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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. Joshua Alexander (2014). Experimental Philosophy: An Introduction. Polity.
    Experimental philosophy uses experimental research methods from psychology and cognitive science in order to investigate both philosophical and metaphilosophical questions. It explores philosophical questions about the nature of the psychological world - the very structure or meaning of our concepts of things, and about the nature of the non-psychological world - the things themselves. It also explores metaphilosophical questions about the nature of philosophical inquiry and its proper methodology. This book provides a detailed and provocative introduction to this innovative field, (...)
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  2. James Andow, Qualitative Tools & Experimental Philosophy.
    Experimental philosophy brings empirical methods to philosophy. These methods are used to probe how people think about philosophically interesting things such as knowledge, morality, freedom, etc. This paper explores the contribution that qualitative methods have to make in this enterprise. I argue that qualitative methods have the potential to make a much greater contribution than they have so far. Along the way, I acknowledge a few types of resistance that proponents of qualitative methods in experimental philosophy might encounter, and provide (...)
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  3. James Andow, Qualitative Tools & Experimental Philosophy.
    Experimental philosophy brings empirical methods to philosophy. These methods are used to probe how people think about philosophically interesting things such as knowledge, morality, freedom, etc. This paper explores the contribution that qualitative methods have to make in this enterprise. I argue that qualitative methods have the potential to make a much greater contribution than they have so far. Along the way, I acknowledge a few types of resistance that proponents of qualitative methods in experimental philosophy might encounter, and provide (...)
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  4. 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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  5. Wesley Buckwalter (2016). Intuition Fail: Philosophical Activity and the Limits of Expertise. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):378-410.
    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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  6. David Danks David Rose (2013). In Defense of a Broad Conception of Experimental Philosophy. Metaphilosophy 44 (4):512-532.
    Experimental philosophy is often presented as a new movement that avoids many of the difficulties that face traditional philosophy. This article distinguishes two views of experimental philosophy: a narrow view in which philosophers conduct empirical investigations of intuitions, and a broad view which says that experimental philosophy is just the colocation in the same body of philosophical naturalism and the actual practice of cognitive science. These two positions are rarely clearly distinguished in the literature about experimental philosophy, both pro and (...)
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  7. Adam Feltz (2009). Experimental Philosophy. Analyse & Kritik 31 (2):201-219.
    Experimental philosophy is a new approach to philosophy that incorporates the experimental methodologies of psychology, behavioral economics, and sociology. Experimental philosophers generally maintain that, in addition to traditional philosophical practices, these ways of gathering evidence can be instrumental in shedding light on philosophically important issues. Rather than relying on their own intuitions about specific cases, experimental philosophers perform systematic experiments to determine what intuitions people have about those cases. These intuitions are then used as evidence. In this context, four main (...)
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  8. Eugen Fischer, Paul E. Engelhardt & Aurelie Herbelot (2015). Intuitions and Illusions: From Explanation and Experiment to Assessment. In Eugen Fischer & John Collins (eds.), Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and Naturalism. Rethinking Philosophical Method. Routledge. pp. 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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  9. David J. Frost (2012). Book Review of Alexander, Joshua. Experimental Philosophy: An Introduction. Philosophia 40 (4):903-917.
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  10. Sven Ove Hansson (2014). Beyond “Experimental Philosophy”. Theoria 80 (1):1-3.
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  11. Alexander S. Harper, Philosophical Intuition and the Need for an Explanation.
    Traditionally, intuitions about cases have been taken as strong evidence for a philosophical position. I argue that intuitions about concept deployment have epistemic value while intuitions about matters of fact have none. I argue this by use of the explanationist criterion which contends that S is justified in believing only those propositions which are part of the best explanation of S’s making the judgements she makes. This criterion accords with scientific practice. Bealer suggests, as a defence of intuition, that naturalists (...)
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  12. 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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  13. Stephan Hartmann, Chiara Lisciandra & Edouard Machery (2013). Editorial: Formal Epistemology Meets Experimental Philosophy. [REVIEW] Synthese 190 (8):1333-1335.
  14. Marie Hayes (1998). Experimental Psychology, Methods of Research. [REVIEW] Journal of Mind and Behavior 19 (1):103-104.
    Teaching experimental methods to psychology students is one of the great puzzles of the academic experience. There is a constant tradeoff between the "real story" and one that is accessible to students who have, for the most part, never done any serious research. McGuigan’s Experimental Psychology, Methods of Research is an attempt to address the tradeoff between didactic communication and the logical subtlety that is of course the basic attraction of the research endeavor in the first place.
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  15. Christopher A. Hoyt (1998). A Wittgensteinian Study of Experimental Psychology. Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Experimental psychology emerged as an independent discipline in the mid to late nineteenth century, as one expression of the positivist movement to supplant various branches of philosophy with science. The founders of psychology claim to answer epistemological questions via their empirical research and theories, and much of their work can reasonably be regarded as naturalized epistemology. Of course, experimental psychology quickly assumed aims beyond epistemology. However, philosophical issues continued to heavily influence the aims and nature psychology at least into the (...)
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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. Neil Levy (2013). 20 Intuitions and Experimental Philosophy: Comfortable Bedfellows. In Matthew C. Haug (ed.), Philosophical Methodology: The Armchair or the Laboratory? Routledge. pp. 381.
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  19. Shen-yi Liao (2016). Are Philosophers Good Intuition Predictors? Philosophical Psychology 29 (7):1004-1014.
    Some philosophers have criticized experimental philosophy for being superfluous. Jackson implies that experimental philosophy studies are unnecessary. More recently, Dunaway, Edmunds, and Manley empirically demonstrate that experimental studies do not deliver surprising results, which is a pro tanto reason for foregoing conducting such studies. This paper gives theoretical and empirical considerations against the superfluity criticism. The questions concerning the surprisingness of experimental philosophy studies have not been properly disambiguated, and their metaphilosophical significance have not been properly assessed. Once the most (...)
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  20. Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.) (2014). Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy: Volume 1. Oxford University Press UK.
    The new 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. It will feature papers by philosophers, papers by psychologists, and papers co-authored by people in both disciplines. The series heralds the emergence of a truly interdisciplinary field in which people from different disciplines are working together to address a (...)
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  21. 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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  22. Nancy Matchett (2010). A Manual Of Experimental Philosophy. [REVIEW] Philosophical Practice 5 (1):593-595.
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  23. James Mccosh (1860). The Intuitions of the Mind Inductively Investigated.
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  24. Annelies Monseré (2015). Experimental Philosophy and Intuitions On What Is Art. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 34 (3).
    It is generally agreed upon that philosophers of art rely on their intuitions to justify or criticize proposed definitions of art. Experimental philosophers, however, have questioned the role of intuition in philosophy, since empirical research shows that philosophers’ intuitions are neither widely shared nor reliable sources of justification. This article aims to apply these experimental challenges to the project of defining art. It will be demonstrated that while experimentalists are right in claiming that philosophers' intuitions cannot be used as epistemic (...)
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  25. Jennifer Nado (ed.) (2016). Advances in Experimental Philosophy & Philosophical Methodology. Bloomsbury Academic.
    The rise of experimental philosophy is generating pressing methodological questions for philosophers. Can findings from experimental studies hold any significance for philosophy as a discipline? Can philosophical theorizing be improved through consideration of such studies? Do these studies threaten traditional philosophical methodology?
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  26. Jennifer Nado (2016). Experimental Philosophy 2.0. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):159-168.
    I recommend three revisions to experimental philosophy's ‘self-image’ which I suggest will enable experimentalist critics of intuition to evade several important objections to the 'negative' strand of the experimental philosophy research project. First, experimentalists should avoid broad criticisms of ‘intuition’ as a whole, instead drawing a variety of conclusions about a variety of much narrower categories of mental state. Second, experimentalists should state said conclusions in terms of epistemic norms particular to philosophical inquiry, rather than attempting to, for example, deny (...)
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  27. Bence Nanay (2015). Experimental Philosophy and Naturalism. In E. Fischer & J. Collins (eds.), Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism and Naturalism. Rethinking Philosophical Method. Routledge. pp. 222-239.
    The aim of this paper is to argue that there has been some mismatch between the naturalist rhetoric of experimental philosophy and its actual practice: experimental philosophy is not necessarily, and not even paradigmatically, a naturalistic enterprise. To substantiate this claim, a case study is given for what genuinely naturalist experimental philosophy would look like.
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  28. Mark Phelan (2012). Experimental Philosophy as an Elephant. Philosophy Now 92:13-16.
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  29. Michael J. Shaffer (2017). The Experimental Turn and the Methods of Philosophy. Routledge.
    Experimental philosophy is one of the most controversial and potentially revolutionary areas of philosophical research today. X-Phi, as it is known by many of its practitioners, questions many basic concepts regarding human intuitions—concepts which have guided centuries of modern philosophers. In their place, x-phi steers philosophical research back to scientific investigations in order to better understand human intuitions, using research techniques borrowed from current research in psychology and neuroscience. While scholars debate whether experimental philosophy signals a sea change or is (...)
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  30. 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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  31. Karola Stotz (2009). Philosophy in the Trenches: From Naturalized to Experimental Philosophy (of Science). Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):225-226.
    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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  32. Sytsma Justin & Buckwalter Wesley (eds.) (2016). A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Wiley.
    This is an anthology of experimental papers relevant to philosophical inquiry across many areas of philosophy.
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  33. Justin Sytsma (forthcoming). Rethinking the Scope of Experimental Philosophy. Metascience:1-4.
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  34. Justin Sytsma & Jonathan Livengood (2015). The Theory and Practice of Experimental Philosophy. Broadview Press.
    In recent years, developments in experimental philosophy have led many thinkers to reconsider their central assumptions and methods. It is not enough to speculate and introspect from the armchair - philosophers must subject their claims to scientific scrutiny, looking at evidence and in some cases conducting new empirical research. "The Theory and Practice of Experimental Philosophy" is an introduction and guide to the systematic collection and analysis of empirical data in academic philosophy. This book serves two purposes: first, it examines (...)
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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. Francisco Varela, Experimental Epistemology: Background and Future. Eidos: The Canadian Graduate Journal of Philosophy 5.
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  38. Chris Weigel (2009). Experimental Philosophy Is Here to Stay. Analyse & Kritik 31 (2):221-242.
    Experimental philosophy is comprised of two broad projects, the negative project and the positive project, each of which is a response to a kind of armchair use of intuitions. I examine two examples of the negative project—the analysis of knowledge and the theory of reference—and two examples of the positive project—free will and intentional action—and review criticisms of each example. I show how the criticisms can be met and argue that even if they could not have been met, experimental philosophy (...)
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  39. Jonathan M. Weinberg, Joshua Alexander, Chad Gonnerman & Shane Reuter (2013). Restrictionism and Reflection. 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 adequately studied by experimental (...)
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  40. 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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  41. Tomasz Wysocki (2016). Arguments Over Intuitions? Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-23.
    Deutsch 2010 claims that hypothetical scenarios are evaluated using arguments, not intuitions, and therefore experiments on intuitions are philosophically inconsequential. Using the Gettier case as an example, he identifies three arguments that are supposed to point to the right response to the case. In the paper, I present the results of studies ran on Polish, Indian, Spanish, and American participants that suggest that there’s no deep difference between evaluating the Gettier case with intuitions and evaluating it with Deutsch’s arguments. Specifically, (...)
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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 (2015). Thin, Fine and with Sensitivity: A Metamethodology of Intuitions. Review of Philosophy and Psychology (1):1-21.
    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 (3):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):378-410.
    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 "A Companion to Experimental Philosophy". In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell.
    This is the general introduction to the edited collection "A companion to Experimental Philosophy".
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  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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