorough developments, see the books.  For other papers, consult the CV link.

Sample papers:
"The Return of Concept Empiricism"

"Regaining Composure: A Defense of Prototype Compositionality"

Sample papers:
"Embodied Emotions"
"Which Emotions Are Basic?"

Sample papers:
"A Neurofunctional Theory of Consciousness"
"Mental Pointing: Phenomenal Knowledge Without Concepts"
"Is Consciousness Embodied?"
"When is Perception Conscious?"

Moral Psychology
Sample papers:
"The Emotional Basis of Moral Judgment"
"Can Moral Obligations Be Discovered Empirically?"
"The Normativity Challenge: Why Traits Won't Save Virtue Ethics"
"Is Empathy Necessary for Morality?"

Sample papers (on moral natism--more topics soon):
"Against Moral Nativism"
"Is Morality Innate?"
"Resisting the Linguistic Analogy (A Reply to Hauser, Cushman, and Young)"

Sample papers:
"The Role of Emotion in Aesthetic Judgment"
"Emotion and Aesthetic Value"
"When is Film Art?"

Other Topics
Vagueness: "Vagueness, Language, and Ontology"
Modularity: "Is the Mind Really Modular?"
Perception: "Beyond Appearances: The Content of Sensation and Perception"
Social construction: coming soon

External Sites with Papers

Authored Books

The Moral Self. New York: Oxford University Press (in production).

Works of Wonder:  A Theory of Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press (in production).

The Conscious Brain. New York: Oxford University Press (in press).

Beyond Human Nature. London: Penguin  / New York: Norton (2012). (More info here.)

The Emotional Construction of Morals
. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2007).

Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press (2004).

Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (2002).

Furnishing the Mind, cover    Gut
            Reactions, cover    Emotional Construction of Morals, cover

Beyond Human Nature    The Conscious

Edited Books

The Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).

Mind and Cognition, 3rd Edition (with William Lycan).  Oxford: Blackwell (2008)

Philosophy of Mind section in S. Cahn (ed.) Philosophy for the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press (2002).

Mind & Cognition,

For a CV, click here.