An fMRI of the thinker statue symbolizing the intersection of philosophy and cognitive science.

About Nick Byrd

I am a PhD candidate at Florida State University. I work in the Social and Moral Reasoning Lab and in the Philosophy Department. You can find out more about me and my research below. And you can follow my day-to-day life on the social media profiles in the menu.


My mother was an accountant, a jeweler, and a social worker. My father was a restaurant owner and restaurant product salesman. I grew up in Massachusetts and South Florida. Since I was a kid, I liked building stuff — with Lego, wood, metal, motors/engines, …whatever I could get my hands on, really. As a teenager, my favorite classes were the ones in which I got to make stuff, use computers, argue, or some combination thereof. One of my first (and favorite) jobs was building and remodeling homes. When I wasn’t at school or at work, I was doing track, soccer, football, band, church, theatre, video games, or volunteer stuff. [Jump To Top]


As a teenager, I enjoyed — among other things — reading, writing, and trying to understand how things work. Eventually I decided that I wanted to do this full-time. When I started college, I thought, “Engineering and religion will explain how things work!” A few years into college, I changed my mind. I realized that philosophy is more foundational than either engineering or religion. So I became a philosophy major. A few years later, in graduate school, I changed my mind one more time. I realized that cognitive science is more fundamental than philosophy. So I’ve focused primarily on cognitive science ever since. [Jump To Top]

Research Overview

I try to answer questions from both the armchair and the lab. Here are some questions that guide my research. What is intuition? What is reflection? How do they work? Why do they work? What is the value and/or purpose of intuition and reflection? How do differences in intuition and reflection relate to differences in ideology, philosophy, religion, morality, and bias? On a different note, what is wellbeing? How do we reliably improve wellbeing (or else reliably inhibit ill-being)? On a third note, what is willpower? Can it be improved? If so, how?

These questions steer me towards many academic fields. But my starting and ending points are usually in cognitive science (including experimental philosophy), philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. For more about my research, check out my research page and/or my CV. [Jump To Top]

Free Time

In my free time I like to spend time with my partner, exercise [Strava profile], blog, hike in conservation parks, travel, make stuff, go to bed early, or some combination of the above. You can see more of what I do in my free time on Instagram and Facebook. [Jump To Top]

What Am I Up To Today?

You can follow me on social media and/or follow my blog (in the menu) to find out the latest about what I’m doing.


And yes: I have been told that I look like Neil Patrick Harris.