The Challenges Involved with Going Negative

Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 34 (3):465-479 (2017)
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One rather common way of doing philosophy involves what is called “the method of cases,” where philosophers design hypothetical cases and use what we think about those cases—our “philosophical intuitions”—as evidence that certain philosophical theories are true or false, and as reasons for believing that those theories are true or false. This way of doing philosophy has been challenged in recent years on the basis of both general epistemological considerations and more specific methodological concerns. These methodological concerns have focused not on whether philosophical intuitions can be a good source of evidence, but rather on whether they can be used in the ways that they currently are used in actual philosophical practice given how little we know about them and some of the worrisome things that we have learned about them in recent years. My goal here is to provide you with a short introduction to this way of challenging to how philosophers use the method of cases, and to walk you through some of the more popular ways of responding to this kind of methodological challenge and some of their shortcomings.



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The Philosophy of Philosophy.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Routledge.
Intuitions in philosophy: a minimal defense.David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (3):535-544.

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