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Sunday, July 27, 2014

What’s Wrong with Experimental Philosophy?

Victor Kumar
University of Michigan
July 10, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

Unsatisfied with armchair speculation, experimental philosophers have responded to empirical questions with empirical answers. Efforts are not always met with success, but the best objections this research faces are narrowly methodological, e.g., improper experimental design or substandard experimental methods. Experimental philosophers, often in collaboration with scientists, are developing new and better ways of testing hypotheses in cognitive science that inform philosophical inquiry. 

Outside of philosophically relevant cognitive science, experimental philosophy studies intuitions in an attempt to contribute to philosophical discussion surrounding those intuitions. A second type is experimental philosophical analysis. Philosophers interested in knowledge, moral judgment, free will, etc., often assume that the first step of philosophical inquiry is analysis of the corresponding ordinary concepts (Smith 1994; Jackson 1998).