Three Roles of Empirical Information in Philosophy: Intuitions on Mathematics do Not Come for Free

Kriterion – Journal of Philosophy 35 (3):247-278 (2021)
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This work gives a new argument for ‘Empirical Philosophy of Mathematical Practice’. It analyses different modalities on how empirical information can influence philosophical endeavours. We evoke the classical dichotomy between “armchair” philosophy and empirical/experimental philosophy, and claim that the latter should in turn be subdivided in three distinct styles: Apostate speculator, Informed analyst, and Freeway explorer. This is a shift of focus from the source of the information towards its use by philosophers. We present several examples from philosophy of mind/science and ethics on one side and a case study from philosophy of mathematics on the other. We argue that empirically informed philosophy of mathematics is different from the rest in a way that encourages a Freeway explorer approach, because intuitions about mathematical objects are often unavailable for non-mathematicians. This consideration is supported by a case study in set theory.



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Author Profiles

Deniz Sarikaya
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Deborah Kant
Universität Hamburg

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Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to the Actor-Network Theory.Bruno Latour - 2005 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Epiphenomenal qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.

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