David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In David Braddon-Mitchell & Robert Nola (eds.), Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism. MIT Press (2009)
One increasingly popular technique in philosophy might be called the "platitudes analysis": a set of widely accepted claims about a given subject matter are collected, adjustments are made to the body of claims, and this is taken to specify a “role” for the phenomenon in question. (Perhaps the best-known example is analytic functionalism about mental states, where platitudes about belief, desire, intention etc. are together taken to give us a "role" for states to fill if they are to count as mental states.) We then look to our best theory of the world to see where this role is satisfied, if at all. Unfortunately, the platitudes analysis, so characterised, does not seem to help when we are doing fundamental metaphysics—when we want to know what, at base, our world is like (and not merely where things like e.g. the mental would be found in an already-specified ontology). Nevertheless, I will argue that the platitudes analysis, properly understood, does have the materials to help us answer questions in fundamental metaphysics as well. I will explore three different ways it can do so.
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Daniel Nolan (2015). The A Posteriori Armchair. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):211-231.
Thomas W. Polger (2008). H2O, 'Water', and Transparent Reduction. Erkenntnis 69 (1):109-130.
Thomas Donaldson (2015). Platitudes in Mathematics. Synthese 192 (6):1799-1820.
Daniel F. Hartner (2013). Conceptual Analysis as Armchair Psychology: In Defense of Methodological Naturalism. Philosophical Studies 165 (3):921-937.
Andrew Whiteley Magrath (2013). Carnap Ponders Canberra: Creating a Theory of Meaning Based on Carnap's Criteria of Cognitive Significance and the Canberra Plan. Open Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):429-433.
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