>> Go to Current Issue

The Monist

Volume 95, Issue 2, April 2012
Experimental Philosophy

Already a subscriber? Login here
Not yet a subscriber? - Subscribe here

Browse by:



Displaying: 1-8 of 8 documents


articles
1. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Amie L. Thomasson, Experimental Philosophy and the Methods of Ontology
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Those working in experimental philosophy have raised a number of arguments against the use of conceptual analysis in philosophical inquiries. But they have typically focused on a model that pursues conceptual analysis by taking intuitions as a kind of (defeasible) evidence for philosophical hypotheses. Little attention has been given to the constitutivist alternative, which sees metaphysical modal facts as reflections of constitutive semantic rules. I begin with a brief overviewof the constitutivist approach and argue that we can defend a role for conceptual analysis, so understood, in ontological disputes against both the general skepticism about the relevance of intuitions, and against the specific worries raised by experimental results. Finally, I argue that even if the constitutivist view is adopted, experimental philosophy may still have quite a useful role to play, though purely empirical inquiries cannot in principle do the ontological work alone.
2. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Jonathan M. Weinberg, Joshua Alexander, Chad Gonnerman, Shane Reuter, Restrictionism and Reflection: Challenge Deflected, or Simply Redirected?
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
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 (and possibly cannot be) 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-deployingpractices. If they are not immune (or at least sufficiently less vulnerable) 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.
3. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Niki Pfeifer, Experiments on Aristotle’s Thesis: Towards an Experimental Philosophy of Conditionals
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Two experiments (N1 = 141, N2 = 40) 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 (version 1) or in the consequent (version 2). 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 experimental philosophy
4. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Florian Cova, Nicolas Pain, Can Folk Aesthetics Ground Aesthetic Realism?
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
We challenge an argument that aims to support Aesthetic Realism by claiming, first, that common sense is realist about aesthetic judgments because it considers that aesthetic judgments can be right or wrong, and, second, that becauseAesthetic Realism comes from and accounts for “folk aesthetics,” it is the best aesthetic theory available.We empirically evaluate this argument by probing whether ordinary people with no training whatsoever in the subtle debates of aesthetic philosophy consider their aesthetic judgments as right or wrong. Having shown that the results do not support the main premise of the argument, we discuss the consequences for Aesthetic Realism and address possible objections to our study.
5. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Mark Alfano, James R. Beebe, Brian Robinson, The Centrality of Belief and Reflection in Knobe-Effect Cases: A Unified Account of the Data
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Recent work in experimental philosophy has shown that people are more likely to attribute intentionality, knowledge, and other psychological properties to someone who causes a bad side effect than to someone who causes a good one. We argue that all of these asymmetries can be explained in terms of a single underlying asymmetry involving belief attribution because the belief that one’s action would result in a certain side effect is a necessary component of each of the psychological attitudes in question. We argue further that this belief-attribution asymmetry is rational because it mirrors a belief-formation asymmetry, and that thebelief-formation asymmetry is also rational because it is more useful to form some beliefs than others.
6. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Shaun Nichols, The Indeterminist Intuition: Source and Status
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Evidence from experimental philosophy indicates that people think that their choices are not determined. What remains unclear is why people think this. Denying determinism is rather presumptuous given people’s general ignorance about the nature of the universe. In this paper, I’ll argue that the belief in indeterminism depends on a default presumption that we know the factors that influence our decision making. That presumption was reasonable at earlier points in intellectual history. But in light of work in cognitive science, we are no longer justified in sustaining the presupposition that we know what influences our choices. As a result, I’ll suggest, our belief in indeterminist choice is unjustified.
7. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Chris Zarpentine, Heather Cipolletti, Michael Bishop, WINO Epistemology and the Shifting-Sands Problem
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
By making plausible the Diversity Thesis (different people have systematically different and incompatible packages of epistemic intuitions), experimental epistemology raises the specter of the shifting-sands problem: the evidence base for epistemology contains systematic inconsistencies. In response to this problem, some philosophers deny the Diversity Thesis, while others flirt with denying the Evidence Thesis (in normal circumstances, the epistemic intuition that p is prima facie evidence that p is true). We propose to accept both theses. The trick to living with the shifting-sands problem is to expand epistemology’s evidentialbase so as to include scientific evidence. This evidence can provide principled grounds on which to decide between incompatible intuitions. The idea of resolving inconsistencies in an evidential base by adding more independent lines of evidence is commonplace in science. And in philosophy, it is simply Wide Reflective Equilibrium. We contend that the idea that epistemology would depend crucially on scientific evidence seems radical because many traditional epistemologists practice reflective equilibrium that is WINO,Wide In Name Only. We suggest five different lines of scientific evidence that can be, and have been, used in support of non-WINO epistemological theories.
8. The Monist: Volume > 95 > Issue: 2
Ram Neta, Knowing from the Armchair that Our Intuitions Are Reliable
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
In recent years, a growing body of experimental literature has called into question the reliability of our intuitions about hypothetical cases, and thereby called into question the use of intuitions in philosophy. In this paper, I critically assess one prominent example of this challenge, namely, Swain, Alexander, and Weinberg’s recent study of order effects on the Truetemp intuition. I argue that the very data that Swain,Alexander, and Weinberg find do not undermine, but instead support, the reliability of intuition. I also show how intuition can itself be marshaled in the service of figuring out just when we can and cannot expect to find order effects on our intuitions.