Descriptive accounts of the nature of explanation in neuroscience and the global goals of such explanation have recently proliferated in the philosophy of neuroscience and with them new understandings of the experimental practices of neuroscientists have emerged. In this paper, I consider two models of such practices; one that takes them to be reductive; another that takes them to be integrative. I investigate those areas of the neuroscience of learning and memory from which the examples used to substantiate these (...) models are culled, and argue that the multiplicity of experimental protocols used in these research areas presents specific challenges for both models. In my view, these challenges have been overlooked largely because philosophers have hitherto failed to pay sufficient attention to fundamental features of experimental practice. I demonstrate that when we do pay attention to such features, evidence for reduction and integrative unity in neuroscience is simply not borne out. I end by suggesting some new directions for the philosophy of neuroscience that pertain to taking a closer look at the nature of neuroscientific experiments. (shrink)
In this paper we give additional arguments in favor of the point of view that the violation of Bell, CHSH and CH inequalities is not due to a mysterious non locality of nature. We concentrate on an intimate relation between a protocol of a random experiment and a probabilistic model which is used to describe it. We discuss in a simple way differences between attributive joint probability distributions and generalized joint probability distributions of outcomes from distant experiments which depend (...) on how the pairing of these outcomes is defined. We analyze in detail experimental protocols implied by local realistic and stochastic hidden variable models and show that they are incompatible with the protocols used in spin polarization correlation experiments. We discuss also the meaning of “free will”, differences between quantum and classical filters, contextuality of Kolmogorov models, contextuality of quantum theory and show how this contextuality has to be taken into account in probabilistic models trying to explain in an intuitive way the predictions of QT. The long range imperfect correlations between the clicks of distant detectors can be explained by partially preserved correlations between the signals created by a source. These correlations can only be preserved if the clicks are produced in a local and deterministic way depending on intrinsic parameters describing signals and measuring devices in the moment of the measurement. If an act of a measurement was irreducibly random they would be destroyed. It seems to indicate that QT may be in fact emerging from some underlying more detailed theory of physical phenomena. If this was a case then there is a chance to find in time series of experimental data some fine structures not predicted by QT. This would be a major discovery because it would not only prove that QT does not provide a complete description of individual physical systems but it would prove that it is not predictably complete. (shrink)
Why games? How could anyone consider action games an experimental paradigm for Cognitive Science? In 1973, as one of three strategies he proposed for advancing Cognitive Science, Allen Newell exhorted us to “accept a single complex task and do all of it.” More specifically, he told us that rather than taking an “experimental psychology as usual approach,” we should “focus on a series of experimental and theoretical studies around a single complex task” so as to demonstrate that (...) our theories of human cognition were powerful enough to explain “a genuine slab of human behavior” with the studies fitting into a detailed theoretical picture. Action games represent the type of experimental paradigm that Newell was advocating and the current state of programming expertise and laboratory equipment, along with the emergence of Big Data and naturally occurring datasets, provide the technologies and data needed to realize his vision. Action games enable us to escape from our field's regrettable focus on novice performance to develop theories that account for the full range of expertise through a twin focus on expertise sampling and longitudinal studies of simple and complex tasks. (shrink)
We review the use of introspective and phenomenological methods in experimental settings. We distinguish diﬀerent senses of introspection, and further distinguish phenomenological method from introspectionist approaches. Two ways of using phenomenology in experimental procedures are identiﬁed: ﬁrst, the neurophenomenological method, proposed by Varela, involves the training of experimental subjects. This approach has been directly and productively incorporated into the protocol of experiments on perception. A second approach may have wider application and does not involve training (...) class='Hi'>experimental subjects in phenomenological method. It requires front-loading phenomenological insights into experimental design. A number of experiments employing this approach are reviewed. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for both the cognitive sciences and phenomenology. Ó 2006 Published by Elsevier Inc. (shrink)
We report in this paper the result of three experiments on risk, ambiguity and time attitude. The first two differed by the population considered (students vs. general population) while the third one used a different protocol and concerned students and portfolio managers. We find quite a lot of heterogeneity at the individual level. Of principal interest was the elicitation of risk, time and ambiguity attitudes and the relationship among these (model free) measures. We find that on the student population, (...) there is essentially no correlation. A non negligible fraction of the population behaves in an extremely cautious manner in the risk and ambiguity domain. When we drop this population from the sample, the correlation between our measures is also non significant. We also raise three questions linked to measurement of ambiguity attitudes that come out from our data sets. (shrink)
There is a persistent methodological problem in primate mindreading research, dubbed the 'logical problem,' over how to determine experimentally whether chimpanzees are mindreaders or just clever behavior-readers of a certain sort. The problem has persisted long enough that some researchers have concluded that it is intractable. The logical problem, I argue, is tractable but only with experimental protocols that are fundamentally different from those that have been currently used or suggested. In the first section, I describe what the logical (...) problem is and how it can, in principle, be solved. In the second section, I illustrate how a well-known experimentalprotocol by Hare et al. fails to solve the logical problem. In the third section, I do the same for a protocol by Heyes . .) In the fourth section, I describe a novel experimentalprotocol for visual perspective-taking and argue that it succeeds to discriminate between the relevant mindreading and behavior-reading hypotheses. In addition, this new experimentalprotocol employs procedures that are realistic enough to suppose that chimpanzees might very well succeed in passing them. (shrink)
A persistent methodological problem in primate social cognition research has been how to determine experimentally whether primates represent the internal goals of other agents or just the external goals of their actions. This is an instance of Daniel Povinelli’s more general challenge that no experimentalprotocol currently used in the field is capable of distinguishing genuine mindreading animals from their complementary behavior-reading counterparts. We argue that current methods used to test for internal-goal attribution in primates do not solve (...) Povinelli’s problem. To overcome the problem, a new type of experimental approach is needed, one which is supported by an alternative theoretical account of animal mindreading, called the appearance-reality mindreading (ARM) theory. We provide an outline of the ARM theory and show how it can be used to design a novel way to test for internal-goal attribution in chimpanzees. Unlike protocols currently in use, the experimental design presented here has the power, in principle and in practice, to distinguish genuine mindreading chimpanzees from those who predict others’ behavior solely on the basis of behavioral/environmental cues. Our solution to Povinelli’s problem has important consequences for a similar debate in developmental psychology over when preverbal infants should be credited with the ability to attribute internal goals. If what we argue for here in the case of nonhuman primates is sound, then the clearest tests for internal-goal attribution in infants will be those that test for attributions of discrepant or ‘false’ perceptions. (shrink)
There is considerable debate in comparative psychology and philosophy over whether nonhuman animals can attribute beliefs. The empirical studies that suggest that they can are shown to be inconclusive, and the main philosophical and empirical arguments that purport to show they cannot are shown to be invalid or weak. What is needed to move the debate and the field forward, it is argued, is a fundamentally new experimentalprotocol for testing belief attribution in animals, one capable of distinguishing (...) genuine belief-attributing subjects from their perceptual-state attributing and behavior-reading counterparts. Such a protocol is outlined and defended. The rest, it is argued, is in the hands of experimentalists. (shrink)
Methods and equations for analysing the kinetics of enzyme-catalysed reactions were developed at the beginning of the 20th century in two centres in particular; in Paris, by Victor Henri, and, in Berlin, by Leonor Michaelis and Maud Menten. Henri made a detailed analysis of the work in this area that had preceded him, and arrived at a correct equation for the initial rate of reaction. However, his approach was open to the important objection that he took no account of the (...) hydrogen-ion concentration (a subject largely undeveloped in his time). In addition, although he wrote down an expression for the initial rate of reaction and described the hyperbolic form of its dependence on the substrate concentration, he did not appreciate the great advantages that would come from analysis in terms of initial rates rather than time courses. Michaelis and Menten not only placed Henri's analysis on a firm experimental foundation, but also defined the experimentalprotocol that remains standard today. Here, we review this development, and discuss other scientific contributions of these individuals. The three parts have different authors, as indicated, and do not necessarily agree on all details, in particular about the relative importance of the contributions of Michaelis and Menten on the one hand and of Henri on the other. Rather than force the review into an unrealistic consensus, we consider it appropriate to leave the disagreements visible. (shrink)
En este artículo tratamos sobre los aspectos empíricos y conceptuales en la Genética Mendeliana y analizamos los vínculos entre ellos. Primero discutimos las ventajas de una representación gráfica de las teorías empíricas; luego pormenorizamos la estructura conceptual de la genécica; en seguida, esquematizamos su protocolo experimental, a continuación destacamos los engarces entre ambas representaciones y, por último, proporcionamos una caracterización holista de la práctica genética, donde el representar y el intervenir se encucntran entremezclados.In this article we deal with the (...) conceptual and empirical features of Mendelian Genetics, and analyze the links between them. First we discuss the challenges of portraying empirical theories as graphical representations. We then give a detailed account of the conceptual structure underlying Mendelian Genetics, followed by a schematization of the experimentalprotocol involved in this line of research. Links between both representations are highlighted. Finally, we provide a holistic characterization of Mendelian practice, where representing and intervening are intertwined. (shrink)
Lurz and Krachun propose a new experimentalprotocol designed to discriminate genuine mindreading animals from mere behavior-readers and to give evidence in favor of the claim that chimpanzees are capable of attributing internal goals to others. They suggest that chimpanzees' variety of "internal goal attribution" consists in attributing to others basic intentional representations, baptized by Millikan as "pushmi-pullyu representations". Now, Millikan distinguishes what I propose to call 'pure' PPs from more complex varieties of PPs, which allow their owners (...) to respond more flexibly to their environments. But, what would happen if we tried to differentiate, analogously, between more or less sophisticated mind-readers in virtue of the sorts of PPs that they could attribute to others? What would attributing complex PPs consist in and how would such capacity increase the predictive powers of chimpanzee mind-readers? This paper offers an answer to these questions. Based on Millikan's work, I differentiate two varieties of complex PPs. Then, I examine what a basic mind-reader, only capable of attributing 'pure' PPs, would be able to do. After that, I distinguish two more sophisticated varieties of mindreading, each consisting in the attribution of one of the complex PPs previously presented, and I show how the ability to attribute complex PPs to others comes with more potent and flexible capacities to anticipate their behavior. Finally, I offer some reasons to think that attributing complex PPs is still simpler than full-blown mindreading and I briefly evaluate the prospects of extending this proposal to infant social cognition. (shrink)
Scientific development influences philosophical thought, and vice versa. If philosophy is to be of any use to the production, evaluation or application of biochemical knowledge, biochemistry will have to explicate its needs. This paper concentrates on the need for a philosophical analysis of methodological challenges in biochemistry, above all the problematic relation between in vitro experiments and the desire for in vivo knowledge. This problem receives much attention within biochemistry, but the focus is on practical detail. It is discussed how (...) a theoretical analysis can go beyond a naïve understanding of scientific success and failure in such cases. Several examples are presented to elucidate this issue, including the methodological implications of the precautionary principle, the possible interplay between theoretical methodology of biochemistry and the science studies, and the methodological complexities related to experimentalprotocol standardisation and use of instruments and kits. (shrink)
Based on the historical case of galvanic experimentation in Germany, I identify five types of experimentation which explored and shaped the new phenomenon rather than tested theoretical predictions. Verification evaluated initial reports of Galvani's phenomenon. Simplification reduced the experimentalprotocol to the fewest and most basic steps. Optimization found experimental conditions that magnified the observed effect. Exploration tested a wide variety of metals, animals or configurations. Application modified the experiment to address unresolved related problems. Attempts to derive (...) laws of the phenomenon or establish its underlying causes were unsuccessful primarily due to the great variability of the experimental results. (shrink)
The ever-increasing precision of brain measurement brings with it a demand for more reliable and fine-grained measures of conscious experience. However, introspection has long been assumed to be too limited and fallible. This skepticism is primarily based on a series of classic psychological experiments, which suggested that more is seen than can be retrospectively reported , and that we can be easily fooled into retrospectively describing intentional choices that we have never made . However, the work by Petitmengin, Remillieux, Cahour, (...) and Carter-Thomas could resolve this dilemma. They showed that subjects can be interactively guided to become better aware of their past experience, thereby overturning the “choice blindness” results of Johansson et al. . Although some more fine-tuning of the experimentalprotocol is needed, interactively guided introspection may well become the most reliable and exhaustive measure of consciousness. (shrink)
As do all forms of science, medical theories have a factual as well as a logical basis. New information is presented in medical research articles. These papers have three separate arguments: the argument of the hypothesis, the argument of the experimentalprotocol, and the argument of the hypothesis's judgment. These arguments may be examples of the hypothetico-deductive or confirmational model of scientific inference. The logical form of these arguments are informal and inductive rather than formal and deductive. Understanding (...) the nature of the logic of the medical research article may help avoid erroneous conclusions. (shrink)
That organisms have a concept “see” does not necessarily entail that they attribute knowledge to others or predict others' behaviors on the basis of inferred mental states. An alternative experimentalprotocol is proposed in which accurate prediction of the location of an experimenters' impending appearance is contingent upon subjects' attribution of knowledge to the experimenter.
Experimental philosophy offers an alternative mode of engagement for public philosophy, in which the public can play a participatory role. We organized two public events on the aesthetics of coffee that explored this alternative mode of engagement. The first event focuses on issues surrounding the communication of taste. The second event focuses on issues concerning ethical influences on taste. -/- In this paper, we report back on these two events which explored the possibility of doing experimental philosophical aesthetics (...) as public philosophy. We set the stage by considering the significance and current state of efforts in public philosophy, and by introducing the emerging sub-discipline of experimental philosophical aesthetics. Then, we discuss the research and outreach aspects of the two events on the aesthetics of coffee. Finally, we conclude by reflecting on the prospects and potential pitfalls of experimental philosophy as public philosophy. (shrink)
Once symbolized by a burning armchair, experimental philosophy has in recent years shifted away from its original hostility to traditional methods. Starting with a brief historical review of the experimentalist challenge to traditional philosophical practice, this chapter looks at research undercutting that challenge, and at ways in which experimental work has evolved to complement and strengthen traditional approaches to philosophical questions.
The topic is experimental philosophy as a naturalistic movement, and its bearing on the value of intuitions in philosophy. This paper explores first how the movement might bear on philosophy more generally, and how it might amount to something novel and promising. Then it turns to one accomplishment repeatedly claimed for it already: namely, the discrediting of armchair intuitions as used in philosophy.
What is the rationale for the methodological innovations of experimental philosophy? This paper starts from the contention that common answers to this question are implausible. It then develops a framework within which experimental philosophy fulfills a specific function in an otherwise traditionalist picture of philosophical inquiry. The framework rests on two principal ideas. The first is Frank Jackson’s claim that conceptual analysis is unavoidable in ‘serious metaphysics’. The second is that the psychological structure of concepts is extremely intricate, (...) much more so than early practitioners of conceptual analysis had realized. This intricacy has implications for the activity of analyzing concepts: while the central, coarser, more prominent contours of a concept may be identified from the armchair, the finer details of the concept’s structure require experimental methods to detect. (shrink)
Formal epistemology is just what it sounds like: epistemology done with formal tools. Coinciding with the general rise in popularity of experimental philosophy, formal epistemologists have begun to apply experimental methods in their own work. In this entry, I survey some of the work at the intersection of formal and experimental epistemology. I show that experimental methods have unique roles to play when epistemology is done formally, and I highlight some ways in which results from formal (...) epistemology have been used fruitfully to advance epistemically-relevant experimental work. The upshot of this brief, incomplete survey is that formal and experimental methods often constitute mutually informative means to epistemological ends. (shrink)
In the mid-seventeenth century a movement of self-styled experimental philosophers emerged in Britain. Originating in the discipline of natural philosophy amongst Fellows of the fledgling Royal Society of London, it soon spread to medicine and by the eighteenth century had impacted moral and political philosophy and even aesthetics. Early modern experimental philosophers gave epistemic priority to observation and experiment over theorising and speculation. They decried the use of hypotheses and system-building without recourse to experiment and, in some quarters, (...) developed a philosophy of experiment. The movement spread to the Netherlands and France in the early eighteenth century and later impacted Germany. Its important role in early modern philosophy was subsequently eclipsed by the widespread adoption of the Kantian historiography of modern philosophy, which emphasised the distinction between rationalism and empiricism and had no place for the historical phenomenon of early modern experimental philosophy. The re-emergence of interest in early modern experimental philosophy roughly coincided with the development of contemporary x-phi and there are some important similarities between the two. (shrink)
Much discussion about experimental philosophy and philosophical methodology has been framed in terms of the reliability of intuitions, and even when it has not been about reliability per se, it has been focused on whether intuitions meet whatever conditions they need to meet to be trustworthy as evidence. But really that question cannot be answered independently from the questions, evidence for what theories arrived at by what sorts of inferences? I will contend here that not just philosophy's sources of (...) evidence, but also its inferential resources, are in great need of closer examination. (shrink)
Examines the relevance of empirical studies of responsibility judgments for traditional philosophical concerns about free will and moral responsibility. We argue that experimental philosophy is relevant to the traditional debates, but that setting up experiments and interpreting data in just the right way is no less difficult than negotiating traditional philosophical arguments. Both routes are valuable, but so far neither promises a way to secure significant agreement among the competing parties. To illustrate, we focus on three sorts of issues. (...) For illustration, we discuss an error theory for incompatibilist intuitions proposed by Eddy Nahmias and colleagues, the role that empirical studies might have in the assessment of manipulation arguments for incompatibilism, and the suggestion that empirical studies reveal that core criteria for moral responsibility ought not to be applied invariantly across different sorts of cases. (shrink)
Humans often attribute the things that happen to one or another actual cause. In this chapter, we survey some recent philosophical and psychological research on causal attribution. We pay special attention to the relation between graphical causal modeling and theories of causal attribution. We think that the study of causal attribution is one place where formal and experimental techniques nicely complement one another.
Experimental philosophy brings empirical methods to philosophy. These methods are used to probe how people think about philosophically interesting things such as knowledge, morality, and freedom. This paper explores the contribution that qualitative methods have to make in this enterprise. I argue that qualitative methods have the potential to make a much greater contribution than they have so far. Along the way, I acknowledge a few types of resistance that proponents of qualitative methods in experimental philosophy might encounter, (...) and provide reasons to think they are ill-founded. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to argue that there has been some mismatch between the naturalist rhetoric of experimental philosophy and its actual practice: experimental philosophy is not necessarily, and not even paradigmatically, a naturalistic enterprise. To substantiate this claim, a case study is given for what genuinely naturalist experimental philosophy would look like.
The paper outlines the evolution of on-going meta-philosophical debates about intuitions, explains different notions of 'intuition' employed in these debates, and argues for the philosophical relevance of intuitions in an aetiological sense taken from cognitive psychology. On this basis, it advocates a new kind of methodological naturalism which it finds implicit, for instance, in the warrant project in experimental philosophy: a meta-philosophical naturalism that promotes the use of scientific methods in meta-philosophical investigations. This 'higher-order' naturalism is consistent with both (...) methodological naturalism and methodological rationalism about first-order philosophy, and can help us adjudicate between the two, in a piecemeal manner. (shrink)
Helmholtz's public reflection about the nature of the experiment and its role in the sciences is a historically important description, which also helps to analyze his own works. It is a part of his conception of science and nature, which can be seen as an ideal type of science and its goals. But its historical reach seems to be limited in an important respect. Helmholtz's understanding of experiments is based on the idea that their planning, realization and evaluation lies in (...) the hands of a person or group acting according to decisions of free will. In my opinion this idea is characteristic for the foundation of the experimental method in early modern times, not however for several forms of its present structures. Above all, the increasing technization of producing knowledge reduces the roIe of the subject in conducting experiments. My lecture consists of three parts. In its first part I would like to present a summary of Helmholtz's own theory of experiment and the change of his conception of science and nature. In the second part I would like to discuss three examples of his experimental practice, which were taken in chronological order from three different periods of his work; in the third part I would like to compare the examples with the change of his conception of science and nature. (shrink)
This paper summarizes recent and ongoing experimental work regarding the reality, nature, effects, and causes of the underrepresentation of women in academic philosophy. We first present empirical data on several aspects of underrepresentation, and then consider various reasons why this gender imbalance is problematic. We then turn to the published and preliminary results of empirical work aimed at identifying factors that might explain it.
Recent years have seen a continual rise of interest in the empirical study of questions traditionally located in moral philosophy, i.e., studies in Experimental Ethics. In this chapter we briefly outline the recent history of this field. To do so we have to cross disciplinary borders to quite some extent. Tracing the beginnings of Experimental Ethics back to early works in moral psychology, we delineate a sequence of theories which eventually flow into current Experimental Ethics. We then (...) briefly review four topics which are intensively investigated in Experimental Ethics at the moment: moral relativism, individual and cross-cultural differences in moral judgment, and interactions of moral evaluation with other philosophical concepts. We conclude with a short historically informed comment on the demarcation problem of Experimental Ethics. (shrink)
I examine two sets of experimental results about the semantics of general terms, by Genone and Lombrozo (2012) and by Nichols, Pinillos and Mallon (forthcoming) that allegedly reveal significant variations in semantic intuitions as regards the correct application of general terms. The two sets of authors propose two entirely different semantic treatments: Genone and Lombrozo espouse a hybrid semantics whereas Nichols, Pinillos and Mallon are inclined towards an appeal to ambiguity. I cast some doubts on the coherence of a (...) hybrid theory and argue in favor of the ambiguity approach. But I also argue that the sort of ambiguitiy Nichols, Pinillos and Mallon postulate is easy to incorporate to non-descriptivist approaches. (shrink)
Experimental semanticists have concluded that there is wide variation in referential intuitions among speakers, for it appears that some speakers display referential intuitions that are in line with descriptivism, whereas other speakers’ intuitions are in line with the predictions of the causal-historical picture. In this chapter, I first situate the debate by comparing descriptivist and non-descriptivist approaches to reference. After examining some of the experimental results, I argue that the tests conducted do not elicit data that are relevant (...) for semantic theorizing and, hence, that the results should not have an impact in the theory of reference. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that experimental ethics – like experimental economics – should also concern itself with field experiments. In particular, I defend two claims: a) that philosophers in normative ethics could considerably narrow down their disputes if they could agree on a wider range of socio-economic facts; and that b) the socio-economic facts that would be needed for this could only be generated by deliberate large-scale social experimentation. This essay normatively grounds my interest in special administration (...) zones. (shrink)
Experimental moral philosophy began to emerge as a methodology in the last decade of the twentieth century, a branch of the larger experimental philosophy (X-Phi, XΦ) approach. From the beginning, it has been embroiled in controversy on a number of fronts. Some doubt that it is philosophy at all. Others acknowledge that it is philosophy but think that it has produced modest results at best and confusion at worst. Still others think it represents an important advance.
In the past decade, experimental philosophy---the attempt at making progress on philosophical problems using empirical methods---has thrived in a wide range of domains. However, only in recent years has aesthetics succeeded in drawing the attention of experimental philosophers. The present paper constitutes the first survey of these works and of the nascent field of 'experimental philosophy of aesthetics'. We present both recent experimental works by philosophers on topics such as the ontology of aesthetics, aesthetic epistemology, aesthetic (...) concepts, and imagination, as well as research from other disciplines that not only are relevant to philosophy of aesthetics but also open new avenues of research for experimental philosophy of aesthetics. Overall, we conclude that the birth of an experimental philosophy of aesthetics is good news not only for aesthetics but also for experimental philosophy itself, as it contributes to broaden the scope of experimental philosophy. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy is often presented as a new movement that avoids many of the difficulties that face traditional philosophy. This article distinguishes two views of experimental philosophy: a narrow view in which philosophers conduct empirical investigations of intuitions, and a broad view which says that experimental philosophy is just the colocation in the same body of (i) philosophical naturalism and (ii) the actual practice of cognitive science. These two positions are rarely clearly distinguished in the literature about (...)experimental philosophy, both pro and con. The article argues, first, that the broader view is the only plausible one; discussions of experimental philosophy should recognize that the narrow view is a caricature of experimental philosophy as it is currently done. It then shows both how objections to experimental philosophy are transformed and how positive recommendations can be provided by adopting a broad conception of experimental philosophy. (shrink)
What are the folk-conceptual connections between free will and consciousness? In this paper I present results which indicate that consciousness plays central roles in folk conceptions of free will. When conscious states cause behavior, people tend to judge that the agent acted freely. And when unconscious states cause behavior, people tend to judge that the agent did not act freely. Further, these studies contribute to recent experimental work on folk philosophical affiliation, which analyzes folk responses to determine whether folk (...) views are consistent with the view that free will and determinism are incompatible (incompatibilism) or with the opposite view (compatibilism). Conscious causation of behavior tends to elicit pro-free will judgments, even when the causation takes place deterministically. Thus, when controlling for consciousness, many folk seem to be compatibilists. However, participants who disagree with the deterministic or cognitive scientific descriptions given of human behavior tend to give incompatibilist responses. (shrink)
The debate over whether free will and determinism are compatible is controversial, and produces wide scholarly discussion. This paper argues that recent studies in experimental philosophy suggest that people are in fact “natural compatibilists”. To support this claim, it surveys the experimental literature bearing directly or indirectly upon this issue, before pointing to three possible limitations of this claim. However, notwithstanding these limitations, the investigation concludes that the existing empirical evidence seems to support the view that most people (...) have compatibilist intuitions. (shrink)
Experimental philosophers are often puzzled as to why many armchair philosophers question the philosophical significance of their research. Armchair philosophers, in contrast, are often puzzled as to why experimental philosophers think their work sheds any light on traditional philosophical problems. I argue there is truth on both sides.
This paper argues that early modern experimental philosophy emerged as the dominant member of a pair of methods in natural philosophy, the speculative versus the experimental, and that this pairing derives from an overarching distinction between speculative and operative philosophy that can be ultimately traced back to Aristotle. The paper examines the traditional classification of natural philosophy as a speculative discipline from the Stagirite to the seventeenth century; medieval and early modern attempts to articulate a scientia experimentalis; and (...) the tensions in the classification of natural magic and mechanics that led to the introduction of an operative part of natural philosophy in the writings of Francis Bacon and John Johnston. The paper concludes with a summary of the salient discontinuities between the experimental/speculative distinction of the mid-seventeenth century and its predecessors and a statement of the developments that led to the ascendance of experimental philosophy from the 1660s. (shrink)
Although experimental philosophy is now over a decade old, it has only recently been introduced to the domain of philosophical aesthetics. So why is there already a need to defend it? Because, as I argue in this paper, we can anticipate the three main types of objection generally addressed to experimental philosophy and show that none of them concern experimental philosophers in aesthetics. I begin with some general considerations about experimental philosophy and its, sometimes conflicting, characteristics. (...) This framework is designed to help me situate the experimental practice in aesthetics within the general movement. I then present the objections and respond to them in turn. Their failure should convince aestheticians to embrace the practice early on and opponents of experimental philosophy to revise their usual objections before addressing them to experimental philosophers in aesthetics. (shrink)
This paper considers ways that experimental design can affect judgments about informally presented context shifting experiments. Reasons are given to think that judgments about informal context shifting experiments are affected by an exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments and by experimenter bias. Exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments may produce experimental artifacts by obscuring important differences of degree between the phenomena being investigated. Experimenter bias is an effect generated when, for example, experimenters disclose (even unconsciously) their (...) own beliefs about the outcome of an experiment. Eliminating experimenter bias from context shifting experiments makes it far less obvious what the “intuitive” responses to those experiments are. After it is shown how those different kinds of bias can affect judgments about informal context shifting experiments, those experiments are revised to control for those forms of bias. The upshot of these investigations is that participants in the contextualist debate who employ informal experiments should pay just as much attention to the design of their experiments as those who employ more formal experimental techniques if they want to avoid obscuring the phenomena they aim to uncover. (shrink)
Must philosophers incorporate tools of experimental science into their methodological toolbox? I argue here that they must. Tallying up all the resources that are now part of standard practice in analytic philosophy, we see the problem that they do not include adequate resources for detecting and correcting for their own biases and proclivities towards error. Methodologically sufficient resources for error- detection and error-correction can only come, in part, from the deployment of specific methods from the sciences. However, we need (...) not imagine that the resulting methodological norms will be so empirically demanding as to require that all appeals to intuition must first be precertified by a thorough vetting by teams of scientists. Rather, I sketch a set of more moderate methodological norms for how we might best include these necessary tools of experimental philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper I survey some recent developments in experimental philosophy and discuss their bearing on two leading theories in epistemology: Contextualism and Interest Relative Invariantism. In the first part of the paper, I survey some general issues of how experimental philosophy may be relevant to assessing contextualism and IRI. In the second part, I discuss and critique some of the recent experimental work.
Philosophical conceptual analysis is an experimental method. Focusing on this helps to justify it from the skepticism of experimental philosophers who follow Weinberg, Nichols & Stich. To explore the experimental aspect of philosophical conceptual analysis, I consider a simpler instance of the same activity: everyday linguistic interpretation. I argue that this, too, is experimental in nature. And in both conceptual analysis and linguistic interpretation, the intuitions considered problematic by experimental philosophers are necessary but epistemically irrelevant. (...) They are like variables introduced into mathematical proofs which drop out before the solution. Or better, they are like the hypotheses that drive science, which do not themselves need to be true. In other words, it does not matter whether or not intuitions are accurate as descriptions of the natural kinds that undergird philosophical concepts; the aims of conceptual analysis can still be met. (shrink)