Professor of Philosophy
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Ph.D., The Ohio State University, Dissertation entitled "Thomas Reid's Theory of Perception"
B.A., Illinois Wesleyan University, Majors in Philosophy and Religion, Minor in Chinese
Empirical & Experimental Philosophy
Philosophy & Psychology of Religion
Courses Regularly Taught
Meaning, Purpose & the Good Life, Philosophy 101
Rationalism & Empiricism, Philosophy 300
Philosophy of Sex & Love, Philosophy 325
Asian Philosophy, Philosophy 350
Advances in Religion, Cognitive Science, and Experimental Philosophy (Bloomsbury, 2016; edited with Helen De Cruz)
Thomas Reid's Theory of Perception (Oxford UP, 2007)
Philosophy Through Science Fiction (Routledge, 2009)
'The Distant Reading of Religious Texts: A “Big Data” Approach to Mind-Body Concepts in Early China.' Co-authored with Edward Slingerland, Kristoffer Nielbo, and Carson Logan. Accepted at Journal of the American Academy of Religion.
' Modeling the contested relationship between Analects, Mencius, and Xunzi: Preliminary evidence from a Machine-Learning Approach. ' Co-authored with Edward Slingerland, Kristoffer Nielbo, Uffe Bergeton and Carson Logan. Accepted at Journal of Asian Studies.
'Civilizing Humans with Shame: How Early Confucians Altered Inherited Evolutionary Norms through Cultural Programming to Increase Social Harmony.' Journal of Cognition and Culture 15 (2015): 254-284.
'Early Confucianism is a System for Social-Functional Influence and Probably Does Not Represent a Normative Ethical Theory.' Dao 14 (2015): 499-520.
'Toward a science of science fiction: Applying quantitative methods to genre individuation.' Co-authored with Justin Lynn and Ben Purzyicki. Scientific Study of Literature 4 (2014): 25-45.
'Re-evaluating the Effects of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake on Eighteenth-Century Minds: How Cognitive Science of Religion Improves Intellectual History with Hypothesis Testing Methods.' Journal of the American Academy of Religion 82 (2014): 1-40.
'The Social Cost of Atheism: How Perceived Religiosity Influences Moral Appraisal.' Co-authored with Jen Wright. Journal of Cognition and Culture 14 (2014): 93-115.
'Thomas Reid,' The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Co-authored with Gideon Yaffe. Fall 2014 Edition, Edward N. Zalta (ed.),
'The origins and effects of Confucian filial piety (xiao 孝）: How culture was made to solve an evolutionary problem for parents.' Journal of Cognition and Culture 13 (2013): 201-230.
‘A Geneaology of Early Confucian Moral Psychology.’ Philosophy East and West 61 (2011): 609–629.
‘Natural Philosophy and Its Limits in the Scottish Enlightenment.’ The Monist 90 (2007): 233-250.
‘Why is the History of Philosophy worth our study?’ Metaphilosophy 37 (2006): 34-52.
‘Reid’s Inheritance from Locke, and How He Overcomes it.’ Journal for the History of Philosophy 41 (2003): 471-492.
8/2012-8/2013, Research Fellow, Centre for Human Evolution, Cognition, and Culture, University of British Columbia, M. Collard, S. Heine, J. Henrich, A. Norenzayan, & T. Slingerland, co-directors
10/2011-5/2013, Co-PI on 'Religion and Moral Development: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives,' John Templeton Foundation Grant, administered by Fuller Theological Seminary , 'The Chinese Challenge' project, Justin Barrett, director
8/2010-5/2011 Research Fellow, Center for Philosophy of Religion , University of Notre Dame, Michael Rea, director
9/2009-8/2010, Co-PI on 'Divine Intentionality and Divine Morality' sub-grant, John Templeton Foundation Grant, administered by Oxford University's Centre for Anthropology and Mind , 'Cognition, Religion and Theology' project, Justin Barrett, director
9/2005-5/2006, Research Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities
3/2005, Kristeller-Popkin Travel Fellowship, awarded by the Board of Directors of the Journal for the History of Philosophy
8/2000-5/2001, Graduate Student Fellow, Center for Philosophy of Religion , University of Notre Dame, Alvin Plantinga director
Professor Nichols has no scheduled office hours for the 17-18 academic year. Please email him for appointment times.
Current Course Schedule
Professor Nichols is not teaching during normal terms for the 17-18 academic year. However, he is teaching PHIL 325 through Extended Education in January 2018.
Next Semester Course Schedule
Not teaching Fall 2017-Spring 2018