Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):225-226 (2009)
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 of scientific concepts and the nature of conceptual change in science. What they are lacking is some more objective quantitative data supporting their hypotheses. A growing number of philosophers , along with a few psychologists and anthropologists, have tried to remedy this situation by designing experiments aimed at systematically exploring people’s reactions to philosophically important thought experiments or scientists’ use of their scientific concepts. Many of the results have been surprising and some of the conclusions drawn from them have been more than a bit provocative. This symposium attempts to provide a window into this new field of philosophical inquiry and to show how experimental philosophy provides crucial tools for the philosopher and encourages two-way interactions between scientists and philosophers.Keywords: Experimental philosophy; Naturalism; Continuity thesis; Philosophy of science; Quantitative data
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