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Experimental philosophy is an exciting and controversial approach to philosophy, calling on empirical methods to cast light on philosophical issues. Empirical methods have been brought to bear on a wide range of topics in philosophy, including a number of topics in philosophy of language. Most central amongst these is work considering theories of reference.  

Key works The central work in experimental philosophy of reference is Machery et al 2004. See also their follow-up in Mallon et al 2009, and a number of important responses (including Deutsch 2009, Devitt 2011, Sytsma & Livengood 2011). Important work has been done on other topics in philosophy of language as well, including the work by Pietroski et al 2009, Phelan 2010, Leslie et al 2011, and Genone & Lombrozo 2012, amongst others.
Introductions Genone 2012; see also the chapters by Machery and Martí in Machery & O'Neill 2014.
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  1. Henry Jackman (2009). Semantic Intuitions, Conceptual Analysis, and Cross-Cultural Variation. Philosophical Studies 146 (2):159 - 177.
    While philosophers of language have traditionally relied upon their intuitions about cases when developing theories of reference, this methodology has recently been attacked on the grounds that intuitions about reference, far from being universal, show significant cultural variation, thus undermining their relevance for semantic theory. I’ll attempt to demonstrate that (1) such criticisms do not, in fact, undermine the traditional philosophical methodology, and (2) our underlying intuitions about the nature of reference may be more universal than the authors suppose.
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Experimental Philosophy: Reference
  1. James Andow (2014). Intuitions, Disagreement and Referential Pluralism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):223-239.
    Mallon, Machery, Nichols and Stich (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79: 332–356, 2009) argue that the use of intuitions in the philosophy of reference is problematic as recent studies show intuitions about reference vary both within and between cultures. I use some ideas from the recent literature on disagreement and truth relativism to shed light on the debate concerning the appropriate reaction to these studies. Mallon et al. argue that variation is problematic because if one tries to use intuitions which vary (...)
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  2. James R. Beebe & Ryan J. Undercoffer (2015). Moral Valence and Semantic Intuitions. Erkenntnis 80 (2):445-466.
    Despite the swirling tide of controversy surrounding the work of Machery et al. , the cross-cultural differences they observed in semantic intuitions about the reference of proper names have proven to be robust. In the present article, we report cross-cultural and individual differences in semantic intuitions obtained using new experimental materials. In light of the pervasiveness of the Knobe effect and the fact that Machery et al.’s original materials incorporated elements of wrongdoing but did not control for their influence, we (...)
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  3. Daniel Cohnitz & Jussi Haukioja (forthcoming). Intuitions in Philosophical Semantics. Erkenntnis:1-25.
    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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  4. Daniel Cohnitz & Jussi Haukioja (2013). Meta-Externalism Vs Meta-Internalism in the Study of Reference. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):475-500.
    We distinguish and discuss two different accounts of the subject matter of theories of reference, meta-externalism and meta-internalism. We argue that a form of the meta- internalist view, “moderate meta-internalism”, is the most plausible account of the subject matter of theories of reference. In the second part of the paper we explain how this account also helps to answer the questions of what kind of concept reference is, and what role intuitions have in the study of the reference relation.
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  5. Max Deutsch (2009). Experimental Philosophy and the Theory of Reference. Mind and Language 24 (4):445-466.
    It is argued on a variety of grounds that recent results in 'experimental philosophy of language', which appear to show that there are significant cross-cultural differences in intuitions about the reference of proper names, do not pose a threat to a more traditional mode of philosophizing about reference. Some of these same grounds justify a complaint about experimental philosophy as a whole.
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  6. Michael Devitt (2012). Semantic Epistemology: Response to Machery. Theoria 27 (2):229-233.
    Machery argues: (1) that “philosophers’ intuitions about reference are not more reliable than lay people’s —if anything, they are probably worse”; (2) that “intuitions about the reference of proper names and uses of proper names provide equally good evidence for theories of reference”. (1) lacks theoretical and empirical support. (2) cannot be right because usage provides the evidence that intuitions are reliable.
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  7. Michael Devitt (2012). Whither Experimental Semantics? Theoria 27 (1):5-36.
    The main goal of the paper is to propose a methodology for the theory of reference in which experiments feature prominently. These experiments should primarily test linguistic usage rather than the folk’s referential intuitions. The proposed methodology urges the use of: (A) philosophers’ referential intuitions, both informally and, occasionally, scientifically gathered; (B) the corpus, both informally and scientifically gathered; (C) elicited production; and, occasionally, (D) folk’s referential intuitions. The most novel part of this is (C) and that is where most (...)
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  8. Michael Devitt (2011). Experimental Semantics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):418 - 435.
    In their delightfully provocative paper, “Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style,” Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, and Stephen Stich (2004),[1] make several striking claims about theories of reference. First, they claim: (I) Philosophical views about reference “are assessed by consulting one’s intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations” (p. B1). This claim is prompted by their observations of the role of intuitions in Saul Kripke’s refutation of the descriptivist view of proper names in favor of a causal-historical view (1980). The (...)
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  9. Brian Flanagan (2014). Rereading the Kripkean Intuition on Reference. Metaphilosophy 45 (1):87-95.
    Saul Kripke's thought experiments on the reference of proper names target the theory that the properties which identify a term's referent are the subject of an implicit agreement. Recently, survey versions of the experiments have been thought to show that intuitions about reference are culturally contingent. Proposing a revisionary interpretation, this article argues, first, that Kripke's Cicero/Feynman experiment reveals that every name user knows enough to be capable of identifying the same individual as the name's most informed users. Second, the (...)
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  10. James Genone (2012). Theories of Reference and Experimental Philosophy. Philosophy Compass 7 (2):152-163.
    In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong claims (...)
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  11. James Genone & Tania Lombrozo (2012). Concept Possession, Experimental Semantics, and Hybrid Theories of Reference. Philosophical Psychology 25 (5):1-26.
    Contemporary debates about the nature of semantic reference have tended to focus on two competing approaches: theories which emphasize the importance of descriptive information associated with a referring term, and those which emphasize causal facts about the conditions under which the use of the term originated and was passed on. Recent empirical work by Machery and colleagues suggests that both causal and descriptive information can play a role in judgments about the reference of proper names, with findings of cross-cultural variation (...)
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  12. Christopher Grau & Cynthia Pury (2014). Attitudes Towards Reference and Replaceability. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):155-168.
    Robert Kraut has proposed an analogy between valuing a loved one as irreplaceable and the sort of “rigid” attachment that (according to Saul Kripke’s account) occurs with the reference of proper names. We wanted to see if individuals with Kripkean intuitions were indeed more likely to value loved ones (and other persons and things) as irreplaceable. In this empirical study, 162 participants completed an online questionnaire asking them to consider how appropriate it would be to feel the same way about (...)
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  13. Nat Hansen, Experimental Philosophy of Language. Oxford Handbooks Online.
    Experimental philosophy of language uses experimental methods developed in the cognitive sciences to investigate topics of interest to philosophers of language. This article describes the methodological background for the development of experimental approaches to topics in philosophy of language, distinguishes negative and positive projects in experimental philosophy of language, and evaluates experimental work on the reference of proper names and natural kind terms. The reliability of expert judgments vs. the judgments of ordinary speakers, the role that ambiguity plays in influencing (...)
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  14. Jussi Jylkk (2009). Psychological Essentialism and Semantic Externalism: Evidence for Externalism in Lay Speakers' Language Use. Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):37 – 60.
    Some experimental studies have recently claimed to undermine semantic externalism about natural kind terms. However, it is unclear how philosophical accounts of reference can be experimentally tested. We present two externalistic adaptations of psychological placeholder essentialism, a strict externalist and a hybrid externalist view, which are experimentally testable. We examine Braisby, Franks, and Hampton's (1996) study which claims to undermine externalism, and argue that the study fails in its aims. We conducted two experiments, the results of which undermine internalism and (...)
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  15. Barry Lam (2010). Are Cantonese Speakers Really Descriptivists? Revisiting Cross-Cultural Semantics. Cognition 115 (2):320–32.
    In an article in Cognition, Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich [Machery et al., 2004] present data which purports to show that “East Asian” native Cantonese speakers tend to have descriptivist intuitions about the referents of proper names, while “Western” native English speakers tend to have causal-historical intuitions about proper names. Machery et al take this finding to support the view that some intuitions, the universality of which they claim is central to philosophical theories, vary according to cultural background. Machery et (...)
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  16. Edouard Machery (2012). Expertise and Intuitions About Reference. Theoria 27 (1):37-54.
    Many philosophers hold that experts’ semantic intuitions are more reliable and provide better evidence than lay people’s intuitions—a thesis commonly called “the Expertise Defense.” Focusing on the intuitions about the reference of proper names, this article critically assesses the Expertise Defense.
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  17. Edouard Machery (2012). Semantic Epistemology: A Brief Response to Devitt. Theoria 27 (2):223-227.
    In this article, I argue that philosophers’ intuitions about reference are not more reliable than lay people’s and that intuitions about the reference of proper names and uses of proper names provide equally good evidence for theories of reference.
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  18. Edouard Machery, Max Deutsch, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, Justin Sytsma & Stephen Stich (2010). Semantic Intuitions: Reply to Lam. Cognition 117 (3):363-366.
  19. Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich (2004). Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style. Cognition 92 (3):1-12.
    Theories of reference have been central to analytic philosophy, and two views, the descriptivist view of reference and the causal-historical view of reference, have dominated the field. In this research tradition, theories of reference are assessed by consulting one’s intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations. However, recent work in cultural psychology (e.g., Nisbett et al. 2001) has shown systematic cognitive differences between East Asians and Westerners, and some work indicates that this extends to intuitions about philosophical cases (...)
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  20. Edouard Machery, Christopher Y. Olivola & Molly de Blanc (2009). Linguistic and Metalinguistic Intuitions in the Philosophy of Language. Analysis 69 (4):689 - 694.
    Machery et al. reported some preliminary evidence that intuitions about reference vary within and across cultures, and they argued that if real, such variation would have significant philosophical implications . In a recent article, Genoveva Martí argues that the type of intuitions examined by Machery and colleagues is evidentially irrelevant for identifying the correct theory of reference, and she concludes that the variation in the relevant intuitions about reference within and across cultures has not been established.To substantiate this criticism, Martí (...)
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  21. Edouard Machery, Christopher Y. Olivola & Molly De Blanc (2009). Linguistic and Metalinguistic Intuitions in the Philosophy of Language. Analysis 69 (4):689-694.
    Machery et al. (2004) reported some preliminary evidence that intuitions about reference vary within and across cultures, and they argued that if real, such variation would have significant philosophical implications (see also Mallon et al. 2009). In a recent article, Genoveva Martı´ (2009) argues that the type of intuitions examined by Machery and colleagues (‘metalin- 10 guistic intuitions’) is evidentially irrelevant for identifying the correct theory of reference, and she concludes that the variation in the relevant intuitions about reference within (...)
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  22. Ishani Maitra, Brian Weatherson & Jonathan Ichikawa (2012). In Defense of a Kripkean Dogma. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):56-68.
    In “Against Arguments from Reference” (Mallon et al., 2009), Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols, and Stephen Stich (hereafter, MMNS) argue that recent experiments concerning reference undermine various philosophical arguments that presuppose the correctness of the causal-historical theory of reference. We will argue three things in reply. First, the experiments in question—concerning Kripke’s Gödel/Schmidt example—don’t really speak to the dispute between descriptivism and the causal-historical theory; though the two theories are empirically testable, we need to look at quite different data (...)
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  23. Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich (2009). Against Arguments From Reference. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):332 - 356.
    It is common in various quarters of philosophy to derive philosophically significant conclusions from theories of reference. In this paper, we argue that philosophers should give up on such 'arguments from reference.' Intuitions play a central role in establishing theories of reference, and recent cross-cultural work suggests that intuitions about reference vary across cultures and between individuals within a culture (Machery et al. 2004). We argue that accommodating this variation within a theory of reference undermines arguments from reference.
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  24. Jeffrey Maynes (2015). Interpreting Intuition: Experimental Philosophy of Language. Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):260-278.
    The role of intuition in Kripke's arguments for the causal-historical theory of reference has been a topic of recent debate, particularly in light of empirical work on these intuitions. In this paper, I develop three interpretations of the role intuition might play in Kripke's arguments. The first aim of this exercise is to help clarify the options available to interpreters of Kripke, and the consequences for the experimental investigation of Kripkean intuitions. The second aim is to show that understanding the (...)
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  25. Jeffrey Maynes & Steven Gross (2013). Linguistic Intuitions. Philosophy Compass 8 (8):714-730.
    Linguists often advert to what are sometimes called linguistic intuitions. These intuitions and the uses to which they are put give rise to a variety of philosophically interesting questions: What are linguistic intuitions – for example, what kind of attitude or mental state is involved? Why do they have evidential force and how might this force be underwritten by their causal etiology? What light might their causal etiology shed on questions of cognitive architecture – for example, as a case study (...)
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  26. Gary Ostertag (2013). The 'Gödel' Effect. Philosophical Studies 166 (1):65-82.
    In their widely discussed paper, “Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style”, Machery et al. argue that Kripke’s Gödel–Schmidt case, generally thought to undermine the description theory of names, rests on culturally variable intuitions: while Western subjects’ intuitions conflict with the description theory of names, those of East Asian subjects do not. Machery et al. attempt to explain this discrepancy by appealing to differences between Western and East Asian modes of categorization, as identified in an influential study by Nisbett et al. I claim that (...)
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  27. Justin Sytsma & Jonathan Livengood (2011). A New Perspective Concerning Experiments on Semantic Intuitions. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):315-332.
    Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich [2004; forthcoming] use experimental methods to raise a spectre of doubt about reliance on intuitions in developing theories of reference which are then deployed in philosophical arguments outside the philosophy of language. Machery et al. ran a cross-cultural survey asking Western and East Asian participants about a famous case from the philosophical literature on reference (Kripke's G del example). They interpret their results as indicating that there is significant variation in participants' intuitions about semantic reference (...)
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  28. Justin Sytsma, Jonathan Livengood, Ryoji Sato & Mineki Oguchi (2015). Reference in the Land of the Rising Sun: A Cross-Cultural Study on the Reference of Proper Names. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (2):213-230.
    A standard methodology in philosophy of language is to use intuitions as evidence. Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich challenged this methodology with respect to theories of reference by presenting empirical evidence that intuitions about one prominent example from the literature on the reference of proper names vary between Westerners and East Asians. In response, Sytsma and Livengood conducted experiments to show that the questions Machery and colleagues asked participants in their study were ambiguous, and that this ambiguity affected the responses (...)
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Experimental Philosophy: Semantics
  1. Amanda Brandone, Andrei Cimpian, Sarah-Jane Leslie & Susan Gelman (2012). Do Lions Have Manes? For Children, Generics Are About Kinds, Not Quantities. Child Development 83:423-433.
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  2. Justin Bruner, Cailin O’Connor, Hannah Rubin & Simon M. Huttegger (forthcoming). David Lewis in the Lab: Experimental Results on the Emergence of Meaning. Synthese:1-19.
    In this paper we use an experimental approach to investigate how linguistic conventions can emerge in a society without explicit agreement. As a starting point we consider the signaling game introduced by Lewis (Convention 1969). We find that in experimental settings, small groups can quickly develop conventions of signal meaning in these games. We also investigate versions of the game where the theoretical literature indicates that meaning will be less likely to arise—when there are more than two states for actors (...)
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  3. Emmanuel Chemla, Vincent Homer & Daniel Rothschild (2011). Modularity and Intuitions in Formal Semantics: The Case of Polarity Items. Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (6):537-570.
    Linguists often sharply distinguish the different modules that support linguistics competence, e.g., syntax, semantics, pragmatics. However, recent work has identified phenomena in syntax (polarity sensitivity) and pragmatics (implicatures), which seem to rely on semantic properties (monotonicity). We propose to investigate these phenomena and their connections as a window into the modularity of our linguistic knowledge. We conducted a series of experiments to gather the relevant syntactic, semantic and pragmatic judgments within a single paradigm. The comparison between these quantitative data leads (...)
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  4. Emmanuel Chemla & Philippe Schlenker (2012). Incremental Vs. Symmetric Accounts of Presupposition Projection: An Experimental Approach. Natural Language Semantics 20 (2):177-226.
    The presupposition triggered by an expression E is generally satisfied by information that comes before rather than after E in the sentence or discourse. In Heim’s classic theory (1983), this left-right asymmetry is encoded in the lexical semantics of dynamic connectives and operators. But several recent analyses offer a more nuanced approach, in which presupposition satisfaction has two separate components: a general principle (which varies from theory to theory) specifies under what conditions a presupposition triggered by an expression E is (...)
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  5. Jennifer Culbertson & Steven Gross (2009). Are Linguists Better Subjects? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):721-736.
    Who are the best subjects for judgment tasks intended to test grammatical hypotheses? Michael Devitt ( [2006a] , [2006b] ) argues, on the basis of a hypothesis concerning the psychology of such judgments, that linguists themselves are. We present empirical evidence suggesting that the relevant divide is not between linguists and non-linguists, but between subjects with and without minimally sufficient task-specific knowledge. In particular, we show that subjects with at least some minimal exposure to or knowledge of such tasks tend (...)
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  6. Brian D. Earp (2012). The Extinction of Masculine Generics. Journal for Communication and Culture 2 (1):4-19.
    In English, as in many other languages, male-gendered pronouns are sometimes used to refer not only to men, but to individuals whose gender is unknown or unspecified, to human beings in general (as in ―mankind‖) and sometimes even to females (as when the casual ―Hey guys‖ is spoken to a group of women). These so-called he/man or masculine generics have come under fire in recent decades for being sexist, even archaic, and positively harmful to women and girls; and advocates of (...)
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  7. Paul Egré & Florian Cova (forthcoming). Moral Asymmetries and the Semantics of Many. Semantics and Pragmatics.
    We present the results of four experiments concerning the evaluation people make of sentences involving “many”, showing that two sentences of the form “many As are Bs” vs. “many As are Cs” need not be equivalent when evaluated relative to a background in which B and C have the same cardinality and proportion to A, but in which B and C are predicates with opposite semantic and affective values. The data provide evidence that subjects lower the standard relevant to ascribe (...)
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  8. Paul Egré, Vincent de Gardelle & David Ripley (2013). Vagueness and Order Effects in Color Categorization. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 22 (4):391-420.
    This paper proposes an experimental investigation of the use of vague predicates in dynamic sorites. We present the results of two studies in which subjects had to categorize colored squares at the borderline between two color categories (Green vs. Blue, Yellow vs. Orange). Our main aim was to probe for hysteresis in the ordered transitions between the respective colors, namely for the longer persistence of the initial category. Our main finding is a reverse phenomenon of enhanced contrast (i.e. negative hysteresis), (...)
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  9. A. J. B. Fugard, Niki Pfeifer, B. Mayerhofer & G. D. Kleiter (2011). How People Interpret Conditionals: Shifts Towards the Conditional Event. Journal of Experimental Psychology 37 (3):635-648.
    We investigated how people interpret conditionals and how stable their interpretation is over a long series of trials. Participants were shown the colored patterns on each side of a six-sided die, and were asked how sure they were that a conditional holds of the side landing upwards when the die is randomly thrown. Participants were presented with 71 trials consisting of all combinations of binary dimensions of shape (e.g., circles and squares) and color (e.g., blue and red) painted onto the (...)
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  10. A. J. B. Fugard, Niki Pfeifer, B. Mayerhofer & G. D. Kleiter (2009). How People Interpret an Uncertain If. In T. Kroupa & J. Vejnarova (eds.), Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Uncertainty Processing. 80-91.
    Conditionals are central to inference. Before people can draw inferences about a natural language conditional, they must interpret its meaning. We investigated interpretation of uncertain conditionals using a probabilistic truth table task, focussing on (i) conditional event, (ii) material conditional, and (iii) conjunction interpretations. The order of object (shape) and feature (color) in each conditional's antecedent and consequent was varied between participants. The conditional event was the dominant interpretation, followed by conjunction, and took longer to process than conjunction (mean di (...)
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  11. Joseph S. Fulda (2006). Abstracts From Logic Form: An Experimental Study of the Nexus Between Language and Logic I. Journal of Pragmatics 38 (5):778-807.
    See the abstract for the "Abstracts from Logical Form II".
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  12. Joseph S. Fulda (2006). Abstracts From Logical Form: An Experimental Study of the Nexus Between Language and Logic II. Journal of Pragmatics 38 (6):925-943.
    This experimental study provides further support for a theory of meaning first put forward by Bar-Hillel and Carnap in 1953 and foreshadowed by Asimov in 1951. The theory is the Popperian notion that the meaningfulness of a proposition is its a priori falsity. We tested this theory in the first part of this paper by translating to logical form a long, tightly written, published text and computed the meaningfulness of each proposition using the a priori falsity measure. We then selected (...)
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  13. Nat Hansen, Experimental Philosophy of Language. Oxford Handbooks Online.
    Experimental philosophy of language uses experimental methods developed in the cognitive sciences to investigate topics of interest to philosophers of language. This article describes the methodological background for the development of experimental approaches to topics in philosophy of language, distinguishes negative and positive projects in experimental philosophy of language, and evaluates experimental work on the reference of proper names and natural kind terms. The reliability of expert judgments vs. the judgments of ordinary speakers, the role that ambiguity plays in influencing (...)
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  14. Nat Hansen (2013). A Slugfest of Intuitions: Contextualism and Experimental Design. Synthese 190 (10):1771-1792.
    This paper considers ways that experimental design can affect judgments about informally presented context shifting experiments. Reasons are given to think that judgments about informal context shifting experiments are affected by an exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments and by experimenter bias. Exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments may produce experimental artifacts by obscuring important differences of degree between the phenomena being investigated. Experimenter bias is an effect generated when, for example, experimenters disclose (even unconsciously) their own beliefs (...)
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  15. Nat Hansen & Emmanuel Chemla (forthcoming). Linguistic Experiments and Ordinary Language Philosophy. Ratio.
    J.L. Austin is regarded as having an especially acute ear for fine distinctions of meaning overlooked by other philosophers. Austin employed an informal experimental approach to gathering evidence in support of these fine distinctions in meaning, an approach that has become a standard technique for investigating meaning in both philosophy and linguistics. In this paper, we subject Austin’s methods to formal experimental investigation. His methods produce mixed results: We find support for his most famous distinction, drawn on the basis of (...)
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  16. Nat Hansen & Emmanuel Chemla (2013). Experimenting on Contextualism. Mind and Language 28 (3):286-321.
    This paper concerns the central method of generating evidence in support of contextualist theories, what we call context shifting experiments. We begin by explaining the standard design of context shifting experiments, which are used in both quantitative surveys and more traditional thought experiments to show how context affects the content of natural language expressions. We discuss some recent experimental studies that have tried and failed to find evidence that confirms contextualist predictions about the results of context shifting experiments, and consider (...)
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  17. Joshua Knobe, Sandeep Prasada & George Newman (2013). Dual Character Concepts and the Normative Dimension of Conceptual Representation. Cognition 127 (2):242-257.
    Five experiments provide evidence for a class of ‘dual character concepts.’ Dual character concepts characterize their members in terms of both (a) a set of concrete features and (b) the abstract values that these features serve to realize. As such, these concepts provide two bases for evaluating category members and two different criteria for category membership. Experiment 1 provides support for the notion that dual character concepts have two bases for evaluation. Experiments 2-4 explore the claim that dual character concepts (...)
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  18. Joshua Knobe & Seth Yalcin (2014). Epistemic Modals and Context: Experimental Data. Semantics and Pragmatics 7 (10):1-21.
    Recently, a number of theorists (MacFarlane (2003, 2011), Egan et al. (2005), Egan (2007), Stephenson (2007a,b)) have argued that an adequate semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals calls for some technical notion of relativist truth and/or relativist content. Much of this work has relied on an empirical thesis about speaker judgments, namely that competent speakers tend to judge a present-tense bare epistemic possibility claim true only if the prejacent is compatible with their information. Relativists have in particular appealed to judgments (...)
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  19. Sarah-Jane Leslie & Susan Gelman (2012). Quantified Statements Are Recalled as Generics: Evidence From Preschool Children and Adults. Cognitive Psychology 64 (186):214.
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  20. Sarah-Jane Leslie, Sangeet Khemlani & Sam Glucksberg (2011). All Ducks Lay Eggs: The Generic Overgeneralization Effect. Journal of Memory and Language 65:15-31.
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  21. Shen-yi Liao & Aaron Meskin (forthcoming). Aesthetic Adjectives: Experimental Semantics and Context-Sensitivity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    One aim of this paper is to make a contribution to understanding aesthetic communication—the process by which agents aim to convey thoughts and transmit knowledge about aesthetic matters to others. Our focus will be on the use of aesthetic adjectives in aesthetic communication. Although theorists working on the semantics of adjectives have developed sophisticated theories about gradable adjectives, they have tended to avoid studying aesthetic adjectives—the class of adjectives that play a central role in expressing aesthetic evaluations (e.g., ‘beautiful’, ‘ugly’, (...)
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