About this topic
Summary There seems to be at least some philosophical knowledge. For example, most philosophers, having read Gettier, take themselves to know that justified true belief is not sufficient for knowledge. But how is philosophical knowledge possible? What are its features? Is philosophy (ever? always?) a priori? Are there grounds for skepticism about philosophy? What is the role of intuitions in philosophy?
Key works DePaul & Ramsey 1998 contains many essays probing and challenging the sources of philosophical knowledge; Booth & Rowbottom 2014 is a more contemporary treatment of the same issues. Weinberg et al 2001 give an influential empirical challenge to the use of intuitions in the normative realms of philosophy. Williamson 2007 defends an approach to philosophy that does not depend on intuitions in an evidential role.
Introductions The literature on metaphilosophy typically occurs at a relatively advanced level; unlike many other philosophical subdisciplines, the study of philosophy requires significant antecedent familiarity with much of philosophy, so it is not particularly well-suited to introductory treatments. However, Rosenberg 1984 is one influential introductory text.
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  1. A. Nfuropsythologital Approath (1997). The Nature of Intuition O. In R. Davis-Floyd & P. Sven Arvidson (eds.), Intuition: The Inside Story. Routledge 19.
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  2. Gary Atkinson (1990). A Defense of Intuitions. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 64:107-117.
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  3. Anthony Alan Bryson, The View From the Armchair: A Defense of Traditional Philosophy.
    Traditional philosophy has been under attack from several quarters in recent years. The traditional philosopher views philosophy as an armchair discipline relying, for the most part, on reason and reflection. Some philosophers doubt the legitimacy of this type of inquiry. Their arguments usually occur along two dimensions. Some argue that the primary data source for the armchair philosopher--intuition--does not provide evidence for philosophical theories. Others argue that conceptual analysis, which is the preferred method of inquiry for armchair philosophers, can't yield (...)
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  4. Daniel Cohnitz & Jussi Haukioja (2015). Intuitions in Philosophical Semantics. Erkenntnis 80 (3):617-641.
    We argue that the term “intuition”, as it is used in metaphilosophy, is ambiguous between at least four different senses. In philosophy of language, the relevant “intuitions” are either the outputs of our competence to interpret and produce linguistic expressions, or the speakers’ or hearers’ own reports of these outputs. The semantic facts that philosophers of language are interested in are determined by the outputs of our competence. Hence, philosophers of language should be interested in investigating these, and they do (...)
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  5. Daniel Greco (2015). The Epistemology of ‘Just is’-Statements. Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2599-2607.
    Agustín Rayo’s The Construction of Logical Space offers an exciting and ambitious defense of a broadly Carnapian approach to metaphysics. This essay will focus on one of the main differences between Rayo’s and Carnap’s approaches. Carnap distinguished between analytic, a priori “meaning postulates”, and empirical claims, which were both synthetic and knowable only a posteriori. Like meaning postulates, they determine the boundaries of logical space. But Rayo is skeptical that the a priori/a posteriori or analytic/synthetic distinctions can do the work (...)
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  6. Peter Kung (2012). Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):806-809.
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  7. David Leech & Aku Visala (2011). Naturalistic Explanation for Religious Belief. Philosophy Compass 6 (8):552-563.
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  8. C. Lu (1989). Clarifying Ostensible Definition by the Logical Possibility of Inverted Spectrum. Modern Philosophy 2.
    How "red", "green" were defined? Through analyzing how two children with congenitally inverted color sensations corresponding to red flags and green grass accept their grand mothers’ teaching about colors, the paper get opposite conclusions against logical empiricism. The “red” and “green” and other names of properties of objects were defined by objective physical properties (or together with behavior, such as in defining “beauty”), instead our sensations. So language directly points to things in themselves passing through sensations and presentative world. It (...)
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  9. Nenad Miscevic, Intuitions: A Naturalistic Approach.
    Part one: physical thought-experiments 1) Introduction: some famous examples 2) Problems 3) Process: reasoning in mental models 4) Virtues explained Part two: spatial imagination and the seeing of possibilities 5) Two stages of geometrical thought-experiments 6) The neuro-epistemology of imagination 7) From possibility to necessity 8) Objections and hurdles..
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  10. Nenad Miščević (2013). An Uncomfortable Armchair. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 13 (1):5-28.
    The paper addresses Williamson’s original and challenging proposal for understanding of thought experiments . First, it puts it on the map of positions, describing it as “ordinarism”, the view that sees thinker’s reaction to the thought-experimental question as nothing extraordinary, let alone mysterious. Then, it passes to Williamson’s proposal to use counterfactuals in order to understand TEs, agrees with the main idea, but proposes a more structured view of capacities or “competences” active in the understanding and answering. Intuitions are important, (...)
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  11. Nadia Moro (2014). Das Helldunkel einheimischer Begriffe: Der wissenschaftliche Ort der Pädagogik in Herbarts System der Philosophie. In R. Coriand & A. Schotte (eds.), Herbartstudien, Bd. 5: "Einheimische Begriffe" und Disziplinentwicklung. Garamond 173–186.
    Johann Friedrich Herbart bringt ein wissenschaftliches Verständnis von Philosophie auf, das sich prägend auf den Aufbau seines Systems sowie auf die Begründung von Psychologie, Ästhetik, Pädagogik und deren gegenseitige Beziehungen auswirkt. Ausgehend von neuen funktionalistischen Interpretationen seiner Philosophie wird gezeigt, wie durch eine relationale Methodologie eine pluralistische Wissenschaftsauffassung ermöglicht wird, welche einerseits die selbständige Entwicklung einzelner Disziplinen rechtfertigt, andererseits deren formalen Zusammenhang nachweist. Der systematische Bezug der Pädagogik wird aus Sicht der Philosophie festgelegt. Hinsichtlich ihrer Möglichkeit, Begründung und wissenschaftlichen Verortung (...)
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  12. Kai Nielsen (1990). On There Being Philosophical Knowledge. Theoria 56 (3):193-225.
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  13. Robert B. Pippin (2006). Philosophy is its Own Time Comprehended in Thought. Topoi 25 (1-2):85-90.
    So much philosophy is so unavoidably guided by intuitions, and such intuitions are so formed by examples, and such examples must of necessity present so cropped and abstract a picture of an instance or event or decision, that, left to its traditional methods, philosophy might be ill-equipped on its own to answer a question about the true content of an historical ideal like ``autonomy'', or authenticity or ``leading a free life''. One needs to bring so many factors into play at (...)
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  14. Juha Saatsi (forthcoming). Explanation and Explanationism in Science and Metaphysics. In Matthew Slater & Zanja Yudell (eds.), Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science: New Essays. Oxford University Press
  15. John Safranek (2012). Braude, Hillel. Intuition in Medicine: A Philosophical Defense of Clinical Reasoning. Review of Metaphysics 66 (2):358-360.
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  16. Brian Talbot (2014). Why so Negative? Evidence Aggregation and Armchair Philosophy. Synthese 191 (16):3865-3896.
    This paper aims to clarify a debate on philosophical method, and to give a probabilistic argument vindicating armchair philosophy under a wide range of plausible assumptions. The use of intuitions by so-called armchair philosophers has been criticized on empirical grounds. The debate between armchair philosophers and their empirical critics would benefit from greater clarity and precision in our understanding of what it takes for intuition-based approaches to philosophy to make sense. This paper discusses a set of rigorous, probability-based tools for (...)
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  17. Anand Vaidya (2012). Intuition and Inquiry. Essays in Philosophy 13 (1):16.
    Recent work in philosophical methodology by experimental philosophers has brought to light a certain kind of skepticism about the role of intuitions in a priori philosophical inquiry. In this paper I turn attention away from a priori philosophical inquiry and on to the role of intuition in experimental design. I argue that even if we have reason to be skeptical about the role of intuition in a priori philosophical inquiry, we cannot remove intuition from inquiry altogether, because appeals to intuition (...)
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  18. David Weissman (1987). Intuition and Ideality. State University of New York Press.
    This book shows how idealism is a consequence of the intuitionist method.
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  19. Nicholas White (1985). Invited Papers: The Role of Intuition in Plato's Epistemology. Noûs 19 (1):76.
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Epistemology of Philosophy, Misc
  1. James Andow (2016). Zebras, Intransigence & Semantic Apocalypse: Problems for Dispositional Metasemantics. Philosophia 44 (1):53-62.
    Complete information dispositional metasemantics says that our expressions get their meaning in virtue of what our dispositions to apply those terms would be given complete information. The view has recently been advanced and argued to have a number of attractive features. I argue that that it threatens to make the meanings of our words indeterminate and doesn’t do what it was that made a dispositional view attractive in the first place.
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  2. James Andow (2015). Expecting Moral Philosophers to Be Reliable. Dialectica 69 (2):205-220.
    Are philosophers’ intuitions more reliable than philosophical novices’? Are we entitled to assume the superiority of philosophers’ intuitions just as we assume that experts in other domains have more reliable intuitions than novices? Ryberg raises some doubts and his arguments promise to undermine the expertise defence of intuition-use in philosophy once and for all. In this paper, I raise a number of objections to these arguments. I argue that philosophers receive sufficient feedback about the quality of their intuitions and that (...)
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  3. Nathan Ballantyne (2014). Counterfactual Philosophers. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (2):368-387.
    I argue that reflection on philosophers who could have been working among us but aren’t can lead us to give up our philosophical beliefs.
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  4. Steven James Bartlett (1971). A Relativistic Theory of Phenomenological Constitution: A Self-Referential, Transcendental Approach to Conceptual Pathology. Dissertation, Universite de Paris X (Paris-Nanterre) (France)
    A RELATIVISTIC THEORY OF PHENOMENOLOCICAL CONSTITUTION: A SELF-REFERENTIAL, TRANSCENDENTAL APPROACH TO CONCEPTUAL PATHOLOGY. (Vol. I: French; Vol. II: English) -/- Steven James Bartlett -/- Doctoral dissertation director: Paul Ricoeur, Université de Paris Other doctoral committee members: Jean Ladrière and Alphonse de Waehlens, Université Catholique de Louvain Defended publically at the Université Catholique de Louvain, January, 1971. -/- Universite de Paris X (France), 1971. 797pp. -/- The principal objective of the work is to construct an analytically precise methodology which can serve (...)
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  5. Donato Bergandi (1998). Les antinomies épistémologiques entre les réductionismes et les émergentismes. Revue Internationale de Systémique 12 (3):225-252.
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  6. Alessandro Bertinetto (2007). Die transzendentale Argumentation in der Transzendentalen Logik Fichtes. Fichte-Studien 31:255-265.
  7. Jason Brennan (2010). Scepticism About Philosophy. Ratio 23 (1):1-16.
    Suppose a person who is agnostic about most philosophical issues wishes to have true philosophical beliefs but equally wishes to avoid false philosophical beliefs. I argue that this truth-seeking, error-avoiding agnostic would not have good grounds for pursuing philosophy. Widespread disagreement shows that pursuing philosophy is not a reliable method of discovering true answers to philosophical questions. More likely than not, pursuing philosophy leads to false belief. Many attempts to rebut this sceptical argument fail.
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  8. Søren Brier (1997). What is a Possible Ontological and Epistemological Framework for a True Universal 'Information Science'?: The Suggestion of a Cybersemiotics. World Futures 49 (3):287-308.
    (1997). What is a possible ontological and epistemological framework for a true universal ‘information science'?: The suggestion of a cybersemiotics. World Futures: Vol. 49, The Quest for a Unified Theory of Information, pp. 287-308.
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  9. Nick Byrd (2014). Intuitive And Reflective Responses In Philosophy. Dissertation, University of Colorado
    Cognitive scientists have revealed systematic errors in human reasoning. There is disagreement about what these errors indicate about human rationality, but one upshot seems clear: human reasoning does not seem to fit traditional views of human rationality. This concern about rationality has made its way through various fields and has recently caught the attention of philosophers. The concern is that if philosophers are prone to systematic errors in reasoning, then the integrity of philosophy would be threatened. In this paper, I (...)
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  10. Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press Uk.
    This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...)
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  11. Francisco Caruso & R. Moreira Xavier (1998). Sull'influenza di Cartesio, Leibniz e Newton nel primo approccio di Kant al problema dello spazio e della sua dimensionalita. Epistemologia 21 (2):211-224.
    L'idea di relazionare la dimensionalità dello spazio ad una legge fisica, contenuta nel primo scritto di Kant "Pensieri sulla veridica estima delle forze vive", svela un modo di guardare i rapporti tra Fisica e Matematica così nuovo ed originale che potè essere sviluppato e compreso nella sua plenitudine soltanto nel secolo XX. Ci riferiamo qui ala prospettiva aperta da Ehrenfest nel suo "In what way does it become manifest in the fundamental laws of physics that space has three dimensions?". In (...)
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  12. Yuri Cath (forthcoming). Knowing How and 'Knowing How'. In Christopher Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods. Palgrave Macmillan
    What is the relationship between the linguistic properties of knowledge-how ascriptions and the nature of knowledge-how itself? In this chapter I address this question by examining the linguistic methodology of Stanley and Williamson (2011) and Stanley (2011a, 2011b) who defend the intellectualist view that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. My evaluation of this methodology is mixed. On the one hand, I defend Stanley and Williamson (2011) against critics who argue that the linguistic premises they appeal to—about the syntax and (...)
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  13. Yuri Cath (2012). Evidence and Intuition. Episteme 9 (4):311-328.
    Many philosophers accept a view according to which intuitions are crucial evidence in philosophy. Recently, Williamson has argued that such views are best abandoned because they lead to a psychologistic conception of philosophical evidence that encourages scepticism about the armchair judgements relied upon in philosophy. In this paper I respond to this criticism by showing how the intuition picture can be formulated in such a way that: it is consistent with a wide range of views about not only philosophical (...)
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  14. David Colaco, Wesley Buckwalter, Stephen Stich & Edouard Machery (2014). Epistemic Intuitions in Fake-Barn Thought Experiments. Episteme 11 (2):199-212.
    In epistemology, fake-barn thought experiments are often taken to be intuitively clear cases in which a justified true belief does not qualify as knowledge. We report a study designed to determine whether non-philosophers share this intuition. The data suggest that while participants are less inclined to attribute knowledge in fake-barn cases than in unproblematic cases of knowledge, they nonetheless do attribute knowledge to protagonists in fake-barn cases. Moreover, the intuition that fake-barn cases do count as knowledge is negatively correlated with (...)
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  15. Simon Cullen (2010). Survey-Driven Romanticism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):275-296.
    Despite well-established results in survey methodology, many experimental philosophers have not asked whether and in what way conclusions about folk intuitions follow from people’s responses to their surveys. Rather, they appear to have proceeded on the assumption that intuitions can be simply read off from survey responses. Survey research, however, is fraught with difficulties. I review some of the relevant literature—particularly focusing on the conversational pragmatic aspects of survey research—and consider its application to common experimental philosophy surveys. I argue for (...)
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  16. Chris Daly & David Liggins (2015). Agnosticism About Material Composition. In Mirosław Szatkowski (ed.), God, Truth, and Other Enigmas. De Gruyter 169-182.
  17. Chris Daly & David Liggins (2014). In Defence of Existence Questions. Monist 97 (7):460–478.
    Do numbers exist? Do properties? Do possible worlds? Do fictional characters? Many metaphysicians spend time and effort trying to answer these and other questions about the existence of various entities. These inquiries have recently encountered opposition: a group of philosophers, drawing inspiration from Aristotle, have argued that many or all of the existence questions debated by metaphysicians can be answered trivially, and so are not worth debating. Our task is to defend existence questions from the neo-Aristotelians' attacks.
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  18. Terence Rajivan Edward, When Can We Know Our Assumptions?
    The expression “The owl of Minerva flies at dusk” is used to convey that philosophers are only able to identify the assumptions that are made within a period of history, a period of which they are part, when that period is coming to an end and those assumptions will soon no longer be made. In this paper, I support a rival view according to which those involved in a historical period can know their assumptions earlier, given appropriate talent and effort.
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  19. Terence Rajivan Edward (2014). Deferentialism and the Territory of Philosophy. Ethos: Felsefe ve Toplumsal Bilimlerde Diyaloglar 7 (1):56-62.
    David Liggins and Chris Daly have argued against a recent trend in which some philosophical debate or other is said to be settled by claims from a discipline other than philosophy, because claims from that discipline entail a position on the debate and any claims from that discipline have greater authority than any philosophical claims when the aim is to extend our knowledge. They label this trend deferentialism. This paper presents a dilemma for their argument.
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  20. Robert M. Ellis (2012). Middle Way Philosophy 1: The Path of Objectivity. Lulu.
    The first of a series of 4 volumes on Middle Way Philosophy. Middle Way Philosophy was originally inspired by the Middle Way of the Buddha but is developed in an entirely Western context. It addresses the questions of objectivity, justification, facts and values, and the relationship of philosophy and psychology. It develops the concept of experiential adequacy to provide a non-metaphysical resolution of the dichotomy between absolutism and relativism in both facts and values.
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  21. Eugen Fischer (2014). Mind the Metaphor! A Systematic Fallacy in Analogical Reasoning. Analysis 75 (1):67-77.
    Conceptual metaphors facilitate both productive and pernicious analogical reasoning. This article addresses the question: When and why does the frequently helpful use of metaphor become pernicious? By applying the most influential theoretical framework from cognitive psychology in analysing the philosophically most prominent example of pernicious metaphorical reasoning, we identify a philosophically relevant but previously undescribed fallacy in analogical reasoning with metaphors. We then outline an explanation of why even competent thinkers commit this fallacy and obtain a psychologically informed ‘debunking’ explanation (...)
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  22. Eugen Fischer (2014). Paradox-Psychologie: Kognitive Epistemologie und philosophische Problemaufloesung. In Thomas Grundmann, Joachim Horvath & Jens Kipper (eds.), Die Experimentelle Philosophie in der Diskussion. Suhrkamp 322-349.
    Der Aufsatz stellt einen Strang der experimentellen Philosophie vor, der sich nicht mit empirischen Umfragen begnügt, sondern bemüht, psychologische Experimente und Erklärungen für die philosophische Arbeit nutzbar zu machen: Das prominent propagierte, aber bislang nur vereinzelt praktizierte Forschungsprogramm der kognitiven Epistemologie (alias ‚sources project‘) verwendet bereits vorliegende experimentelle und theoretische Ergebnisse der Kognitions- und Sozialpsychologie, um ihrerseits experimentell überprüfbare Erklärungen philosophisch relevanter Intuitionen zu entwickeln, die deren epistemologische Bewertung erlauben. Während die Diskussion in und um die experimentelle Philosophie sich bislang (...)
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  23. Eugen Fischer (2011). Philosophical Delusion and its Therapy: Outline of a Philosophical Revolution. Routledge.
    Philosophical Delusion and its Therapy provides new foundations and methods for the revolutionary project of philosophical therapy pioneered by Ludwig Wittgenstein. The book vindicates this currently much-discussed project by reconstructing the genesis of important philosophical problems: With the help of concepts adapted from cognitive linguistics and cognitive psychology, the book analyses how philosophical reflection is shaped by pictures and metaphors we are not aware of employing and are prone to misapply. Through innovative case-studies on the genesis of classical problems about (...)
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  24. Eugen Fischer (2009). Philosophical Pictures and Secondary Qualities. Synthese 171 (1):77 - 110.
    The paper presents a novel account of nature and genesis of some philosophical problems, which vindicates a new approach to an arguably central and extensive class of such problems: The paper develops the Wittgensteinian notion of ‘philosophical pictures’ with the help of some notions adapted from metaphor research in cognitive linguistics and from work on unintentional analogical reasoning in cognitive psychology. The paper shows that adherence to such pictures systematically leads to the formulation of unwarranted claims, ill-motivated problems, and pointless (...)
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  25. Eugen Fischer (2006). Philosophical Pictures. Synthese 148 (2):469 - 501.
    The paper develops a novel account of the nature and genesis of some philosophical problems, which motivates an unfamiliar form of philosophical criticism that was pioneered by the later Wittgenstein. To develop the account, the paper analyses two thematically linked sets of problems, namely problems about linguistic understanding: a set of problems Wittgenstein discusses in a core part of his Philosophical Investigations, and the ‘problem of linguistic creativity’ that is central to current philosophy of language. The paper argues that these (...)
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  26. Eugen Fischer & John Collins (eds.) (2015). Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and Naturalism: Rethinking Philosophical Method. Routledge.
    Experimental philosophy is one of the most exciting and controversial philosophical movements today. This book explores how it is reshaping thought about philosophical method. Experimental philosophy imports experimental methods and findings from psychology into philosophy. These fresh resources can be used to develop and defend both armchair methods and naturalist approaches, on an empirical basis. This outstanding collection brings together leading proponents of this new meta-philosophical naturalism, from within and beyond experimental philosophy. They explore how the empirical study of philosophically (...)
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  27. Bryan Frances (forthcoming). Justifying a Large Part of Philosophy. Think.
    I explain why research in non-applied, non-interdisciplinary, non-historical philosophy is worthwhile. The key move in the explanation is the realization that many philosophical problems can be put in the form of a set of highly plausible yet apparently jointly inconsistent claims regarding a fundamental notion.
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  28. Bryan Frances (2010). The Reflective Epistemic Renegade. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):419 - 463.
    Philosophers often find themselves in disagreement with contemporary philosophers they know full well to be their epistemic superiors on the topics relevant to the disagreement. This looks epistemically irresponsible. I offer a detailed investigation of this problem of the reflective epistemic renegade. I argue that although in some cases the renegade is not epistemically blameworthy, and the renegade situation is significantly less common than most would think, in a troublesome number of cases in which the situation arises the renegade is (...)
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  29. Danny Frederick, Defective Equilibrium.
    I argue that the conception of reflective equilibrium that is generally accepted in contemporary philosophy is defective and should be replaced with a conception of fruitful reflective disequilibrium which prohibits ad hoc manoeuvres, encourages new approaches, and eschews all justification in favour of continuous improvement. I show how the conception of fruitful disequilibrium can be applied to moral theory to encourage progress in moral knowledge if we make moral theory empirically testable.
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  30. Georgi Gardiner (2015). Normalcy and the Contents of Philosophical Judgements. Inquiry 58 (7-8):700-740.
    Thought experiments as counterexamples are a familiar tool in philosophy. Frequently understanding a vignette seems to generate a challenge to a target theory. In this paper I explore the content of the judgement that we have in response to these vignettes. I first introduce several competing proposals for the content of our judgement, and explain why they are inadequate. I then advance an alternative view. I argue that when we hear vignettes we consider the normal instances of the vignette. If (...)
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  31. Danko Georgiev (2013). Quantum No-Go Theorems and Consciousness. Axiomathes 23 (4):683-695.
    Our conscious minds exist in the Universe, therefore they should be identified with physical states that are subject to physical laws. In classical theories of mind, the mental states are identified with brain states that satisfy the deterministic laws of classical mechanics. This approach, however, leads to insurmountable paradoxes such as epiphenomenal minds and illusionary free will. Alternatively, one may identify mental states with quantum states realized within the brain and try to resolve the above paradoxes using the standard Hilbert (...)
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