Recent experimental philosophy arguments have raised trouble for philosophers' reliance on armchair intuitions. One popular line of response has been the expertise defense: philosophers are highly-trained experts, whereas the subjects in the experimental philosophy studies have generally been ordinary undergraduates, and so there's no reason to think philosophers will make the same mistakes. But this deploys a substantive empirical claim, that philosophers' training indeed inculcates sufficient protection from such mistakes. We canvass the psychological literature on expertise, which indicates that people (...) are not generally very good at reckoning who will develop expertise under what circumstances. We consider three promising hypotheses concerning what philosophical expertise might consist in: (i) better conceptual schemata; (ii) mastery of entrenched theories; and (iii) general practical know-how with the entertaining of hypotheticals. On inspection, none seem to provide us with good reason to endorse this key empirical premise of the expertise defense. (shrink)
Jennifer Nagel (2010) has recently proposed a fascinating account of the decreased tendency to attribute knowledge in conversational contexts in which unrealized possibilities of error have been mentioned. Her account appeals to epistemic egocentrism, or what is sometimes called the curse of knowledge, an egocentric bias to attribute our own mental states to other people (and sometimes our own future and past selves). Our aim in this paper is to investigate the empirical merits of Nagel’s hypothesis about the psychology involved (...) in knowledge attribution. (shrink)
It has become increasingly popular to respond to experimental philosophy by suggesting that experimental philosophers haven’t been studying the right kind of thing. One version of this kind of response, which we call the reflection defense, involves suggesting both that philosophers are interested only in intuitions that are the product of careful reflection on the details of hypothetical cases and the key concepts involved in those cases, and that these kinds of philosophical intuitions haven’t yet been adequately studied by experimental (...) philosophers. Of course, as a defensivemove, thisworks only if reflective intuitions are immune from the kinds of problematic effects that form the basis of recent experimental challenges to philosophy’s intuition-deploying practices. If they are not immune to these kinds of effects, then the fact that experimental philosophers have not had the right kind of thing in their sights would provide little comfort to folks invested in philosophy’s intuition-deploying practices. Here we provide reasons to worry that even reflective intuitions can display sensitivity to the same kinds of problematic effects, although possibly in slightly different ways. As it turns out, being reflective might sometimes just mean being wrong in a different way. (shrink)
Sackris and Beebe (2014) report the results of a series of studies that seem to show that there are cases in which many people are willing to attribute knowledge to a protagonist even when her belief is unjustified. These results provide some reason to conclude that the folk concept of knowledge does not treat justification as necessary for its deployment. In this paper, we report a series of results that can be seen as supporting this conclusion by going some way (...) towards ruling out an alternative account of Sackris and Beebe’s results—the possibility that the knowledge attributions that they witnessed largely stem from protagonist projection, a phenomenon in language use and interpretation in which the speaker uses words that the relevant protagonist might use to describe her own situation and the listener interprets the speaker accordingly. With that said, we do caution the reader against drawing the conclusion too strongly, on the basis of results like those reported here and by Sackris and Beebe. There are alternative possibilities regarding what drives the observed knowledge attributions in cases of unjustified true belief that must be ruled out before, on the basis of such results, we can conclude with much confidence that the folk concept of knowledge does not treat justification as necessary for its deployment. (shrink)
Meeting grand challenges requires responses that constructively combine multiple forms of expertise, both academic and non-academic; that is, it requires cross-disciplinary integration. But just what is cross-disciplinary integration? In this paper, we supply a preliminary answer by reviewing prominent accounts of cross-disciplinary integration from two literatures that are rarely brought together: cross-disciplinarity and philosophy of biology. Reflecting on similarities and differences in these accounts, we develop a framework that integrates their insights—integration as a generic combination process the details of which (...) are determined by the specific contexts in which particular integrations occur. One such context is cross-disciplinary research, which yields cross-disciplinary integration. We close by reflecting on the potential applicability of this framework to research efforts aimed at meeting grand challenges. (shrink)
The practice of appealing to esoteric intuitions, long standard in analytic philosophy, has recently fallen on hard times. Various recent empirical results have suggested that philosophers are not currently able to distinguish good intuitions from bad. This paper evaluates one possible type of approach to this problematic methodological situation: calibration. Both critiquing and building on an argument from Robert Cummins, the paper explores what possible avenues may exist for the calibration of philosophical intuitions. It is argued that no good options (...) are currently available, but leaves open the real possibility of such a calibration in the future. (shrink)
This article examines the relevance of survey data of scientists’ attitudes about science and values to case studies in philosophy of science. We describe two methodological challenges confronting such case studies: 1) small samples, and 2) potential for bias in selection, emphasis, and interpretation. Examples are given to illustrate that these challenges can arise for case studies in the science and values literature. We propose that these challenges can be mitigated through an approach in which case studies and survey methods (...) are viewed as complementary, and use data from the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative to illustrate this claim. (shrink)
Disagreement is a hot topic right now in epistemology, where there is spirited debate between epistemologists who argue that we should be moved by the fact that we disagree and those who argue that we need not. Both sides to this debate often use what is commonly called “the method of cases,” designing hypothetical cases involving peer disagreement and using what we think about those cases as evidence that specific normative theories are true or false, and as reasons for believing (...) as such. With so much weight being given in the epistemology of disagreement to what people think about cases of peer disagreement, our goal in this paper is to examine what kinds of things might shape how people think about these kinds of cases. We will show that two different kinds of framing effect shape how people think about cases of peer disagreement, and examine both what this means for how the method of cases is used in the epistemology of disagreement and what this might tell us about the role that motivated cognition is playing in debates about which normative positions about peer disagreement are right and wrong. (shrink)
Philosophical dialogue has the power to improve interdisciplinary scientific research. The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI) conducts workshops that foster philosophical dialogue among interdisciplinary researchers. This chapter focuses on 20 of these workshops, all of which used the Toolbox STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) instrument and were conducted with interdisciplinary research teams of scientists. We analyze data from some of these workshops and demonstrate that philosophical dialogues conducted using the Toolbox method have two salutary effects. First, they lead to a (...) significant increase in belief formation about philosophical topics relevant to interdisciplinary science. Scientists sometimes do not have preconceived commitments on issues in philosophy of science, and Toolbox workshops tend to prompt them to adopt views on these topics. Second, these philosophical …. (shrink)
When developing computational models to analyze the tradeoffs between climate risk management strategies (i.e., mitigation, adaptation, or geoengineering), scientists make explicit and implicit decisions that are influenced by their beliefs, values and preferences. Model descriptions typically include only the explicit decisions and are silent on value judgments that may explain these decisions. Eliciting scientists’ mental models, a systematic approach to determining how they think about climate risk management, can help to gain a clearer understanding of their modeling decisions. In order (...) to identify and represent the role of values, beliefs and preferences on decisions, we used an augmented mental models research approach, namely values-informed mental models (ViMM). We conducted and qualitatively analyzed interviews with eleven climate risk management scientists. Our results suggest that these scientists use a similar decision framework to each other to think about modeling climate risk management tradeoffs, including eight specific decisions ranging from defining the model objectives to evaluating the model’s results. The influence of values on these decisions varied between our scientists and between the specific decisions. For instance, scientists invoked ethical values (e.g., concerns about human welfare) when defining objectives, but epistemic values (e.g., concerns about model consistency) were more influential when evaluating model results. ViMM can (i) enable insights that can inform the design of new computational models and (ii) make value judgments explicit and more inclusive of relevant values. This transparency can help model users to better discern the relevance of model results to their own decision framing and concerns. (shrink)
In this article, we describe a project in which philosophy, in combination with methods drawn from mental modeling, was used to structure dialogue among stakeholders in a region-scale climate adaptation process. The case study we discuss synthesizes the Toolbox dialogue method, a philosophically grounded approach to enhancing communication and collaboration in complex research and practice, with a mental modeling approach rooted in risk analysis, assessment, and communication to structure conversations among non-academic stakeholders who have a common interest in planning for (...) a sustainable future. We begin by describing the background of this project, including details about climate resiliency efforts in West Michigan and the Toolbox dialogue method, which was extended in this project from academic research into community organization involving the West Michigan Climate Resiliency Framework Initiative. This extension involved application of several methods, which are the focus of the Methods section. We then present and discuss preliminary results that suggest the potential for philosophical dialogue to enhance mutual understanding in complex community initiatives that focus on sustainable responses to climate change. Overall, the article supplies a detailed, instructive example of how philosophy can support policy-relevant decision-making processes at the community level. (shrink)
It is argued that core areas of philosophy can benefit from reflection on cross-disciplinary research (CDR). We start by giving a brief account of CDR, describing its variability and some of the ways in which philosophers can interact with it. We then provide an argument in principle for the conclusion that CDR is philosophically fecund, arguing that since CDR highlights fundamental differences among disciplinary research worldviews, it can be used to motivate new philosophical problems and supply new insights into old (...) problems. We close by providing an argument by example that uses the epistemology of peer disagreement to establish the potential of CDR for core philosophical areas. With this argument, we aim to demonstrate how the complex research contexts that CDR affords can point the way toward important avenues of epistemological research by highlighting potential limitations of key epistemological components, such as peerage and uniqueness. (shrink)
Our view is that the folk concept of knowing how is more complicated than many epistemologists assume. We present four studies that go some way towards supporting our view—that the folk concept of knowledge-how is a philosophical hybrid, comprising both intellectualist and anti-intellectualist features. One upshot is, if we are going to award a presumptive status to philosophical theories of know-how that best accord with the folk concept, it ought to go to those that combine intellectualist and anti-intellectualist elements.
We present several new studies focusing on “salience effects”—the decreased tendency to attribute knowledge to someone when an unrealized possibility of error has been made salient in a given conversational context. These studies suggest a complicated picture of epistemic universalism: there may be structural universals, universal epistemic parameters that influence epistemic intuitions, but that these parameters vary in such a way that epistemic intuitions, in either their strength or propositional content, can display patterns of genuine cross-cultural diversity.
A small but growing body of philosophically informed survey work calls into question whether the value-free ideal is a dominant viewpoint among scientists. However, the survey instruments in used in these studies have important limitations. Previous work has also made little headway in developing hypotheses that might predict or explain differing views about the value-free ideal among scientists. In this article, we review previous survey work on this topic, describe an improved survey instrument, report results from an initial administration of (...) it that strengthen and refine previous results, and develop two hypotheses that may account for gender effects found in the data. (shrink)
This chapter reviews research in the experimental philosophy of consciousness. It discusses recent debates about how to characterize experimental philosophy in general. It then gives an origins story for the experimental philosophy of consciousness, emphasizing work that could be taken to support the claim that there is no folk concept of phenomenal consciousness. It then gets into two strands of subsequent research: work on the folk psychology of group phenomenal minds and work on the cognitive systems responsible for ordinary attributions (...) of phenomenal states in general. (shrink)
Research integrating the perspectives of different disciplines, or interdisciplinary research, has become increasingly common in academia and is considered important for its ability to address complex questions and problems. This mode of research aims to leverage differences among disciplines in generating a more complex understanding of the research landscape. To interact successfully with other disciplines, researchers must appreciate their differences, and this requires recognizing how the research landscape looks from the perspective of other disciplines. One central aspect of these disciplinary (...) perspectives involves values, and more specifically, the roles that values do, may, and should play in research practice. It is reasonable to think that disciplines differ in part because of the different views that their practitioners have on these roles. This paper represents a step in the direction of evaluating this thought. Operating at the level of academic branches, which comprise relevantly similar disciplines (e.g. social and behavioral sciences), this paper uses quantitative techniques to investigate whether academic branches differ in terms of views on the impact of values on research. Somewhat surprisingly, we find very little relation between differences in these views and differences in academic branch. We discuss these findings from a philosophical perspective to conclude the paper. (shrink)
This paper contributes to the underdeveloped field of experimental philosophy of science. We examine variability in the philosophical views of scientists. Using data from Toolbox Dialogue Initiative, we analyze scientists’ responses to prompts on philosophical issues (methodology, confirmation, values, reality, reductionism, and motivation for scientific research) to assess variance in the philosophical views of physical scientists, life scientists, and social and behavioral scientists. We find six prompts about which differences arose, with several more that look promising for future research. We (...) then evaluate the difference between the natural and social sciences and the challenge of interdisciplinary integration across scientific branches. (shrink)
Environmental problems often outstrip the abilities of any single scientist to understand, much less address them. As a result, collaborations within, across, and beyond the environmental sciences are an increasingly important part of the environmental science landscape. Here, we explore an insufficiently recognized and particularly challenging barrier to collaborative environmental science: value pluralism, the presence of non-trivial differences in the values that collaborators bring to bear on project decisions. We argue that resolving the obstacles posed by value pluralism to collaborative (...) environmental science requires detecting and coordinating the underlying problematic value differences. We identify five ways that a team might coordinate their problematic value differences and argue that, whichever mode is adopted, it ought to be governed by participatory virtues, pragmatic resolve, and moral concern. Relying on our experiences with the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative, as well as with other dialogical approaches that support team inquiry, we defend the claim that philosophical dialogue among collaborators can go a long way towards helping teams of environmental scientists and fellow travelers detect their problematic value differences. Where dialogical approaches fare less well is in helping teams coordinate these differences. We close by describing several principles for augmenting philosophical dialogue with other methods, and we list several of these methods in an appendix with brief descriptions and links for further learning. Overall, the article makes three main contributions to the research collaboration and values in science literatures: It deepens our understanding of problematic value pluralism in team science; It provides actionable guidance and methods for improving values-oriented philosophical dialogue interventions; and It demonstrates one way of doing engaged philosophy. (shrink)
Machery's case against hybrids rests on a principle that is too strong, even by his own lights. And there are likely important generalizations to be made about hybrids, if they do exist. Moreover, even if there were no important generalizations about concepts themselves, the term picks out an important class of entities and should be retained to help guide inquiry.
Experimental philosophy (or “x-phi”) is a way of doing philosophy. It is “traditional” philosophy, but with a little something extra: In addition to the expected philosophical arguments and engagement, x-phi involves the use of empirical methods to test the empirical claims that arise. This extra bit strikes some as a new, perhaps radical, addition to philosophical practice. We don’t think so. As this chapter will show, empirical claims have been common across the history of Western philosophy, as have appeals to (...) empirical observation in attempting to support or subvert these claims. While conceptions of philosophy have changed over time, across these changes we find philosophers employing empirical methods in pursuing their philosophical questions. Our primary aim in this chapter is to illustrate this fact. We begin by discussing the relevance of history to experimental philosophy (Section 2), then offer a necessarily condensed and highly selective history of empirical work in Western philosophy, ranging from the ancients (Section 3), to the early moderns (Section 4), to the late moderns (Section 5), and on to the present (Section 6). (shrink)
This document contains the appendices, which provides the stimulus materials, for the four studies reported in: Gonnerman, Mortensen, & Robbins (forthcoming). KNOWING HOW as a philosophical hybrid. Synthese. -/- .
We present three experiments that explore the robustness of the authentic-apparent effect—the finding that participants are less likely to attribute knowledge to the protagonist in apparent- than in authentic-evidence Gettier cases. The results go some way towards suggesting that the effect is robust to assessments of the justificatory status of the protagonist’s belief. However, not all of the results are consistent with an effect invariant across two demographic contexts: American and Indian nationalities.
Recently Joshua Knobe and Erica Roedder found that folk attributions of valuing tend to vary according to the perceived moral goodness of the object of value. This is an interesting finding, but it remains unclear what, precisely, it means. Knobe and Roedder argue that it indicates that the concept MORAL GOODNESS is a feature of the concept VALUING. In this article, I present a study of folk attributions of desires and moral beliefs that undermines this conclusion. I then propose the (...) beginnings of an alternative interpretation of the data that appeals to intrinsic biases in our third-person mindreading mechanisms. (shrink)
There is no shortage of scientists who are skeptical of the power of philosophy. Philosophers themselves have had similar reservations about philosophy, at least as it is typically studied and taught in universities. It can be easy enough to feel the force of these complaints, as it is not uncommon for academic philosophers to lose the forest for the trees. It doesn’t have to be this way. Philosophers can be better at explaining how their abstract theorizing bears on concrete problems, (...) and they can spend more time directly addressing these concrete problems. There are plenty of philosophers who acknowledge this, and many of them engage in research programs that do what we call engaged philosophy. The work of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI) is part of this landscape. This chapter describes TDI’s engaged philosophy as practiced in its dialogue-based workshops with cross-disciplinary teams. (shrink)
Reflexivity is a complex phenomenon. In this chapter, we are primarily interested in reflexivity insofar as it is a process of discovering for oneself and one’s audiences the perspectival features (e.g., background assumptions, social positions, and biases) that shape one’s judgments, decisions, and behaviors. So understood, reflexivity isn’t always a good idea. Sometimes thinking can get in the way of doing. (Downhill ski racing springs to mind.) But for some activities, such as action research, reflexivity is critical for doing the (...) activity well. While the value of reflexivity for action research is well understood, we believe that there is a form of reflexivity underappreciated in some research circles – philosophical reflexivity. In this chapter, we outline this form, argue for its importance in sound action research, and offer a technique, the Toolbox approach, for facilitating it. (shrink)
One way to articulate the promise of interdisciplinary research is in terms of the relationship between knowledge and ignorance. Disciplinary research yields deep knowledge of a circumscribed range of issues, but remains ignorant of those issues that stretch outside its purview. Because complex problems such as climate change do not respect disciplinary boundaries, disciplinary research responses to such problems are limited and partial. Interdisciplinary research responses, by contrast, integrate disciplinary perspectives by combining knowledge about different issues and as a result (...) reduce ignorance about more aspects of the problem. In this paper, we develop this idea and argue that while interdisciplinary research can help remediate damaging ignorance about complex problems, it also creates conditions in which other damaging forms of ignorance can arise. We illustrate this point in detail with three case studies before discussing three implications of our analysis for identifying and managing deleterio... (shrink)