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Experimental philosophy is a rather diverse movement, but at its core it involves the application of methods from the social and cognitive sciences to the study of philosophical cognition. We are learning important lessons about how our minds work and how we think about philosophical issues, and these insights are raising new concerns about philosophical methodology. The work collected here examines the philosophical foundations of this movement, as well as debates about the significance and merit of empirical work on philosophical cognition.

Introductions Joshua Alexander's Experimental Philosophy - An Introduction Joshua Knobe's "Experimental Philosophy" Joshua Knobe and Shaun Nichols' Experimental Philosophy, Vol.1 Joshua Knobe and Shaun Nichols' Experimental Philosophy, Vol.2 Joshua Knobe et al. "Experimental Philosophy"
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  1. Benedict M. Ashley (1952). Philosophy and the Experimental Sciences. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 26:185-194.
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  2. David Barnett (2010). On the Significance of Some Intuitions About the Mind. In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism. Oup Oxford.
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  3. 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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  4. Jerzy Brzezinski (ed.) (1994). Probability in Theory-Building: Experimental and Non-Experimental Approaches to Scientific Research in Psychology. Rodopi.
    Contents: Part I. Probability and the Idealizational Theory of Science. Marek GAUL: Statistical dependencies, statements and the idealizational theory of science. Part II. Probability - theoretical concepts in psychology - measurement. Douglas WAHLSTEN: Probability and the understanding of individual differences. Bodo KRAUSE: Modeling cognitive learning steps. Dieter HEYER, and Rainer MAUSFELD: A theoretical and experimental inquiry into the relation of theoretical concepts and probabilistic measurement scales in experimental psychology. Part III. Methods of data analysis. Tadeusz B. IWINSKI: Rough set methods (...)
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  5. Herman Cappelen (2014). Précis of Philosophy Without Intuitions. Philosophical Studies 171 (3):513-515.
    Philosophy without intuitions is in many ways a simple book. It has a simple guiding question:Guiding Question . Is it characteristic of philosophers that they rely on intuitions as evidence?The central thesis of the book is also simple: the answer to GQ is ‘No’. A corollary is that all the work that assumes a positive answer, e.g. experimental philosophy and what I call ‘methodological rationalism’, is based on a false assumption.For those familiar with the last 30 years of metaphilosophical debates, (...)
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  6. M. Deutsch (2010). Experimental Philosophy, Intuitions, and Counter-Examples. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1:447-460.
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  7. Eugen Fischer (forthcoming). Intuitions and Illusions: From Explanation and Experiment to Assessment. In Eugen Fischer & John Collins (eds.), Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and Naturalism. Rethinking Philosophical Method. Routledge. 259-292.
    This paper pioneers the use of methods and findings from psycholinguistics in experimental philosophy’s ‘sources project’. On this basis, it clarifies the epistemological relevance of empirical findings about intuitions – a key methodological challenge to experimental philosophy. The sources project (aka ‘cognitive epistemology of intuitions’) seeks to develop psychological explanations of philosophically relevant intuitions, which help us assess their evidentiary value. One approach seeks explanations which trace relevant intuitions back to automatic cognitive processes that are generally reliable but predictably generate (...)
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  8. 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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  9. Fran (2008). Experimental Philosophers, Conceptual Analysts, and the Rest of Us. Philosophical Explorations 11 (2):143 – 149.
    In an interesting recent exchange, Antti Kauppinen (2007) disagrees with Thomas Nadelhoffer and Eddy Nahmias (2007) over the prospects of experimental methods in philosophy. Kauppinen's critique of experimental philosophy is premised on an endorsement of a priori conceptual analysis. This premise has shaped the trajectory of their debate. In this note, I consider what foes of conceptual analysis will have to say about their exchange.
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  10. David J. Frost (2012). Book Review of Alexander, Joshua. Experimental Philosophy: An Introduction. Philosophia 40 (4):903-917.
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  11. David J. Frost (2012). Alexander, Joshua. Experimental Philosophy: An Introduction. Philosophia 40 (4):903-917.
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  12. Sven Ove Hansson (2014). Beyond “Experimental Philosophy”. Theoria 80 (1):1-3.
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  13. Alexander S. Harper (2012). An Oblique Epistemic Defence of Conceptual Analysis. Metaphilosophy 43 (3):235-256.
    This article argues, against contemporary experimentalist criticism, that conceptual analysis has epistemic value, with a structure that encourages the development of interesting hypotheses which are of the right form to be valuable in diverse areas of philosophy. The article shows, by analysis of the Gettier programme, that conceptual analysis shares the proofs and refutations form Lakatos identified in mathematics. Upon discovery of a counterexample, this structure aids the search for a replacement hypothesis. The search is guided by heuristics. The heuristics (...)
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  14. Péter Hartl (2011). Knowing Our Own Concepts: The Role of Intuitions in Philosophy. Organon F 18 (4):488-498.
    Empirical examinations about cross-cultural variability of intuitions, the well-known publication of Stich and his colleagues criticiz-ing thought-experiments and intuitions in philosophical debates, is still a challenge that faces analytical philosophers, as any systematic investigation of the methodology of philosophy must give answers to these basic questions: What is intuition? What role should intuitions play in philosophy? I present and examine the sceptical argument of experimental philosophers, and claim that experimental philosophers misunderstand the role of evidence in philosophy. My argument will (...)
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  15. Stephan Hartmann, Chiara Lisciandra & Edouard Machery (2013). Editorial: Formal Epistemology Meets Experimental Philosophy. [REVIEW] Synthese 190 (8):1333-1335.
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  16. Mark Heath (1952). Philosophy and the Experimental Sciences. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 26:50-53.
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  17. Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa (2013). Philosophy Without Intuitions. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 21 (1):111 - 116.
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  18. Richard Kamber (2011). Philosophy's Future as a Problem-Solving Discipline: The Promise of Experimental Philosophy. Essays in Philosophy 12 (2):7.
    Scientists often reach provisional agreement solutions to problems central to their disciplines, whereas philosophers do not. Although philosophy has been practiced by outstanding intellects for over two thousand years, philosophers have not reached agreement, provisional or otherwise, on the solution or dissolution of any central philosophical problem by philosophical methods. What about philosophy’s future? Until about 1970, philosophers were generally optimistic. Some pinned their hopes on revolution in methodology, others on reform of practice. The case for gradual reform still finds (...)
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  19. Ulrike Leopold-Wildburger (1994). Induction as a Connection Between Philosophy, Psychology and Economics: A Plea for Experimental Research. Grazer Philosophische Studien 49:175-188.
    It is the aim of this paper to find a systematic approach to the study of induction by integrating the ideas of several disciplines to have a successful instrument for analyzing processes of inference, learning and discovery. On the way to generalities which enable sensible forecasts the social and economic sciences use empirical work and nowadays we are encouraged to use more and more experimental access to investigate analogous situations. Induction is used as a fundamental concept and experimental work has (...)
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  20. Neil Levy (2013). 20 Intuitions and Experimental Philosophy: Comfortable Bedfellows. In Matthew C. Haug (ed.), Philosophical Methodology: The Armchair or the Laboratory? Routledge. 381.
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  21. Tania Lombrozo, Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (eds.) (2014). Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    The new interdisciplinary field of experimental philosophy has emerged as the methods of psychological science have been brought to bear on traditional philosophical issues. Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy will be the place to go to see outstanding new work in the field, by both philosophers and psychologists.
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  22. Ron Mallon & Shaun Nichols (2012). Philosophy: Traditional and Experimental Readings. Oup Usa.
    Recently, the fields of empirical and experimental philosophy have generated tremendous excitement, due to unexpected results that have challenged philosophical dogma. Responding to this trend, Philosophy: Traditional and Experimental Readings is the first introductory philosophy reader to integrate cutting-edge work in empirical and experimental philosophy with traditional philosophy. Featuring coverage that is equal parts historical, contemporary, and empirical/experimental, this topically organized reader provides students with a unique introduction to both the core and the vanguard of philosophy.
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  23. Edward A. Maziarz (1952). Philosophy and the Experimental Sciences. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 26:131-133.
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  24. John J. Pauson (1952). Philosophy and the Experimental Sciences. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 26:157-160.
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  25. Mark Phelan (2012). Experimental Philosophy as an Elephant. Philosophy Now 92:13-16.
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  26. Leo S. Schumacher (1952). Philosophy and the Experimental Sciences. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 26:61-65.
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  27. Vincent E. Smith (1952). Philosophy and the Experimental Sciences. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 26:35-50.
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  28. Ernest Sosa (2011). Can There Be a Discipline of Philosophy? And Can It Be Founded on Intuitions? Mind and Language 26 (4):453-467.
    This paper takes up the critique of armchair philosophy drawn by some experimental philosophers from survey results. It also takes up a more recent development with increased methodological sophistication. The argument based on disagreement among respondents suggests a much more serious problem for armchair philosophy and puts in question the standing of our would-be discipline.
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  29. Karola Stotz, Introduction to "Philosophy in the Trenches : From Naturalized to Experimental Philosophy (of Science)".
    Recent years have seen the development of an approach both to general philosophy and philosophy of science often referred to as ‘experimental philosophy’ or just ‘X-Phi’. Philosophers often make or presuppose empirical claims about how people would react to hypothetical cases, but their evidence for claims about what ‘we’ would say is usually very limited indeed. Philosophers of science have largely relied on their more or less intimate knowledge of their field of study to draw hypothetical conclusions about the state (...)
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  30. F. Suppe (1985). Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Experimental Social Science Research: Freeman, Mead, and the Objectivity of Non-Expérimental Research. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 66 (3-4):394.
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  31. Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.) (forthcoming). A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell.
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  32. Amie L. Thomasson (2012). Experimental Philosophy and the Methods of Ontology. The Monist 95 (2):175-199.
    Those working in experimental philosophy have raised a number of arguments against the use of conceptual analysis in philosophical inquiries. But they have typically focused on a model that pursues conceptual analysis by taking intuitions as a kind of (defeasible) evidence for philosophical hypotheses. Little attention has been given to the constitutivist alternative, which sees metaphysical modal facts as reflections of constitutive semantic rules. I begin with a brief overview of the constitutivist approach and argue that we can defend a (...)
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  33. Krist Vaesen, Martin Peterson & Bart Van Bezooijen (2013). The Reliability of Armchair Intuitions. Metaphilosophy 44 (5):559-578.
    Armchair philosophers have questioned the significance of recent work in experimental philosophy by pointing out that experiments have been conducted on laypeople and undergraduate students. To challenge a practice that relies on expert intuitions, so the armchair objection goes, one needs to demonstrate that expert intuitions rather than those of ordinary people are sensitive to contingent facts such as cultural, linguistic, socio-economic, or educational background. This article does exactly that. Based on two empirical studies on populations of 573 and 203 (...)
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  34. Chris Weigel (2009). Experimental Philosophy Is Here to Stay. Analyse and Kritik 31 (2).
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  35. Jonathan M. Weinberg, Joshua Alexander, Chad Gonnerman & Shane Reuter (2013). Restrictionism and Reflection: Challenge Deflected, or Simply Redirected? The Monist 95 (2):200-222.
    It has become increasingly popular to respond to experimental philosophy by suggesting that experimental philosophers haven’t been studying the right kind of thing. One version of this kind of response, which we call the reflection defense, involves suggesting both that philosophers are interested only in intuitions that are the product of careful reflection on the details of hypothetical cases and the key concepts involved in those cases, and that these kinds of philosophical intuitions haven’t yet been (and possibly cannot be) (...)
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  36. Timothy Williamson (2009). Replies to Kornblith, Jackson and Moore. Analysis 69 (1):125-135.
    My agreement with Hilary Kornblith goes deeper than any remaining disagreement. We agree that armchair methods have a legitimate place in philosophy, for instance in logic. We agree that appeals to experimental data also have a legitimate place in philosophy, for instance in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of time, and that those branches study mind and time themselves, not just our concepts of them. We agree that the proper balance between armchair and other methods cannot be fully (...)
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Critiques of Experimental Philosophy
  1. Joshua Alexander, Ronald Mallon & Jonathan M. Weinberg (2010). Accentuate the Negative. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):297-314.
    Our interest in this paper is to drive a wedge of contention between two different programs that fall under the umbrella of “experimental philosophy”. In particular, we argue that experimental philosophy’s “negative program” presents almost as significant a challenge to its “positive program” as it does to more traditional analytic philosophy.
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  2. James Andow (forthcoming). Thin, Fine and with Sensitivity: A Metamethodology of Intuitions. Review of Philosophy and Psychology.
    Do philosophers use intuitions? Should philosophers use intuitions? Can philosophical methods (where intuitions are concerned) be improved upon? In order to answer these questions we need to have some idea of how we should go about answering them. I defend a way of going about methodology of intuitions: a metamethodology. I claim the following: (i) we should approach methodological questions about intuitions with a thin conception of intuitions in mind; (ii) we should carve intuitions finely; and, (iii) we should carve (...)
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  3. Gerald Beaulieu (2009). Sinnott-Armstrong's Moral Skepticism: A Murdochian Response. Dialogue 48 (03):673-678.
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has recently criticized moral intuitionism by bringing to light some compelling empirical evidence indicating that we are unreliable at forming moral judgments non-inferentially. The evidence shows that our non-inferentially arrived-at moral convictions are subject to framing effects; that is, they vary depending on how the situation judged is described. Thomas Nadelhoffer and Adam Feltz, following in Sinnott-Armstrong's footsteps, have appealed to research indicating that such judgments are also subject to actor-observer bias; that is, they vary depending on whether (...)
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  4. John Bengson (2013). Experimental Attacks on Intuitions and Answers. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):495-532.
  5. Gunnar Björnsson & Derk Pereboom (forthcoming). Traditional and Experimental Approaches to Free Will and Moral Responsibility. In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell.
    Examines the relevance of empirical studies of responsibility judgments for traditional philosophical concerns about free will and moral responsibility. We argue that experimental philosophy is relevant to the traditional debates, but that setting up experiments and interpreting data in just the right way is no less difficult than negotiating traditional philosophical arguments. Both routes are valuable, but so far neither promises a way to secure significant agreement among the competing parties. To illustrate, we focus on three sorts of issues. For (...)
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  6. Wesley Buckwalter (2014). Intuition Fail: Philosophical Activity and the Limits of Expertise. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2).
    Experimental philosophers have empirically challenged the connection between intuition and philosophical expertise. This paper reviews these challenges alongside other research findings in cognitive science on expert performance and argues for three claims. First, evidence taken to challenge philosophical expertise may also be explained by the well-researched failures and limitations of genuine expertise. Second, studying the failures and limitations of experts across many fields provides a promising research program upon which to base a new model of philosophical expertise. Third, a model (...)
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  7. Wesley Buckwalter, Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols, N. Ángel Pinillos, Philip Robbins, Hagop Sarkissian, Chris Weigel & Jonathan M. Weinberg (2012). Experimental Philosophy. Oxford Bibliographies Online (1):81-92.
    Bibliography of works in experimental philosophy.
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  8. Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma (forthcoming). General Introduction to Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy. In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Wiley.
  9. Herman Cappelen (forthcoming). X-Phi Without Intuitions? In Anthony Robert Booth & Darrell P. Rowbottom (eds.), Intuitions.
    One central purpose of Experimental Philosophy (hereafter, x-phi) is to criticize the alleged reliance on intuitions in contemporary philosophy. In my book Philosophy without Intuitions (hereafter, PWI), I argue that philosophers don’t rely on intuitions. If those arguments are good, experimental philosophy has been engaged in an attack on a strawman. The goal of this paper is to bolster the criticism of x-phi in the light of responses.
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  10. 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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  11. Max Deutsch (2010). Intuitions, Counter-Examples, and Experimental Philosophy. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3):447-460.
    Practitioners of the new ‘experimental philosophy’ have collected data that appear to show that some philosophical intuitions are culturally variable. Many experimental philosophers take this to pose a problem for a more traditional, ‘armchair’ style of philosophizing. It is argued that this is a mistake that derives from a false assumption about the character of philosophical methods; neither philosophy nor its methods have anything to fear from cultural variability in philosophical intuitions.
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  12. 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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  13. Billy Dunaway, Anna Edmonds & David Manley (2013). The Folk Probably Do Think What You Think They Think. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):421-441.
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  14. Renia Gasparatou (2010). Experimental Appeals to Intuition. Critica 42 (124):31-50.
    Today, experimental philosophers challenge traditional appeals to intu- ition; they empirically collect folk intuitions and then use their findings to attack philosophers’ intuitions. However this movement is not uniform. Radical experi- mentalists criticize the use of intuitions in philosophy altogether and they have been mostly attacked. Contrariwise, moderate experimentalists imply that laypersons’ in- tuitions are somehow relevant to philosophical problems. Sometimes they even use folk intuitions in order to advance theoretical theses. In this paper I will try to challenge the (...)
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