Is Empirical Research Relevant to Philosophical Conclusions?

Res Philosophica, Forthcoming

28 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2013 Last revised: 17 Jun 2013

See all articles by Erik Angner

Erik Angner

Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University; Institute for Futures Studies; Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science

Date Written: June 16, 2013

Abstract

Much recent philosophical literature on happiness and satisfaction is based on the belief that empirical research is relevant to philosophical conclusions. In his 2010 book What is This Thing Called Happiness?, Fred Feldman begs to differ. He suggests (a) that there is no evidence that empirical research is relevant to long-standing philosophical questions; consequently, (b) that philosophers have little reason to pay attention to the work of psychologists or economists; and (c) that philosophers need not fear embarrassing themselves by being ignorant of important scientific findings that bear directly on their work. Relying on an example invoked by Feldman himself, this paper makes the case that all three theses are false. The argument suggests a picture according to which science and philosophy stand in a symbiotic relationship, with scientists and philosophers engaging in a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas for the advancement of the general knowledge.

Keywords: happiness, satisfaction, welfare, well-being, science, philosophy

JEL Classification: B00

Suggested Citation

Angner, Erik, Is Empirical Research Relevant to Philosophical Conclusions? (June 16, 2013). Res Philosophica, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2273247

Erik Angner (Contact Author)

Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10 D
Frescati
Stockholm, 106 91
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://erikangner.com

Institute for Futures Studies ( email )

Holländargatan 13
Stockholm, SE-101 31
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.iffs.se/en/research/researchers/erik-angner-1/

Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science ( email )

400P Truland Building
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ices.gmu.edu/people/affiliated-faculty

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