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The Reliability of Epistemic Intuitions

In Edouard Machery & O'Neill Elizabeth (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 109-127 (2014)

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  1. Wittgensteinian 'Therapy', Experimental Philosophy, and Metaphilosophical Naturalism.Eugen Fischer - 2018 - In Kevin Cahill & Thomas Raleigh (eds.), Wittgenstein and Naturalism. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 260-286.
    An important strand of current experimental philosophy 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 (...)
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  • Philosophical Expertise Under the Microscope.Miguel Egler & Lewis Dylan Ross - 2020 - Synthese 197 (3):1077-1098.
    Recent experimental studies indicate that epistemically irrelevant factors can skew our intuitions, and that some degree of scepticism about appealing to intuition in philosophy is warranted. In response, some have claimed that philosophers are experts in such a way as to vindicate their reliance on intuitions—this has become known as the ‘expertise defence’. This paper explores the viability of the expertise defence, and suggests that it can be partially vindicated. Arguing that extant discussion is problematically imprecise, we will finesse the (...)
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  • When Do Caregivers Ignore the Veil of Ignorance? An Empirical Study on Medical Triage Decision–Making.Azgad Gold, Binyamin Greenberg, Rael Strous & Oren Asman - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (2):213-225.
    In principle, all patients deserve to receive optimal medical treatment equally. However, in situations in which there is scarcity of time or resources, medical treatment must be prioritized based on a triage. The conventional guidelines of medical triage mandate that treatment should be provided based solely on medical necessity regardless of any non-medical value-oriented considerations. This study empirically examined the influence of value-oriented considerations on medical triage decision–making. Participants were asked to prioritize medical treatment relating to four case scenarios of (...)
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  • Stereotypical Inferences: Philosophical Relevance and Psycholinguistic Toolkit.Eugen Fischer & Paul E. Engelhardt - 2017 - Ratio 30 (4):411-442.
    Stereotypes shape inferences in philosophical thought, political discourse, and everyday life. These inferences are routinely made when thinkers engage in language comprehension or production: We make them whenever we hear, read, or formulate stories, reports, philosophical case-descriptions, or premises of arguments – on virtually any topic. These inferences are largely automatic: largely unconscious, non-intentional, and effortless. Accordingly, they shape our thought in ways we can properly understand only by complementing traditional forms of philosophical analysis with experimental methods from psycholinguistics. This (...)
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  • Diagnostic Experimental Philosophy.Eugen Fischer & Paul E. Engelhardt - 2017 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):117-137.
    Experimental philosophy’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 (...)
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  • Knowledge in and Out of Contrast.Mikkel Gerken & James R. Beebe - 2016 - Noûs 50 (1):133-164.
    We report and discuss the results of a series of experiments that address a contrast effect exhibited by folk judgments about knowledge ascriptions. The contrast effect, which was first reported by Schaffer and Knobe, is an important aspect of our folk epistemology. However, there are competing theoretical accounts of it. We shed light on the various accounts by providing novel empirical data and theoretical considerations. Our key findings are, firstly, that belief ascriptions exhibit a similar contrast effect and, secondly, that (...)
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  • Knowledge Is Not Enough.Jennifer Ellen Nado - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (4):658-672.
    Discussions of the role of intuition in philosophical methodology typically proceed within the knowledge-centred framework of mainstream analytic epistemology. Either implicitly or explicitly, the primary questions in metaphilosophy frequently seem to revolve around whether or not intuition is a source of justification, evidence, or knowledge. I argue that this Standard Framework is inappropriate for methodological purposes: the epistemic standards that govern inquiry in philosophy are more stringent than the standards that govern everyday cognition. The experimentalist should instead view her criticisms (...)
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  • Where Philosophical Intuitions Come From.Helen De Cruz - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):233-249.
    Intuitions play a central role in analytic philosophy, but their psychological basis is little understood. This paper provides an empirically-informed, psychological char- acterization of philosophical intuitions. Drawing on McCauley’s distinction between maturational and practiced naturalness, I argue that philosophical intuitions originate from several early-developed, specialized domains of core knowledge (maturational naturalness). Eliciting and deploying such intuitions in argumentative contexts is the domain of philosophical expertise, thus philosophical intuitions are also practiced nat- ural. This characterization has implications for the evidential value (...)
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  • Contingency Anxiety and the Epistemology of Disagreement.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1):n/a-n/a.
    Upon discovering that certain beliefs we hold are contingent on arbitrary features of our background, we often feel uneasy. I defend the proposal that if such cases of contingency anxiety involve defeaters, this is because of the epistemic significance of disagreement. I note two hurdles to our accepting this Disagreement Hypothesis. Firstly, some cases of contingency anxiety apparently involve no disagreement. Secondly, the proposal may seem to make our awareness of the influence of arbitrary background factors irrelevant in determining whether (...)
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  • Methodological Challenges for Empirical Approaches to Ethics.Christopher Shirreff - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Western Ontario
    The central question for this dissertation is, how do we do moral philosophy well from within a broadly naturalist framework? Its main goal is to lay the groundwork for a methodological approach to moral philosophy that integrates traditional, intuition-driven approaches to ethics with empirical approaches that employ empirical data from biology and cognitive science. Specifically, it explores what restrictions are placed on our moral theorizing by findings in evolutionary biology, psychology, neuroscience, and other fields, and how we can integrate this (...)
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  • Lingering Stereotypes: Salience Bias in Philosophical Argument.Eugen Fischer & Paul E. Engelhardt - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (4):415-439.
    Many philosophical thought experiments and arguments involve unusual cases. We present empirical reasons to doubt the reliability of intuitive judgments and conclusions about such cases. Inferences and intuitions prompted by verbal case descriptions are influenced by routine comprehension processes which invoke stereotypes. We build on psycholinguistic findings to determine conditions under which the stereotype associated with the most salient sense of a word predictably supports inappropriate inferences from descriptions of unusual (stereotype-divergent) cases. We conduct an experiment that combines plausibility ratings (...)
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  • Omnivores and Synthesisers: Academic Philosophers as Interdisciplinary Specialists.Michael Klenk - 2020 - In Julia Simone Hermann, Jeroen Hopster, Wouter Kalf & Michael Klenk (eds.), Philosophy in the Age of Science? Inquiries Into Philosophical Progress, Method, and Societal Relevance. Fordham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 173-194.
    I stipulate that an academic discipline is societally relevant insofar as it helps to resolve a society’s real problems. What makes such a view correct depends on meta-normative views. I show how one’s meta-normative view significantly determines the likelihood that disciplinary philosophy is of societal relevance. On normative non-naturalism, normative naturalism, and normative scepticism, the societal relevance of philosophy is in doubt. I then argue that philosophers should aim for two remedies. They should be what I call omnivores and 'synthesisers, (...)
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  • A Solution to Knowledge’s Threshold Problem.Michael Hannon - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (3):607-629.
    This paper is about the ‘threshold problem’ for knowledge, namely, how do we determine what fixes the level of justification required for knowledge in a non-arbitrary way? One popular strategy for solving this problem is impurism, which is the view that the required level of justification is partly fixed by one’s practical reasoning situation. However, this strategy has been the target of several recent objections. My goal is to propose a new version of impurism that solves the threshold problem without (...)
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  • Contingency Anxiety and the Epistemology of Disagreement.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4):590-611.
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  • Knowledge Judgements and Cognitive Psychology.Simon Langford - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3245-3259.
    Certain well-known intuitions suggest that, contrary to traditional thinking in epistemology, knowledge judgements are shifty—i.e., that judgements about whether somebody knows something can shift in stringency with context. Some take these intuitions to show that knowledge judgements are shifty. Jennifer Nagel and Mikkel Gerken have argued, however, that closer attention to the psychological processes which underlie knowledge judgements shows how traditional non-shifty thinking can be preserved. They each defend moderate classical invariantism—the view that the epistemic standard for knowing is always (...)
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  • The Universal Core of Knowledge.Michael Hannon - 2015 - Synthese 192 (3):769-786.
    Many epistemologists think we can derive important theoretical insights by investigating the English word ‘know’ or the concept it expresses. However, fewer than six percent of the world’s population are native English speakers, and some empirical evidence suggests that the concept of knowledge is culturally relative. So why should we think that facts about the word ‘know’ or the concept it expresses have important ramifications for epistemology? This paper argues that the concept of knowledge is universal: it is expressed by (...)
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  • Intuitions Might Not Be Sui Generis: Some Criticisms of George Bealer.Marcus Hunt - 2020 - Florida Philosophical Review 19 (1):49-66.
    George Bealer provides an account of intuitions as “intellectual seemings.” My purpose in this paper is to criticize the phenomenological considerations that Bealer offers in favor of his account. In the first part I review Bealer’s attempt to distinguish intuitions from beliefs, judgments, guesses, and hunches. I examine each of the three phenomenological differences – incorrigibility, implasticity, and scope – that Bealer adduces between intuitions and these other types of mental contents. I argue that any difference between intuitions and these (...)
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  • Intuitions and Arguments: Cognitive Foundations of Argumentation in Natural Theology.Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (2):57-82.
    This paper examines the cognitive foundations of natural theology: the intuitions that provide the raw materials for religious arguments, and the social context in which they are defended or challenged. We show that the premises on which natural theological arguments are based rely on intuitions that emerge early in development, and that underlie our expectations for everyday situations, e.g., about how causation works, or how design is recognized. In spite of the universality of these intuitions, the cogency of natural theological (...)
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  • Cross-Cultural Universality of Knowledge Attributions.Yuan Yuan & Minsun Kim - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology.
    We provide new findings that add to the growing body of empirical evidence that important epistemic intuitions converge across cultures. Specifically, we selected three recent studies conducted in the US that reported surprising effects of knowledge attribution among English speakers. We translated the vignettes used in those studies into Mandarin Chinese and Korean and then ran the studies with participants in Mainland China, Taiwan, and South Korea. We found that, strikingly, all three of the effects first obtained in the US (...)
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  • Religious Disagreement and Epistemic Intuitions.Michael Bergmann - 2017 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 81:19-43.
    Religious disagreement is, quite understandably, viewed as a problem for religious belief. In this paper, I consider why religious disagreement is a problem—why it is a potential defeater for religious belief—and I propose a way of dealing with this sort of potential defeater. I begin by focusing elsewhere—on arguments for radical skepticism. In section 1, I consider skeptical arguments proposed as potential defeaters for all of our perceptual and memory beliefs and explain what I think the rational response is to (...)
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  • Knowledge, Noise, and Curve-Fitting: A Methodological Argument for JTB?Jonathan M. Weinberg - forthcoming - In R. Borges, C. de Almeida & P. Klein (eds.), Explaining Knowledge: New Essays on the Gettier Problem. Oxford University Press.
    The developing body of empirical work on the "Gettier effect" indicates that, in general, the presence of a Gettier-type structure in a case makes participants less likely to attribute knowledge in that case. But is that a sufficient reason to diverge from a JTB theory of knowledge? I argue that considerations of good model selection, and worries about noise and overfitting, should lead us to consider that a live, open question. The Gettier effect is perhaps so transient, and so sensitive (...)
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  • A Fresh Look at the Expertise Reply to the Variation Problem.Paul Oghenovo Irikefe - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (6):840-867.
    Champions of the methodological movement of experimental philosophy have challenged the long-standing practice of relying on intuitive verdicts on cases in philosophical inquiry. They argue that th...
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  • Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Ethics.Andreas Lech Mogensen - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    I consider whether evolutionary explanations can debunk our moral beliefs. Most contemporary discussion in this area is centred on the question of whether debunking implications follow from our ability to explain elements of human morality in terms of natural selection, given that there has been no selection for true moral beliefs. By considering the most prominent arguments in the literature today, I offer reasons to think that debunking arguments of this kind fail. However, I argue that a successful evolutionary debunking (...)
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  • Pragmatic Encroachment and Epistemically Responsible Action.Kenneth Boyd - 2016 - Synthese 193 (9).
    One prominent argument for pragmatic encroachment (PE) is that PE is entailed by a combination of a principle that states that knowledge warrants proper practical reasoning, and judgments that it is more difficult to reason well when the stakes go up. I argue here that this argument is unsuccessful. One problem is that empirical tests concerning knowledge judgments in high-stakes situations only sometimes exhibit the result predicted by PE. I argue here that those judgments that appear to support PE are (...)
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  • Experimental Philosophy, Noisy Intuitions, and Messy Inferences.Jonathan M. Weinberg - 2016 - In Jennifer Nado (ed.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy & Philosophical Methodology. Bloomsbury Academic.
    Much discussion about experimental philosophy 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, (...)
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  • Do Framing Effects Make Moral Intuitions Unreliable?Joanna Demaree-Cotton - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (1):1-22.
    I address Sinnott-Armstrong's argument that evidence of framing effects in moral psychology shows that moral intuitions are unreliable and therefore not noninferentially justified. I begin by discussing what it is to be epistemically unreliable and clarify how framing effects render moral intuitions unreliable. This analysis calls for a modification of Sinnott-Armstrong's argument if it is to remain valid. In particular, he must claim that framing is sufficiently likely to determine the content of moral intuitions. I then re-examine the evidence which (...)
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