Once symbolized by a burning armchair, experimentalphilosophy 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 experimentalphilosophy 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.
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 experimentalphilosophy. The re-emergence of interest in early modern experimentalphilosophy roughly coincided with the development of contemporary x-phi and there are some important similarities between the two. (shrink)
Formal epistemology is just what it sounds like: epistemology done with formal tools. Coinciding with the general rise in popularity of experimentalphilosophy, 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)
Much discussion about experimentalphilosophy 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)
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 experimentalphilosophy: 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)
The aim of this paper is to argue that there has been some mismatch between the naturalist rhetoric of experimentalphilosophy and its actual practice: experimentalphilosophy is not necessarily, and not even paradigmatically, a naturalistic enterprise. To substantiate this claim, a case study is given for what genuinely naturalist experimentalphilosophy would look like.
In recent years, some defenders of traditional philosophical methodology have argued that certain critiques of armchair methods are mistaken in assuming that intuitions play central evidential roles in traditional philosophical methods. According to this kind of response, experimental philosophers attack a straw man; it doesn’t matter whether intuitions are reliable, because philosophers don’t use intuitions in the way assumed. Deutsch (2010), Williamson (2007), and Cappelen (2012) all defend traditional methods in something like this way. I also endorsed something like (...) this line in Ichikawa (2014a). -/- In this contribution, I will follow up on this sort of defence of traditional philosophical methods in three ways. In §1, I will rehearse and extend some of my reasons for challenging the idea that traditional methods depend on intuitions in an evidential role. (My reasons are very different from those discussed in (Cappelen, 2012).) I will also engage with some recent more sophisticated attempts to establish the idea that intuitions play evidential roles in philosophy, such as that of Chudnoff (2013). In §2, I will consider and argue against a dismissive response to such positions from experimental philosophers, who consider the question of philosophical reliance on intuitions to be irrelevant to the experimentalist critique. But in §3, I will argue that it would also be a mistake to conclude (as Herman Cappelen does) that the critique is rendered totally irrelevant by the denial of the evidential role of intuitions; I defend a more moderate view on which the bearing of experimental studies of philosophical intuitions is relevant for philosophical methodology, but only in a relatively limited way. (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.
According to Amos Funkenstein, Stephen Gaukroger and Andrew Cunningham, seventeenth-century natural philosophy was fused with theology, driven by theology, and pursued primarily to shed light on God. Experimental natural philosophy might seem to provide a case in point. According to its English advocates, like Robert Boyle and Thomas Sprat, experimentalphilosophy embodies the Christian virtues of humility, innocence, and piety, it helps establish God’s existence, attributes, and providence, and it provides a basis for evangelism. This (...) chapter shows that, unlike their English counterparts, experimental philosophers in seventeenth-century Italy kept natural philosophy sharply distinct from theological and religious matters. This indicates that seventeenth-century experimentalphilosophy was not, as such, theologically driven or oriented. It also suggests that there was no intrinsic relation between experimentalphilosophy and religion. Whether experimentalphilosophy was presented as an ally of religion or as distinct from it was, to a significant extent, a matter of cultural politics. It depended on which rhetorical and argumentative strategies were believed to be most likely to ensure freedom of research and institutional support for the work of experimental philosophers in a specific sociopolitical context. (shrink)
What is the rationale for the methodological innovations of experimentalphilosophy? This paper starts from the contention that common answers to this question are implausible. It then develops a framework within which experimentalphilosophy 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)
In the past decade, experimentalphilosophy---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 'experimentalphilosophy 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 experimentalphilosophy of aesthetics. Overall, we conclude that the birth of an experimentalphilosophy of aesthetics is good news not only for aesthetics but also for experimentalphilosophy itself, as it contributes to broaden the scope of experimentalphilosophy. (shrink)
Experimentalphilosophy 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 (...) class='Hi'>philosophy might encounter, and provide reasons to think they are ill-founded. (shrink)
Experimentalphilosophy is often presented as a new movement that avoids many of the difficulties that face traditional philosophy. This article distinguishes two views of experimentalphilosophy: a narrow view in which philosophers conduct empirical investigations of intuitions, and a broad view which says that experimentalphilosophy 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 experimentalphilosophy, both pro and con. The article argues, first, that the broader view is the only plausible one; discussions of experimentalphilosophy should recognize that the narrow view is a caricature of experimentalphilosophy as it is currently done. It then shows both how objections to experimentalphilosophy are transformed and how positive recommendations can be provided by adopting a broad conception of experimentalphilosophy. (shrink)
It seems natural to think that Carnapian explication and experimentalphilosophy can go hand in hand. But what exactly explicators can gain from the data provided by experimental philosophers remains controversial. According to an influential proposal by Shepherd and Justus, explicators should use experimental data in the process of ‘explication preparation’. Against this proposal, Mark Pinder has recently suggested that experimental data can directly assist an explicator’s search for fruitful replacements of the explicandum. In developing (...) his argument, he also proposes a novel aspect of what makes a concept fruitful, namely, that it is taken up by the relevant community. In this paper, I defend explication preparation against Pinder’s objections and argue that his uptake proposal conflates theoretical and practical success conditions of explications. Furthermore, I argue that Pinder’s suggested experimental procedure needs substantial revision. I end by distinguishing two kinds of explication projects, and showing how experimentalphilosophy can contribute to each of them. (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 experimentalphilosophy 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)
Experimentalphilosophy’s much-discussed ‘restrictionist’ program seeks to delineate the extent to which philosophers may legitimately rely on intuitions about possible cases. The present paper shows that this program can be (i) put to the service of diagnostic problem-resolution (in the wake of J.L. Austin) and (ii) pursued by constructing and experimentally testing psycholinguistic explanations of intuitions which expose their lack of evidentiary value: The paper develops a psycholinguistic explanation of paradoxical intuitions that are prompted by verbal case-descriptions, and (...) presents two experiments that support the explanation. This debunking explanation helps resolve philosophical paradoxes about perception (known as ‘arguments from hallucination’). (shrink)
This paper provides a new argument for the relevance of empirical research to moral and political philosophy and a novel defense of the positive program in experimentalphilosophy. The argument centers on the idea that normative concepts used in moral and political philosophy can be evaluated in terms of their fruitfulness in solving practical problems. Empirical research conducted with an eye to the practical problems that are relevant to particular concepts can provide evidence of their fruitfulness (...) along a number of dimensions. An upshot of the argument is that philosophers should not only engage with but must also be involved in conducting experimental studies that examine the practical roles that normative concepts can play. Rather than just clearing the way for philosophical work to be done, the argument has the further implication that empirical research will be required to advance at least some important debates in moral and political philosophy. (shrink)
Can experimentalphilosophy help us answer central questions about the nature of moral responsibility, such as the question of whether moral responsibility is compatible with determinism? Specifically, can folk judgments in line with a particular answer to that question provide support for that answer. Based on reasoning familiar from Condorcet’s Jury Theorem, such support could be had if individual judges track the truth of the matter independently and with some modest reliability: such reliability quickly aggregates as the number (...) of judges goes up. In this chapter, however, I argue, partly based on empirical evidence, that although non-specialist judgments might on average be more likely than not to get things right, their individual likelihoods fail to aggregate because they do not track truth with sufficient independence. (shrink)
In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong (...) claims about the prospects for philosophical theories of reference and arguments based on claims about reference. In this article, I review the main lines of argument in this area of experimentalphilosophy, with particular emphasis on the relevance of empirical data about intuitions to philosophical views. I argue that although traditional philosophical theorizing about reference faces little threat from experimental data about intuitions, there is nevertheless much to be gained from collecting and analyzing such data, which holds the promise of greatly enriching our conception of the mechanisms governing judgments about semantic reference in ways that are highly relevant to philosophers. (shrink)
Two experiments investigate two versions of Aristotle’s Thesis for the first time. Aristotle’s Thesis is a negated conditional, which consists of one propositional variable with a negation either in the antecedent or in the consequent. This task allows us to infer if people interpret indicative conditionals as material conditionals or as conditional events. In the first experiment I investigate between-participants the two versions of Aristotle’s Thesis crossed with abstract versus concrete task material. The modal response for all four groups is (...) consistent with the conditional event and inconsistentwith the material conditional interpretation. This observation is replicated in the second experiment. Moreover, the second experiment rules out scope ambiguities of the negation of conditionals. Both experiments provide new evidence against thematerial conditional interpretation of conditionals and support the conditional event interpretation. Finally, I discuss implications formodeling indicative conditionals and the relevance of this work for experimentalphilosophy. (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.
Joshua Glasgow argues against the existence of races. His experimentalphilosophy asks subjects questions involving racial categorization to discover the ordinary concept of race at work in their judgments. The results show conflicting information about the concept of race, and Glasgow concludes that the ordinary concept of race is inconsistent. I conclude, rather, that Glasgow’s results fit perfectly fine with a social-kind view of races as real social entities. He also presents thought experiments to show that social-kind views (...) give the wrong results, but intuitions might differ on which results are the wrong ones, and social-kind views can resist the implications he derives from these cases. Widespread false beliefs about a concept or category need not undermine anything’s existence, and a sufficiently context-sensitive approach to races will allow for competing criteria for race-membership in different contexts without contradictory criteria in any one context. Glasgow’s arguments are therefore unsuccessful. (shrink)
This paper argues that early modern experimentalphilosophy 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 experimentalphilosophy from the 1660s. (shrink)
Although experimentalphilosophy 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 experimentalphilosophy and show that none of them concern experimental philosophers in aesthetics. I begin with some general considerations about experimentalphilosophy 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 experimentalphilosophy to revise their usual objections before addressing them to experimental philosophers in aesthetics. (shrink)
This paper contributes to the underdeveloped field of experimentalphilosophy 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)
One view of philosophy that is sometimes expressed, especially by scientists, is that while philosophers are good at asking questions, they are poor at producing convincing answers. And the perceived divide between philosophical and scientific methods is often pointed to as the major culprit behind this lack of progress. Looking back at the history of philosophy, however, we find that this methodological divide is a relatively recent invention. Further, it is one that has been challenged over the past (...) decade by the modern incarnation of experimentalphilosophy. How might the reincorporation of empirical methods into philosophy aid the process of making philosophical progress? Building off of the work of Sytsma (2010), we argue that one way it does so is by offering a means of resolving some disputes that arise in philosophy. We illustrate how philosophical disputes may sometimes be resolved empirically by looking at the recent experimental literature on intuitions about reference. (shrink)
One of the more visible recent developments in philosophical methodology is the experimentalphilosophy movement. On its surface, the experimentalist challenge looks like a dramatic threat to the apriority of philosophy; ‘experimentalist’ is nearly antonymic with ‘aprioristic’. This appearance, I suggest, is misleading; the experimentalist critique is entirely unrelated to questions about the apriority of philosophical investigation. There are many reasons to resist the skeptical conclusions of negative experimental philosophers; but even if they are granted—even if (...) the experimentalists are right to claim that we must do much more careful laboratory work in order legitimately to be confident in our philosophical judgments— the apriority of philosophy is unimpugned. The kinds of scientific investigation that experimental philosophers argue to be necessary involve merely enabling sensory experiences. Although they are not enabling in the sense of permitting concept acquisition, they are enabling in another epistemically significant way that is also consistent with the apriority of philosophy. (shrink)
This chapter discusses the relation between Christian Wolff's philosophy and the methodological views of early modern experimental philosophers. The chapter argues for three claims. First, Wolff's system relies on experience at every step and his views on experiments, observations, hypotheses, and the a priori are in line with those of experimental philosophers. Second, the study of Wolff's views demonstrates the influence of experimentalphilosophy in early eighteenth-century Germany. Third, references to Wolff's empiricism and rationalism are (...) best identified or replaced with references to his endorsement of the tenets of experimental philosophers and of a mathematical demonstrative method. (shrink)
This article is a prelude to an experimental study of the preference concept in economics. I argue that a new empirical approach called experimentalphilosophy of science is a promising approach to advance the philosophy of economics. In particular, I discuss two debates in the field, the neuroeconomics controversy and the commonsensible realism debate, and suggest how experimental and survey techniques can generate data that will inform these debates. Some of the likely objections from philosophers (...) and economists are addressed, and possible ways of operationalizing different preference concepts are illustrated. (shrink)
I recommend three revisions to experimentalphilosophy's ‘self-image’ which I suggest will enable experimentalist critics of intuition to evade several important objections to the 'negative' strand of the experimentalphilosophy research project. First, experimentalists should avoid broad criticisms of ‘intuition’ as a whole, instead drawing a variety of conclusions about a variety of much narrower categories of mental state. Second, experimentalists should state said conclusions in terms of epistemic norms particular to philosophical inquiry, rather than attempting (...) to, for example, deny that intuitions produce justified belief. Third, experimentalists should acknowledge the limitations of the ‘method of cases’ model of philosophical inquiry, and expand their experimental work accordingly. (shrink)
In this chapter, we outline the methods and aims of experimentalphilosophy as a methodological movement within philosophy, and suggest ways in which it may be employed in the study of Chinese philosophy.
Prominent critics and champions of ExperimentalPhilosophy (X-Phi) alike have tied its philosophical significance to the philosophical significance of intuition. In this essay, I develop an interpretation of X-Phi which does not require an intuition-driven understanding of traditional philosophy, and the arguments challenged by results in X-Phi. X-Phi's role on this account is primarily dialectical. Its aim is to test the universality of claims which are merely assumed to be true, exploring the limits of our assumptions and (...) showing when a proposition is more controversial than is widely believed. (shrink)
ExperimentalPhilosophy is a new and controversial movement that challenges some of the central findings within analytic philosophy by marshalling empirical evidence. The purpose of this short paper is twofold: to introduce some of the work done in experimentalphilosophy concerning issues in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics and to connect this work with several debates within the philosophy of religion. The provisional conclusion is that philosophers of religion must (...) critically engage experimentalphilosophy. (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 experimentalphilosophy. (shrink)
Much of the recent movement organized under the heading “ExperimentalPhilosophy” has been concerned with the empirical study of responses to thought experiments drawn from the literature on philosophical analysis. I consider what bearing these studies have on the traditional projects in which thought experiments have been used in philosophy. This will help to answer the question what the relation is between ExperimentalPhilosophy and philosophy, whether it is an “exciting new style of [philosophical] (...) research”, “a new interdisciplinary field that uses methods normally associated with psychology to investigate questions normally associated with philosophy” (Knobe et al. 2012), or whether its relation to philosophy consists, as some have suggested, in no more than the word ‘philosophy’ appearing in its title, or whether the truth lies somewhere in between these two views. I first distinguishes different strands in ExperimentalPhilosophy, negative and positive x-phi, and x-phi pursuing philosophy as opposed to x-phi as cognitive science. Next I review some ways in which ExperimentalPhilosophy has been criticized. Finally, I consider what would have to be true for ExperimentalPhilosophy to have one or another sort of relevance to philosophy, whether the assumptions required are true, how we could know it, and the ideal limits of the usefulness ExperimentalPhilosophy to philosophy. I conclude x-phi cannot in principle be a replacement for traditional first person approaches because it yields the wrong kind of knowledge and that it can nonetheless be a practical aid in conducting philosophical thought experiments. n. (shrink)
Experimentalphilosophy 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 experimentalphilosophy as public philosophy. (shrink)
This article offers a critique of research practices typical of experimentalphilosophy. To that end, it presents a review of methodological issues that have proved crucial to the quality of research in the biobehavioral sciences. It discusses various shortcomings in the experimentalphilosophy literature related to (1) the credibility of self-report questionnaires, (2) the validity and reliability of measurement, (3) the adherence to appropriate procedures for sampling, random assignment, and handling of participants, and (4) the meticulousness (...) of study reporting. It argues that the future standing of experimentalphilosophy will hinge upon improvements in research methods. (shrink)
An important strand of current experimentalphilosophy promotes a new kind of methodological naturalism. This chapter argues that this new ‘metaphilosophical naturalism’ is fundamentally consistent with key tenets of Wittgenstein’s metaphilosophy, and can provide empirical foundations for therapeutic conceptions of philosophy. Metaphilosophical naturalism invites us to contribute to the resolution of philosophical problems about X by turning to scientific findings about the way we think about X – in general or when doing philosophy. This new naturalism (...) encourages us to use resources from psychology that can empirically vindicate precisely some of the most controversial aspects of Wittgenstein’s conception of philosophy: They can establish the need, and provide key tools, for something worth calling ‘therapy’, in philosophy. As ‘pudding proof’ this chapter shows how methods and findings from psycholinguistics motivate and facilitate a therapeutic approach to a characteristically philosophical problem: ‘the problem of perception’. (shrink)
Experimentalphilosophy is one of the most exciting and controversial philosophical movements today. This book explores how it is reshaping thought about philosophical method. Experimentalphilosophy imports experimental methods and findings from psychology into philosophy. These fresh resources can be used to develop and defend both armchair methods and naturalist approaches, on an empirical basis. This outstanding collection brings together leading proponents of this new meta-philosophical naturalism, from within and beyond experimentalphilosophy. (...) They explore how the empirical study of philosophically relevant intuition and cognition transforms traditional philosophical approaches and facilitates fresh ones. Part One examines important uses of traditional "armchair" methods which are not threatened by experimental work and develops empirically informed accounts of such methods that can potentially stand up to experimental scrutiny. Part Two analyses different uses and rationales of experimental methods in several areas of philosophy and addresses the key methodological challenges to experimentalphilosophy: Do its experiments target the intuitions that matter in philosophy? And how can they support conclusions about the rights and wrongs of philosophical views? Essential reading for students of experimentalphilosophy and metaphilosophy, _Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and Naturalism_ will also interest students and researchers in related areas such as epistemology and the philosophies of language, perception, mind and action, science and psychology. (shrink)
Papers in experimentalphilosophy rarely offer an account of what it would take to reveal a philosophically significant effect. In part, this is because experimental philosophers tend to pay insufficient attention to the hierarchy of models that would be required to justify interpretations of their data; as a result, some of their most exciting claims fail as explanations. But this does not impugn experimentalphilosophy. My aim is to show that experimentalphilosophy could (...) be made more successful by developing, articulating, and advancing plausible models of the data that are collected and the analyses that are employed. (shrink)
Experimentalphilosophy of language uses experimental methods developed in the cognitive sciences to investigate topics of interest to philosophers of language. This article describes the methodological background for the development of experimental approaches to topics in philosophy of language, distinguishes negative and positive projects in experimentalphilosophy of language, and evaluates experimental work on the reference of proper names and natural kind terms. The reliability of expert judgments vs. the judgments of ordinary (...) speakers, the role that ambiguity plays in influencing responses to experiments, and the reliability of metalinguistic judgments are also assessed. (shrink)
Experimentalphilosophy is one of the most recent and controversial developments in philosophy. Its basic idea is rather simple: to test philosophical thought experiments and philosophers’ intuitions about them with scientific methods, mostly taken from psychology and the social sciences. The ensuing experimental results, such as the cultural relativity of certain philosophical intuitions, has engaged – and at times infuriated – many more traditionally minded "armchair" philosophers since then. In this volume, the metaphilosophical reflection on (...) class='Hi'>experimentalphilosophy is brought yet another step forward by engaging some of its most renowned proponents and critics in a lively and controversial debate. In addition to that, the volume also contains original experimental research on personal identity and philosophical temperament, as well as state-of-the-art essays on central metaphilosophical issues, like thought experiments, the nature of intuitions, or the status of philosophical expertise. -/- This book was originally published as a special issue of Philosophical Psychology. (shrink)
Several recent studies of early modern natural philosophy have claimed that corpuscularism and experimentalphilosophy were sharply distinct or even conflicting views. This chapter provides a different perspective on the relation between corpuscularism and experimentalphilosophy by examining Domenico Guglielmini’s ‘Philosophical Reflections’ on salts (1688). This treatise on crystallography develops a corpuscularist theory and defends it in a way that is in line with the methodological prescriptions, epistemological strictures, and preferred argumentative styles of experimental (...) philosophers. The examination of the ‘Reflections’ shows that early modern philosophers could consistently endorse, at the same time, corpuscularism and experimentalphilosophy. (shrink)
In this paper I will discuss some issues related to a recent trend in experimentalphilosophy (or x-phi), and try to show the reasons of its late (and scarce) involvement with aesthetics, compared to other areas of philosophical investigation. In order to do this, it is first necessary to ask how an autonomous experimentalphilosophy of aesthetics could be related to the long-standing tradition of psychological experimental aesthetics. After distinguishing between a “narrow” and a “broad” (...) approach of experimentalphilosophy, I will then make a distinction between topics in aesthetics pertaining to perceptual and cognitive processes, and traditional issues involved in the analysis of general and culturally-laden concepts. The narrow program of experimentalphilosophy, focused on the investigation of folk intuitions, is particularly effective only when two general conditions are met: the use of hypothetical scenarios (testing of thought experiments) and the heuristic role of folk intuitions in drawing philosophically relevant conclusions. I will argue that, when aesthetics is concerned, these requirements are not easily met. These difficulties notwithstanding, I will support a pluralistic view where aesthetics is revealed as an instructive example of how experimental approaches and traditional “armchair” philosophy integrate, and enrich each other. (shrink)
This chapter analyses the prospects of using neuroimaging methods, in particular functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), for philosophical purposes. To do so, it will use two case studies from the field of emotion research: Greene et al. (2001) used fMRI to uncover the mental processes underlying moral intuitions, while Lindquist et al. (2012) used fMRI to inform the debate around the nature of a specific mental process, namely, emotion. These studies illustrate two main approaches in cognitive neuroscience: Reverse inference and (...) ontology testing, respectively. With regards to Greene et al.’s study, the use of Neurosynth (Yarkoni 2011) will show that the available formulations of reverse inference, although viable a priori, seem to be of limited use in practice. On the other hand, the discussion of Lindquist et al.’s study will present the so far neglected potential of ontology-testing approaches to inform philosophical questions. (shrink)