In this paper I will propose a simple linguistic approach to the Knobe effect, or the moral asymmetry of intention attribution in general, which is just to ask the felicity judgments on the relevant sentences without any vignette at all. Through this approach I was in fact able to reproduce the (quasi-)Knobe effects in different languages (English and Japanese), with large effect sizes. I shall defend the significance of this simple approach by arguing that our approach and its results not (...) only tell interesting facts about the concept of intentional action, but also show the existence of the linguistic default, which requires independent investigation. I will then argue that, despite the recent view on experimental philosophy by Knobe himself, there is a legitimate role of the empirical study of concepts in the investigations of cognitive processes in experimental philosophy, which suggests a broadly supplementary picture of experimental philosophy today. (shrink)
An increasing number of scholars argue that moral judgements are adaptations, i.e., that they have been shaped by natural selection. Is this hypothesis true? In this paper I shall not attempt to answer this important question. Rather, I pursue the more modest aim of pointing out three difficulties that anybody who sets out to determine the adaptedness of moral judgments should be aware of (though some so far have not been aware of). First, the hypothesis that moral judgements are adaptations (...) has been advocated in various different specificities and scopes, and on various different levels. Second, the three kinds of evidence that have most often been appealed to by discussants of this hypothesis require additional arguments. And third, there is significant reasonable disagreement about what moral judgements essentially are. (shrink)
Two recently popular metaphilosophical movements, formal philosophy and experimental philosophy, promote what seem to be conflicting methodologies. Nonetheless, I argue that the two can be mutually supportive. I propose an experimentally-informed variation on explication, a powerful formal philosophical tool introduced by Carnap. The resulting method, which I call “experimental explication,” provides the formalist with a means of responding to explication's gravest criticism. Moreover, this method introduces a philosophically salient, positive role for survey-style experiments while steering clear of several objections that (...) critics of “positive experimental philosophy” raise. Thus, it provides the experimentalist with a more defensible example of how empirical work can have positive philosophical import. For these reasons, experimental explication should appeal to experimental philosophers and formal philosophers alike. (shrink)
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, (...) I argue that one would find these arguments persuasive if and only if one is already disposed to exhibit the relevant intuition. (shrink)
In the past decade, experimental philosophy---the attempt at making progress on philosophical problems using empirical methods---has thrived in a wide range of domains. However, only in recent years has aesthetics succeeded in drawing the attention of experimental philosophers. The present paper constitutes the first survey of these works and of the nascent field of 'experimental philosophy of aesthetics'. We present both recent experimental works by philosophers on topics such as the ontology of aesthetics, aesthetic epistemology, aesthetic concepts, and imagination, as (...) well as research from other disciplines that not only are relevant to philosophy of aesthetics but also open new avenues of research for experimental philosophy of aesthetics. Overall, we conclude that the birth of an experimental philosophy of aesthetics is good news not only for aesthetics but also for experimental philosophy itself, as it contributes to broaden the scope of experimental philosophy. (shrink)
This paper considers three package deals combining views in philosophy of mind, meta-philosophy, and experimental philosophy. The most familiar of these packages gives center-stage to pumping intuitions about fanciful cases, but that package involves problematic commitments both to a controversial descriptivist theory of reference and to intuitions that “negative” experimental philosophers have shown to be suspiciously variable and context-sensitive. In light of these difficulties, it would be good for future-minded experimental philosophers to align themselves with a different package deal. This (...) paper suggests two alternatives. Experimentalists might help fans of “naturalized” approaches discover what natural kinds have been playing an appropriate role in causing us to use concepts as we do. Or, better still, experimentalists might instead help pragmatists and teleo-semanticists discover how our concept usage regularly yields beneficial outcomes, so that we can then craft philosophical analyses that will.. (shrink)
Joshua Knobe's work has marshaled considerable support for the hypothesis that everyday judgments of whether an action is intentional are systematically influenced by evaluations of the action or agent. The main source of evidence for this hypothesis is a series of surveys that involve an agent either helping or harming something as a side effect. Respondents are much more likely to judge the side effect intentional if harm is involved. It is a remarkable feature of the discussion so far that (...) it assumes without scrutiny that the substitution of one act-type for another could not, taken alone, explain the difference in responses that the two scenarios yield. This paper presents evidence, both experimental and conceptual, that it is precisely this difference that explains the asymmetry in responses. Briefly, agents who token the act-type help must fulfill certain psychological conditions that they don't have to fulfill if they are to token the act-type harm. Harming, unlike helping, does not require the ful.. (shrink)
In their paper titled “Gender and philosophical intuition,” Buckwalter and Stich argue that the intuitions of women and men differ significantly on various types of philosophical questions. Furthermore, men's intuitions, so the authors claim, are more in line with traditionally accepted solutions of classical problems. This inherent bias, so the argument goes, is one of the factors that leads more men than women to pursue degrees and careers in philosophy. These findings have received a considerable amount of attention and the (...) paper is to appear in the second edition of Experimental Philosophy edited by Knobe and Nichols , which itself is an influential outlet. Given the exposure of these results, we attempted to replicate three of the classes of questions that Buckwalter and Stich review in their paper and for which they report significant differences. We failed to replicate the results using several different sources for data collection (one being identical to the original procedures.. (shrink)
In one of the earlier influential papers in the field of experimental philosophy titled Normativity and Epistemic Intuitions published in 2001, Jonathan M. Weinberg, Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich reported that respondents answered Gettier type questions differently depending on their ethnic background as well as socioeconomic status. There is currently a debate going on, on the significance of the results of Weinberg et al. (2001) and its implications for philosophical methodology in general and epistemology in specific. Despite the debates, however, (...) to our knowledge, there has not been a replication attempt of the experiments of the original paper. We collected data from four different sources (two on-line and two in-person) to replicate the experiments. Despite several different data sets and in various cases larger sample sizes and hence greater power to detect differences, we failed to detect significant differences between the above-mentioned ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Our results suggest that epistemic intuitions are more robust across ethnic and socioeconomic groups than Weinberg et al. (2001) indicates. Given our data, we believe that the notion of differences in epistemic intuitions among different ethnic and socioeconomic groups that follows from Weinberg et al. (2001) needs to be corrected. (shrink)
The rise of experimental philosophy has placed metaphilosophical questions, particularly those concerning concepts, at the center of philosophical attention. X-phi offers empirically rigorous methods for identifying conceptual content, but what exactly it contributes towards evaluating conceptual content remains unclear. We show how x-phi complements Rudolf Carnap’s underappreciated methodology for concept determination, explication. This clarifies and extends x-phi’s positive philosophical import, and also exhibits explication’s broad appeal. But there is a potential problem: Carnap’s account of explication was limited to empirical and (...) logical concepts, but many concepts of interest to philosophers are essentially normative. With formal epistemology as a case study, we show how x-phi assisted explication can apply to normative domains. (shrink)
En este artículo presentamos las principales corrientes de la Filosofía Experimental y atendemos a una de las críticas más severas a la que se ha sometido este reciente programa de renovación metodológica. Según Antti Kauppinen la Filosofía Experimental está condenada al fracaso porque no puede obtener mediante sus métodos el tipo de intuiciones que interesan a los filósofos –las intuiciones robustas del hablante competente. Aun aceptando parte de las críticas de Kauppinen, en este artículo sostenemos, en primer lugar, que la (...) supuesta incapacidad de la Filosofía Experimental para acceder a las intuiciones robustas de los hablantes tiene que ver en gran medida con los métodos experimentales empleados hasta ahora por los filósofos experimentales. En segundo lugar, defendemos que el proyecto de reforma llevado a cabo desde la Filosofía Experimental resultará viable solo si se adoptan una serie de consejos metodológicos procedentes de la economía experimental. Únicamente entonces podrán los experimentalistas responder con éxito a la objeción de Kauppinen. (shrink)
The debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists depends in large part on what ordinary people mean by ‘free will’, a matter on which previous experimental philosophy studies have yielded conflicting results. In Nahmias, Morris, Nadelhoffer, and Turner (2005, 2006), most participants judged that agents in deterministic scenarios could have free will and be morally responsible. Nichols and Knobe (2007), though, suggest that these apparent compatibilist responses are performance errors produced by using concrete scenarios, and that their abstract scenarios reveal the folk (...) theory of free will for what it actually is—incompatibilist. Here, we argue that the results of two new studies suggest just the opposite. Most participants only give apparent incompatibilist judgments when they mistakenly interpret determinism to imply that agents’ mental states are bypassed in the causal chains that lead to their behavior. Determinism does not entail bypassing, so these responses do not reflect genuine incompatibilist intuitions. When participants understand what determinism does mean, the vast majority take it to be compatible with free will. Further results indicate that most people’s concepts of choice and the ability to do otherwise do not commit them to incompatibilism, either, putting pressure on incompatibilist arguments that rely on transfer principles, such as the Consequence Argument. We discuss the implications of these findings for philosophical debates about free will, and suggest that incompatibilism appears to be either false, or else a thesis about something other than what most people mean by ‘free will’. (shrink)
Recent work in experimental philosophy has indicated that intuitions may be subject to several forms of bias, thereby casting doubt on the viability of intuition as an evidential source in philosophy. A common reply to these findings is the ‘expertise defense’ – the claim that although biases may be found in the intuitions of non-philosophers, persons with expertise in philosophy will be resistant to these biases. Much debate over the expertise defense has centered over the question of the burden of (...) proof; must defenders of expertise provide empirical evidence of its existence, or should we grant the existence of philosophical expertise as a ‘default’ assumption? Defenders have frequently appealed to analogy with other fields; since expertise clearly exists in, e.g., the sciences, we are entitled to assume its existence in philosophy. Recently, however, experimentalists have begun to provide empirical evidence that biases in intuition extend even to philosophers. Though these findings don't yet suffice to defeat the default assumption of expertise the analogy argument motivates, they do force any proponent of the analogy argument to provide more specific and empirically informed proposals for the possible nature of philosophical expertise. (shrink)
There are many philosophical questions surrounding the notion of lying. Is it ever morally acceptable to lie? Can we acquire knowledge from people who might be lying to us? More fundamental, however, is the question of what, exactly, constitutes the concept of lying. According to one traditional definition, lying requires intending to deceive (Augustine. (1952). Lying (M. Muldowney, Trans.). In R. Deferrari (Ed.), Treatises on various subjects (pp. 53?120). New York, NY: Catholic University of America). More recently, Thomas Carson (2006. (...) The definition of lying. Nous, 40, 284?306) has suggested that lying requires warranting the truth of what you do not believe. This paper examines these two prominent definitions and some cases that seem to pose problems for them. Importantly, theorists working on this topic fundamentally disagree about whether these problem cases are genuine instances of lying and, thus, serve as counterexamples to the definitions on offer. To settle these disputes, we elicited judgments about the proposed counterexamples from ordinary language users unfettered by theoretical bias. The data suggest that everyday speakers of English count bald-faced lies and proviso lies as lies. Thus, we claim that a new definition is needed to capture common usage. Finally, we offer some suggestions for further research on this topic and about the moral implications of our investigation into the concept of lying. (shrink)
Much of experimental philosophy consists of surveying 'folk' intuitions about philosophically relevant issues. Are the results of these surveys evidence that the relevant folk intuitions cannot be predicted from the ‘armchair’? We found that a solid majority of philosophers could predict even results claimed to be 'surprising'. But, we argue, this does not mean that such experiments have no role at all in philosophy.
This article is in three parts. The first discusses trends in philosophy. The second defends reliance on intuitions in philosophy from some doubts that have recently been raised. The third discusses Philip Kitcher's contention that contemporary analytic philosophy does not have its priorities straight. While the three parts are independent, there is a common theme. Each part defends what is regarded as orthodoxy from attacks. Of course there are other reasonable challenges to philosophical methodology. The article's aim is just to (...) respond to some charges that have been made. (shrink)
Sommers (2010) argues that experimental philosophers of free will have largely been asking the wrong question – the question whether philosophically naïve individuals think that free will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism. The present studies begin to alleviate this concern by testing the intuitive plausibility of Pereboom’s (2001) four case argument. The general pattern of responses from two experiments does not support Pereboom’s predictions. Moreover, those who were high in the personality trait emotional stability tended to judge that (...) manipulated agents were more free and morally responsible compared to individuals low in emotional stability. (shrink)
Evaluational internalism holds that only features internal to agency (e.g., motivation) are relevant to attributions of virtue [Slote, M. (2001). Morals from motives. Oxford: Oxford University Press]. Evaluational externalism holds that only features external to agency (e.g., consequences) are relevant to attributions of virtue [Driver, J. (2001). Uneasy virtue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press]. Many evaluational externalists and internalists claim that their view best accords with philosophically naïve (i.e., folk) intuitions, and that accordance provides argumentative support for their view. Evaluational internalism (...) and externalism are incompatible views and therefore it is impossible that both views are supported by most folk intuitions. In four experiments, we present evidence that neither pure evaluational internalism nor pure evaluational externalism accurately capture some relevant folk intuitions about virtue. However, our experiments suggest external factors are vastly more important than internal factors for folk attributions of virtue. While these data do not entail that evaluational internalism and externalism about virtue are false, they situate important argumentative burdens, constrain philosophical theory about virtue, and illustrate a valuable method that could foster more efficient progress in ethics. (shrink)
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 (i) philosophical naturalism and (ii) the actual practice of cognitive science. These two positions are rarely clearly distinguished in the literature about experimental philosophy, both (...) pro and con. The article argues, first, that the broader view is the only plausible one; discussions of experimental philosophy should recognize that the narrow view is a caricature of experimental philosophy as it is currently done. It then shows both how objections to experimental philosophy are transformed and how positive recommendations can be provided by adopting a broad conception of experimental philosophy. (shrink)
In the metaethical debate on moral internalism and externalism, appeal is constantly made to people’s intuitions about the connection between moral judgments and motivation. However, internalists and externalists disagree considerably about their content. In this paper, we present an empirical study of laymen’s intuitions about this connection. We found that they lend surprisingly little support to the most celebrated versions of internalism, which provide reasons to be skeptical of the evidential basis for these views.
Perhaps personality traits substantially influence one’s philosophically relevant intuitions. This suggestion is not only possible, it is consistent with a growing body of empirical research: Personality traits have been shown to be systematically related to diverse intuitions concerning some fundamental philosophical debates. We argue that this fact, in conjunction with the plausible principle that almost all adequate philosophical views should take into account all available and relevant evidence, calls into question some prominent approaches to traditional philosophical projects. To this end, (...) we present the Philosophical Personality Argument (PPA). We explain how it supports the growing body of evidence challenging some of the uses of intuitions in philosophy, and we defend it from some criticisms of empirically based worries about intuitions in philosophy. We conclude that the current evidence indicates that the PPA is sound, and thus many traditional philosophical projects that use intuitions must become substantially more empirically oriented. (shrink)
It is commonly claimed that fully virtuous individuals cannot be ignorant and that everyday intuitions support this fact. Others maintain that there are virtues of ignorance and most people recognize them. Both views cannot be correct. We report evidence from three experiments suggesting that ignorance does not rule out folk attributions of virtue. Additionally, results show that many of these judgments can be predicted by one’s emotional stability—a heritable personality trait. We argue that these results are philosophically important for the (...) study of virtue and we discuss some of the ways individual differences may inform and facilitate current debates in ethics. We close with a cautionary argument detailing the risks of discounting some intuitions simply because they are associated with seemingly less desirable personality traits. (shrink)
In two experiments, we demonstrate that intentional action intuitions vary as a function of whether one brings about or observes an event. In experiment 1a (N?=?38), participants were less likely to judge that they intended (M?=?2.53, 7 point scale) or intentionally (M?=?2.67) brought about a harmful event compared to intention (M?=?4.16) and intentionality (M?=?4.11) judgments made about somebody else. Experiments 1b and 1c confirmed and extended this pattern of actor-observer differences. Experiment 2 suggested that these actor-observer differences are not likely (...) to occur when participants are asked to ?imagine? being an actor. We argue that these results challenge the substantial philosophical and empirical reliance on hypothetical thought examples about intentional action. Our data offer new and necessary methodological avenues for understanding folk intentional action intuitions. (shrink)
Recent attention given to the upstart movement of experimental philosophy is much deserved. But now that experimental philosophy is beginning to enter a stage of maturity, it is time to consider its relation to other philosophical traditions that have issued similar assaults against ingrained and potentially misguided philosophical habits. Experimental philosophy is widely known for rejecting a philosophical reliance on intuitions as evidence in philosophical argument. In this it shares much with another branch of empiricist philosophy, namely, pragmatism. Taking Kwame (...) Anthony Appiah's forthright and cautious endorsement of experimental philosophy as my model, I show that experimental philosophy and pragmatist philosophy share more than adherents of either philosophical method have yet to allow. I then use this comparison to show how the new experimentalisms could benefit from a rereading of century-old pragmatist insights about philosophical methodology. (shrink)
Fiery Cushman and Alfred Mele recently proposed a ‘two-and-a-half rules’ theory of folk intentionality. They suggested that laypersons attribute intentionality employing: one rule based on desire, one based on belief, and another principle based on moral judgment, which may either reflect a folk concept (and so count as a third rule) or a bias (and so not count as a rule proper) and which they provisionally count as ‘half a rule’. In this article, I discuss some cases in which an (...) agent is judged as having neither belief nor desire to bring about an action, and yet laypersons find the agent’s action to be intentional. Many lay responses apparently follow a rule, but many other seem biased. The contribution of this study is two-fold: by addressing actions performed without desire or belief, it expands Mele and Cushman’s account; it also helps discriminate between a two-rules and a three-rules theory. As a conclusion, I argue in favor of a three-and-a-half concepts theory. (shrink)
Abstract Artificial language philosophy (also called ‘ideal language philosophy’) is the position that philosophical problems are best solved or dissolved through a reform of language. Its underlying methodology—the development of languages for specific purposes—leads to a conventionalist view of language in general and of concepts in particular. I argue that many philosophical practices can be reinterpreted as applications of artificial language philosophy. In addition, many factually occurring interrelations between the sciences and philosophy of science are justified and clarified by the (...) assumption of an artificial language methodology. (shrink)
Suppose that Ann says, “Keith knows that the bank will be open tomorrow.” Her audience may well agree. Her knowledge ascription may seem true. But now suppose that Ben—in a different context—also says “Keith knows that the bank will be open tomorrow.” His audience may well disagree. His knowledge ascription may seem false. Indeed, a number of philosophers have claimed that people’s intuitions about knowledge ascriptions are context sensitive, in the sense that the very same knowledge ascription can seem true (...) in one conversational context but false in another. This purported fact about people’s intuitions serves as one of the main pieces of evidence for epistemic contextualism. (shrink)
Michael Pardo and Dennis Patterson have recently put forward several provocative and stimulating criticisms that strike at the heart of much work that has been done at the crossroads of neuroscience and the law. My goal in this essay is to argue that their criticisms of the nascent but growing field of neurolaw are ultimately based on questionable assumptions concerning the nature of the ever evolving relationship between scientific discovery and ordinary language. For while the marriage between ordinary language and (...) scientific discovery is admittedly not always a happy one, it is an awkward union that nevertheless seems to work itself out with the passage of time. In the following pages, I will try to show that Pardo and Patterson’s primary argumentative strategy ultimately depends on basic assumptions concerning the fixity of language that we should reject. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy has emerged as a very specific kind of response to an equally specific way of thinking about philosophy, one typically associated with philosophical analysis and according to which philosophical claims are measured, at least in part, by our intuitions. Since experimental philosophy has emerged as a response to this way of thinking about philosophy, its philosophical significance depends, in no small part, on how significant the practice of appealing to intuitions is to philosophy. In this paper, I defend (...) the significance of experimental philosophy by defending the significance of intuitions—in particular, by defending their significance from a recent challenge advanced by Timothy Williamson. (shrink)
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.
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 (...) two claims. First, that experimental philosophers’ survey methodology leaves the facts about folk intuitions massively underdetermined; and second, that what has been regarded as evidence for the instability of philosophical intuitions is, at least in some cases, better accounted for in terms of subjects’ reactions to subtle pragmatic cues contained in the surveys. (shrink)
According to intellectualism, what a person knows is solely a function of the evidential features of the person's situation. Anti-intellectualism is the view that what a person knows is more than simply a function of the evidential features of the person's situation. Jason Stanley (2005) argues that, in addition to “traditional factors,” our ordinary practice of knowledge ascription is sensitive to the practical facts of a subject's situation. In this paper, we investigate this question empirically. Our results indicate that Stanley's (...) assumptions about knowledge ascriptions do not reflect our ordinary practices in some paradigmatic cases. If our data generalize, then arguments for anti-intellectualism that rely on ordinary knowledge ascriptions fail: the case for anti-intellectualism cannot depend on our ordinary practices of knowledge ascription. (shrink)
In this paper, I am going to offer a reconstruction of a challenge to intuition-based armchair philosophy that has been put forward by experimental philosophers of a restrictionist stripe, which I will call the 'master argument'. I will then discuss a number of popular objections to this argument and explain why they either fail to cast doubt on its first, empirical premise or do not go deep enough to make for a lasting rebuttal. Next, I will consider two more promising (...) objections, the grounding objection and the expertise objection, which aim at the second, epistemic premise of the argument. Against this background, I will then suggest what I call 'conservative restrictionism' as the most reasonable default reaction to the experimentalist challenge, which is a combination of the two views of local restrictionism and methodological conservativism. (shrink)
In this brief introduction, we would first like to explain how these two special issues of Philosophical Psychology ( 23.3 and 23.4 ) actually came about. In addition, we will provide an outline of their overall structure and shortly summarize the featured papers.
In this paper I discuss some underlying motivations common to most strands of experimental philosophy, noting that most forms of experimental philosophy have a commitment to the claim that certain empirical evidence concerning the level of agreement on intuitive judgments across cultures, ethnic groups or socioeconomic strata impugns the role that intuitions play in traditional “armchair” philosophy. I then develop an argument to suggest that, even if one were to grant the truth of the data adduced by experimentalists regarding the (...) level of agreement—or lack thereof—regarding intuitive judgments among various groups, this would nevertheless not yet provide sufficient basis to reject the role of intuitions in traditional philosophical theorizing. Though this argument, if successful, will not prove fatal to all forms of experimental philosophy, it would limit the scope of experimental philosophical criticisms of traditional philosophical practice. (shrink)
This paper develops a sympathetic critique of recent experimental work on free will and moral responsibility. Section 1 offers a brief defense of the relevance of experimental philosophy to the free will debate. Section 2 reviews a series of articles in the experimental literature that probe intuitions about the "compatibility question"—whether we can be free and morally responsible if determinism is true. Section 3 argues that these studies have produced valuable insights on the factors that influence our judgments on the (...) compatibility question, but that their general approach suffers from significant practical and philosophical difficulties. Section 4 reviews experimental work addressing other aspects of the free will/moral responsibility debate, and section 5 concludes with a discussion of avenues for further research. (shrink)
Among the results of recent investigation of epistemic intuitions by experimental philosophers is the finding that epistemic intuitions show cultural variability between subjects of Western, East Asian and Indian Sub-continent origins. In this paper I ask whether the finding of this variation is evidence of cross-cultural variation in the folk-epistemological competences that give rise to these intuitions—in particular whether there is evidence of variation in subjects’ explicit or implicit theories of knowledge. I argue that positing cross-cultural variation in subjects’ implicit (...) theories of knowledge is not the only possible explanation of the intuitions, and I suggest other explanations, including the hypothesis that each subject’s implicit theory of knowledge might contain a heterogeneous set of heuristics for ascribing knowledge. Variation in intuitions, then, might be the result of within-subject heterogeneity rather than across-subject heterogeneity. (shrink)
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.
In the free will literature, some compatibilists and some incompatibilists claim that their views best capture ordinary intuitions concerning free will and moral responsibility. One goal of researchers working in the field of experimental philosophy has been to probe ordinary intuitions in a controlled and systematic way to help resolve these kinds of intuitional stalemates. We contribute to this debate by presenting new data about folk intuitions concerning freedom and responsibility that correct for some of the shortcomings of previous studies. (...) These studies also illustrate some problems that pertain to all of the studies that have been run thus far. (shrink)
Two experiments are reported which investigate the factors that influence how persuaded mathematicians are by visual arguments. We demonstrate that if a visual argument is accompanied by a passage of text which describes the image, both research-active mathematicians and successful undergraduate mathematics students perceive it to be significantly more persuasive than if no text is given. We suggest that mathematicians’ epistemological concerns about supporting a claim using visual images are less prominent when the image is described in words. Finally we (...) suggest that empirical studies can make a useful contribution to our understanding of mathematical practice. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine Adam Feltz and Edward Cokely’s recent claim that “the personality trait extraversion predicts people’s intuitions about the relationship of determinism to free will and moral responsibility”. We will first present some criticisms of their work before briefly examining the results of a recent study of our own. We argue that while Feltz and Cokely have their finger on the pulse of an interesting and important issue, they have not established a robust and stable connection between (...) extraversion and compatibilist-friendly intuitions. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy (henceforth “XΦ”) takes seriously the idea that philosophical inquiry may benefit directly from quantitative empirical research. That view strikes many as deeply misguided, perhaps oxymoronic: experimentation is simply the wrong kind of investigatory technique for solving philosophical puzzles. But to think XΦ an oxymoron is to have an opinion about the relationship between scientific and philosophical inquiry – in particular, that philosophy and science are distinct, independent enterprises each pursuable on its own terms. We argue that this ‘separate (...) but equal’ view of science and philosophy cannot be maintained. (shrink)
Do facts about water have a priori, transparent, reductive explanations in terms of microphysics? Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker hold that they do not. David Chalmers and Frank Jackson hold that they do. In this paper I argue that Chalmers.
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.
In this paper we discuss studies that show that most people do not find determinism to be incompatible with free will and moral responsibility if determinism is described in a way that does not suggest mechanistic reductionism. However, if determinism is described in a way that suggests reductionism, that leads people to interpret it as threatening to free will and responsibility. We discuss the implications of these results for the philosophical debates about free will, moral responsibility, and determinism.