Mind and Language 35 (4):415-439 (2020)

Eugen Fischer
University of East Anglia
Many philosophical thought experiments and arguments involve unusual cases. We present empirical reasons to doubt the reliability of intuitive judgments and conclusions about such cases. Inferences and intuitions prompted by verbal case descriptions are influenced by routine comprehension processes which invoke stereotypes. We build on psycholinguistic findings to determine conditions under which the stereotype associated with the most salient sense of a word predictably supports inappropriate inferences from descriptions of unusual (stereotype-divergent) cases. We conduct an experiment that combines plausibility ratings with pupillometry to document this “salience bias.” We find that under certain conditions, competent speakers automatically make stereotypical inferences they know to be inappropriate.
Keywords comprehension inferences  non‐contextual salience  philosophical intuitions  philosophical method  pupillometry  stereotypes
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DOI 10.1111/mila.12249
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References found in this work BETA

Intuitions and Experiments: A Defense of the Case Method in Epistemology.Jennifer Nagel - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3):495-527.
The Reliability of Epistemic Intuitions.Kenneth Boyd & Jennifer Nagel - 2014 - In Edouard Machery & O'Neill Elizabeth (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 109-127.

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