Experimental Philosophy and the Philosophical Tradition
Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy, edited by Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma, Forthcoming
22 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2014
Date Written: January 1, 2015
The term “experimental philosophy” has no standard or widely agreed upon definition, and recent writers have proposed very different accounts of how the term should be used. On the usage we prefer, the term has a broad extension and very fuzzy boundaries: experimental philosophy is empirical work undertaken with the goal of contributing to a philosophical debate, though of course that may not be the only goal. During the last decade, the term “experimental philosophy” has often been used in a much more restricted way. On that more restricted interpretation, which we will adopt for this chapter, experimental philosophy is the empirical investigation of philosophical intuitions, the factors that affect them, and the psychological and neurological mechanisms that underlie them. This characterization of experimental philosophy immediately raises a pair of questions: 1. What are philosophical intuitions? 2. Why do experimental philosophers want to study them using the methods of empirical science? Our goal in this chapter will be to explore answers to these questions and explain how these answers link experimental philosophy to the philosophical tradition.
Keywords: experimental philosophy
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