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  1. Maria Alvarez (2009). Actions, Thought-Experiments and the 'Principle of Alternate Possibilities'. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):61 – 81.
    In 1969 Harry Frankfurt published his hugely influential paper 'Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility' in which he claimed to present a counterexample to the so-called 'Principle of Alternate Possibilities' ('a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise'). The success of Frankfurt-style cases as counterexamples to the Principle has been much debated since. I present an objection to these cases that, in questioning their conceptual cogency, undercuts many of those debates. Such cases (...)
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  2. Andre M. Archie (2010). The Anatomy of Three Thought Experiments in Plato's Republic, Apology, and Alcibiades Minor. Journal of Philosophical Research 35:305-321.
    I argue that Plato’s use of thought experiments anticipate many of the themes discussed by Thomas S. Kuhn’s classic essay, “A Function for Thought Experiments.” Kuhn’s concern is that thought experiments satisfy the condition of verisimilitude. That is, thought experiments must not be conducted merely to alter the conceptual apparatus of the scientist regarding the phenomenon explored, but rather to alter the scientist’s conceptual apparatus for the sake of altering his actions (i.e., practical rationality). Plato, too, is quite concerned with (...)
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  3. Richard Arthur (1999). On Thought Experiments as a Priori Science. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (3):215 – 229.
    Against Norton's claim that all thought experiments can be reduced to explicit arguments, I defend Brown's position that certain thought experiments yield a priori knowledge. They do this, I argue, not by allowing us to perceive “Platonic universals” (Brown), even though they may contain non-propositional components that are epistemically indispensable, but by helping to identify certain tacit presuppositions or “natural interpretations” (Feyerabend's term) that lead to a contradiction when the phenomenon is described in terms of them, and by suggesting a (...)
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  4. David Atkinson (2007). On Poor and Not so Poor Thought Experiments. A Reply to Daniel Cohnitz. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (1):159 - 161.
    We have never entirely agreed with Daniel Cohnitz on the status and rôle of thought experiments. Several years ago, enjoying a splendid lunch together in the city of Ghent, we cheerfully agreed to disagree on the matter; and now that Cohnitz has published his considered opinion of our views, we are glad that we have the opportunity to write a rejoinder and to explicate some of our disagreements. We choose not to deal here with all the issues that Cohnitz raises, (...)
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  5. David Atkinson (2003). Experiments and Thought Experiments in Natural Science. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 232:209-226.
    My theme is thought experiment in natural science, and its relation to real experiment. I shall defend the thesis that thought experiments that do not lead to theorizing and to a real experiment are generally of much less value that those that do so. To illustrate this thesis I refer to three examples, from three very different periods, and with three very different kinds of status. The first is the classic thought experiment in which Galileo imagined that he had, by (...)
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  6. David Atkinson (2003). When Are Thought Experiments Poor Ones? Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 34 (2):305 - 322.
    A characteristic of contemporary analytic philosophy is its ample use of thought experiments. We formulate two features that can lead one to suspect that a given thought experiment is a poor one. Although these features are especially in evidence within the philosophy of mind, they can, surprisingly enough, also be discerned in some celebrated scientific thought experiments. Yet in the latter case the consequences appear to be less disastrous. We conclude that the use of thought experiments is more successful in (...)
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  7. Julian Baggini (2008). The Duck That Won the Lottery: 100 New Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher. Plume.
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  8. Julian Baggini (2006). The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher. Plume.
    Both entertaining and startling, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten offers one hundred philosophical puzzles that stimulate thought on a host of moral, social, and personal dilemmas. Taking examples from sources as diverse as Plato and Steven Spielberg, author Julian Baggini presents abstract philosophical issues in concrete terms, suggesting possible solutions while encouraging readers to draw their own conclusions: Lively, clever, and thought-provoking, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten is a portable feast for the mind that is sure (...)
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  9. Julian Baggini (2005). The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: And Ninety-Nine Other Thought Experiments. Granta.
    This book includes experiments that cover identity, religion, art, ethics, language, knowledge and more.
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  10. Magdalena Balcerak Jackson (2013). Conceptual Analysis and Epistemic Progress. Synthese 190 (15):3053-3074.
    This essay concerns the question of how we make genuine epistemic progress through conceptual analysis. Our way into this issue will be through consideration of the paradox of analysis. The paradox challenges us to explain how a given statement can make a substantive contribution to our knowledge, even while it purports merely to make explicit what one’s grasp of the concept under scrutiny consists in. The paradox is often treated primarily as a semantic puzzle. However, in “Sect. 1” I argue (...)
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  11. Simon Beck (2011). Can Parables Work? Philosophy and Theology 23 (1):149-165.
    While theories about interpreting biblical and other parables have long realised the importance of readers’ responses to the topic, recent results in social psychology concerning systematic self-deception raise unforeseen problems. In this paper I first set out some of the problems these results pose for the authority of fictional thought-experiments in moral philosophy. I then consider the suggestion that biblical parables face the same problems and as a result cannot work as devices for moral or religious instruction in the way (...)
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  12. Simon Beck (2006). These Bizarre Fictions: Thought-Experiments, Our Psychology and Our Selves. Philosophical Papers 35 (1):29-54.
    Philosophers have traditionally used thought-experiments in their endeavours to find a satisfactory account of the self and personal identity. Yet there are considerations from empirical psychology as well as related ones from philosophy itself that appear to completely undermine the method of thought-experiment. This paper focuses on both sets of considerations and attempts a defence of the method.
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  13. Simon Beck (1992). The Method of Possible Worlds. Metaphilosophy 23 (1-2):119-131.
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  14. Simon Beck (1989). Parfit and the Russians (Personal Identity and Moral Concepts). Analysis 49 (4):205-209.
  15. A. Benejam (2003). Thought Experiments and Semantic Competence. In Maria J. Frapolli & E. Romero (eds.), Meaning, Basic Self-Knowledge, and Mind. Csli.
  16. Michael A. Bishop (1999). Why Thought Experiments Are Not Arguments. Philosophy of Science 66 (4):534-541.
    Are thought experiments nothing but arguments? I argue that it is not possible to make sense of the historical trajectory of certain thought experiments if one takes them to be arguments. Einstein and Bohr disagreed about the outcome of the clock-in-the-box thought experiment, and so they reconstructed it using different arguments. This is to be expected whenever scientists disagree about a thought experiment's outcome. Since any such episode consists of two arguments but just one thought experiment, the thought experiment cannot (...)
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  17. Alisa Bokulich (2001). Rethinking Thought Experiments. Perspectives on Science 9 (3):285-307.
    : An examination of two thought experiments in contemporary physics reveals that the same thought experiment can be reanalyzed from the perspective of different and incompatible theories. This fact undermines those accounts of thought experiments that claim their justificatory power comes from their ability to reveal the laws of nature. While thought experiments do play a genuine evaluative role in science, they do so by testing the nonempirical virtues of a theory, such as consistency and explanatory power. I conclude that, (...)
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  18. Giovanni Boniolo (1997). On a Unified Theory of Models and Thought Experiments in Natural Sciences. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 11 (2):121 – 142.
    In this paper a unified theory of models and thought experiments is proposed by considering them as fictions, la Vaihinger. In order to reach this aim, the Hertzian and Botzmannian interpretation of theories as Bilder is reconsidered.
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  19. Denny Borsboom, Gideon J. Mellenbergh & Jaap van Heerden (2002). Functional Thought Experiments. Synthese 130 (3):379 - 387.
    The literature on thought experiments has been mainly concernedwith thought experiments that are directed at a theory, be it in aconstructive or a destructive manner. This has led somephilosophers to argue that all thought experiments can beformulated as arguments. The aim of this paper is to drawattention to a type of thought experiment that is not directed ata theory, but fulfills a specific function within a theory. Suchthought experiments are referred to as functional thoughtexperiments, and they are routinely used in (...)
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  20. Elke Brendel (2004). Intuition Pumps and the Proper Use of Thought Experiments. Dialectica 58 (1):89–108.
    I begin with an explication of "thought experiment". I then clarify the role that intuitions play in thought experiments by addressing two important issues: (1) the informativeness of thought experiments and (2) the legitimacy of the method of thought experiments in philosophy and the natural sciences. I defend a naturalistic account of intuitions that provides a plausible explanation of the informativeness of thought experiments, which, in turn, allows thought experiments to be reconstructed as arguments. I also specify criteria for distinguishing (...)
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  21. James Robert Brown (2007). Counter Thought Experiments. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 (61):155-177.
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  22. James Robert Brown (2007). Thought Experiments in Science, Philosophy, and Mathematics. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):3-27.
    Most disciplines make use of thought experiments, but physics and philosophy lead the pack with heavy dependence upon them. Often this is for conceptual clarification, but occasionally they provide real theoretical advances. In spite of their importance, however, thought experiments have received rather little attention as a topic in their own right until recently. The situation has improved in the past few years, but a mere generation ago the entire published literature on thought experiments could have been mastered in a (...)
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  23. James Robert Brown (2004). Why Thought Experiments Transcend Experience. In Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science. Blackwell. 23-43.
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  24. James Robert Brown (1991). The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences. Routledge.
    The book concludes with chapters on the nature of Einstein's work and on the interpretation of quantum mechanics which stand as a test of the author's central ...
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  25. James Robert Brown (1986). Thought Experiments Since the Scientific Revolution. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1 (1):1 – 15.
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  26. James Robert Brown & Yiftach J. H. Fehige, Thought Experiments. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  27. Jessica Brown (2011). Thought Experiments, Intuitions and Philosophical Evidence. Dialectica 65 (4):493-516.
    What is the nature of the evidence provided by thought experiments in philosophy? For instance, what evidence is provided by the Gettier thought experiment against the JTB theory of knowledge? According to one view, it provides as evidence only a certain psychological proposition, e.g. that it seems to one that the subject in the Gettier case lacks knowledge. On an alternative, nonpsychological view, the Gettier thought experiment provides as evidence the nonpsychological proposition that the subject in the Gettier case lacks (...)
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  28. Martin Bunzl (1996). The Logic of Thought Experiments. Synthese 106 (2):227 - 240.
    In this paper I argue that (at least many) philosophical thought experiments are unreliable. But I argue that this notion of unreliability has to be understood relative to the goal of thought experiments as knowledge producing. And relative to that goal many thought experiments in science are just as unreliable. But in fact thought experiments in science play a varied role and I will suggest that knowledge production is a goal only under quite limited circumstances. I defend the view that (...)
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  29. Taylor Burge (2003). Thought Experiments: Reply to Donnellan. In Martin Hahn & B. Ramberg (eds.), Reflections and Replies: Essays on the Philosophy of Tyler Burge. Mit Press.
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  30. Marco Buzzoni (2007). Zum Verhältnis Zwischen Experiment Und Gedankenexperiment in den Naturwissenschaften. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 38 (2):219 - 237.
    On the relation between experiment and thought experiment in the natural sciences. To understand the reciprocal autonomy and complementarity of thought and real experiment, it is necessary to distinguish between a ‘positive’ (empirical or formal) and a transcendental perspective. Empirically and formally, real and thought experiments are indistinguishable. However, from a reflexive-transcendental viewpoint thought experiment is at the same time irreducible and complementary to real experiment. This is due to the fact that the hypothetical-anticipatory moment is in principle irreducible to (...)
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  31. Steinar Bøyum (2008). Words From Nowhere – Limits of Criticism. Philosophical Investigations 31 (2):161–181.
    In the present essay, I aim to accentuate an analogy between the patterns of thought articulated by Berkeley's Hylas and those of Nagel in his philosophy of bats and aliens. The comparison has a critical purpose, with Philonous playing a role similar to that of Wittgenstein. I argue that Nagel's central claim comes down to statements that are marked by a peculiar form of emptiness. Towards the end, though, I will concede that this kind of Wittgensteinian criticism runs up against (...)
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  32. Elisabeth Camp (2009). Two Varieties of Literary Imagination: Metaphor, Fiction, and Thought Experiments. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 33 (1):107-130.
    Recently, philosophers have discovered that they have a lot to learn from, or at least to ponder about, fiction. Many metaphysicians are attracted to fiction as a model for our talk about purported objects and properties, such as numbers, morality, and possible worlds, without embracing a robust Platonist ontology. In addition, a growing group of philosophers of mind are interested in the implications of our engagement with fiction for our understanding of the mind and emotions: If I don’t believe that (...)
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  33. 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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  34. Hayley Clatterbuck (2013). The Epistemology of Thought Experiments: A Non-Eliminativist, Non-Platonic Account. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (3):309-329.
    Several major breakthroughs in the history of physics have been prompted not by new empirical data but by thought experiments. James Robert Brown and John Norton have developed accounts of how thought experiments can yield such advances. Brown argues that knowledge gained via thought experiments demands a Platonic explanation; thought experiments for Brown are a window into the Platonic realm of the laws of nature. Norton argues that thought experiments are just cleverly disguised inductive or deductive arguments, so no new (...)
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  35. Martin Cohen (2005). Wittgenstein's Beetle and Other Classic Thought Experiments. Blackwell Pub..
    A is for Alice and astronomers arguing about acceleration -- B is for Bernard's body-exchange machine -- C is for the Catholic cannibal -- D is for Maxwell's demon -- E is for evolution (and an embarrassing problem with it) -- F is for the forms lost forever to the prisoners of the cave -- G is for Galileo's gravitational balls -- H is for Hume's shades -- I is for the identity of indiscernibles -- J is for Henri Poincaré (...)
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  36. Daniel Cohnitz (2012). Thought Experiments Outside Science. [REVIEW] Metascience 22 (online first):1-5.
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  37. Daniel Cohnitz (2008). Daniel Ørsteds "Gedankenexperiment": eine Kantianische Fundierung der Infinitesimalrechnung? Ein Beitrag zur Begriffsgeschichte von "Gedankenexperiment" und zur Mathematikgeschichte des frühen 19. Jahrhunderts. Kant-Studien 99 (4):407-433.
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  38. Daniel Cohnitz (2007). Science (of) Fiction: Zur Zukunft des Gedankenexperiments in der Philosophie des Geistes. In P. Spät (ed.), Zur Zukunft der Philosophie des Geistes. Mentis.
    Egal was der heutige Tag auch bringen mag, der 1. April 2063 wird zumindest als der Tag in die Geschichte des Wissenschaftsjournalismus eingehen, der die bisher aufwändigste Berichterstattung erfahren hat. So viele Kamerateams, wie hier vor den Toren der Australian National University in Canberra, hat bisher kein wissenschaftliches Experiment anziehen können. Selbst der Knüller des Vorjahres, als es einer 48jährigen Hausfrau in einem Vorort von London gelang, mit einfachsten Küchenutensilien einen kleinen Kalte-Fusion-Reaktor herzustellen, der den Staubsauger und die Mikrowelle zuverlässig (...)
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  39. Daniel Cohnitz (2006). Poor Thought Experiments? A Comment on Peijnenburg and Atkinson. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (2):373 - 392.
    In their paper, 'When are thought experiments poor ones?' (Peijnenburg and Atkinson, 2003, Journal of General Philosophy of Science 34, 305-322), Jeanne Peijnenburg and David Atkinson argue that most, if not all, philosophical thought experiments are "poor" ones with "disastrous consequences" and that they share the property of being poor with some (but not all) scientific thought experiments. Noting that unlike philosophy, the sciences have the resources to avoid the disastrous consequences, Peijnenburg and Atkinson come to the conclusion that the (...)
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  40. Daniel Cohnitz (2003). Modal Skepticism: Philosophical Thought Experiments and Modal Epistemology. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 10.
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  41. Daniel Cohnitz (2003). Modal Skepticism: Philosophical Thought Experiments and Modal Epistemology. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 10:281--296.
    One of the most basic methods of philosophy is, and has always been, the consideration of counterfactual cases and imaginary scenarios. One purpose of doing so obviously is to test our theories against such counterfactual cases. Although this method is widespread, it is far from being commonly accepted. Especially during the last two decades it has been confronted with criticism ranging from complete dismissal to denying only its critical powers to a cautious defense of the use of thought experiments as (...)
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  42. Daniel Cohnitz (2003). Personal Identity and the Methodology of Imaginary Cases. In Klaus Petrus (ed.), Human Persons. Ontos.
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  43. Daniel Cohnitz, Poor Thought Experiments?
    In their paper, ‘When are thought experiments poor ones?’ (Peijnenburg and Atkinson 2003), Jeanne Peijnenburg and David Atkinson argue that most, if not all, philosophical thought experiments are “poor” ones with “disastrous consequences” and that they share the property of being poor with some (but not all) scientific thought experiments. Noting that unlike philosophy, the sciences have the resources to avoid the disastrous consequences, Peijnenburg and Atkinson come to the conclusion that the use of thought experiments in science is in (...)
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  44. Daniel Cohnitz & Sören Häggqvist (2007). Gedankenexperimente in der Philosophie. In M. Staschok (ed.), Abstrakt - Exakt - Obskur: Philosophische Gedankenexperimente & Kunst. Logos.
    Sie halten gerade ein Buch in Ihren H¨anden. Vielleicht liegt es auch auf dem Tisch vor Ihnen, w¨ahrend Sie diese Worte lesen. Aber woher wissen Sie, dass Sie ein Buch vor sich haben? Nun, Sie sehen es nat¨urlich mit eigenen Augen. Vermutlich f¨uhlen Sie auch das Gewicht des Buches, das gegen Ihre Haut dr¨uckt, w¨ahrend sie es in H¨anden halten, und h¨oren das Rascheln der Seiten, wenn Sie umbl¨attern. Dar¨uber hinaus sind Sie wach und (so vermuten wir mal) einigermaßen n¨uchtern, (...)
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  45. David J. Cole (1984). Thought and Thought Experiments. Philosophical Studies 45 (May):431-44.
    Thought experiments have been used by philosophers for centuries, especially in the study of personal identity where they appear to have been used extensively and indiscriminately. Despite their prevalence, the use of thought experiments in this area of philosophy has been criticized in recent times. Bernard Williams criticizes the conclusions that are drawn from some experiments, and retells one of these experiments from a different perspective, a retelling which leads to a seemingly opposing result. Wilkes criticizes the method of thought (...)
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  46. Stephen R. Coleman (2000). Thought Experiments and Personal Identity. Philosophical Studies 98 (1):51-66.
    Thought experiments are profitably compared to compasses. A compass is a simple but useful device for determining direction. Nevertheless, it systematically errs in the presence of magnets ...it becomes unreliable near the North Pole, in mine shafts, when vibrated, in the presence of metal ...experts will wish to use the compass as one element in a wider portfolio of navigational techniques. Analogously, thought experiments are simple but useful devices for determining the status of propositions. Sadly, they systematically err under certain (...)
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  47. Nathan Crick (2004). Conquering Our Imagination: Thought Experiments and Enthymemes in Scientific Argument. Philosophy and Rhetoric 37 (1):21-41.
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  48. Tim De Mey & Erik Weber (2003). Explanation and Thought Experiments in History. History and Theory 42 (1):28–38.
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  49. 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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  50. 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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