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Experimental Philosophy of Language

Oxford Handbooks Online (2015)

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  1. Is There a “Qua Problem” for a Purely Causal Account of Reference Grounding?Max Deutsch - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (5):1807-1824.
    This article argues that the “_qua_ problem” for purely causal theories of reference grounding is an illusion. Reference _can_ be grounded via description and fit, but purely causal reference grounding is possible too. In fact, “arguments from ignorance and error” suggest that many of our terms have had their reference grounded purely causally. If the _qua_ problem is illusory, then there is no need to adopt a “hybrid” theory of reference grounding of the kind recently recommended by Amie Thomasson (Ontology (...)
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  • Interpreting ordinary uses of psychological and moral terms in the AI domain.Hyungrae Noh - 2023 - Synthese 201 (6):1-33.
    Intuitively, proper referential extensions of psychological and moral terms exclude artifacts. Yet ordinary speakers commonly treat AI robots as moral patients and use psychological terms to explain their behavior. This paper examines whether this referential shift from the human domain to the AI domain entails semantic changes: do ordinary speakers literally consider AI robots to be psychological or moral beings? Three non-literalist accounts for semantic changes concerning psychological and moral terms used in the AI domain will be discussed: the technical (...)
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  • The Explication Defence of Arguments from Reference.Mark Pinder - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (6):1253-1276.
    In a number of influential papers, Machery, Mallon, Nichols and Stich have presented a powerful critique of so-called arguments from reference, arguments that assume that a particular theory of reference is correct in order to establish a substantive conclusion. The critique is that, due to cross-cultural variation in semantic intuitions supposedly undermining the standard methodology for theorising about reference, the assumption that a theory of reference is correct is unjustified. I argue that the many extant responses to Machery et al.’s (...)
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  • Problems of Translation for Cross-Cultural Experimental Philosophy.Masashi Kasaki - 2017 - Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 34 (3):481-500.
    In this paper, first, I briefly discuss various types of obstacles and difficulties for cross-cultural study and in particular failure of translational equivalence of linguistic stimuli and questions by referring to the literature in cultural psychology. Second, I summarize the extant cross-cultural studies of semantic judgments about reference and truth-value with regard to proper names, with a focus on Sytsma et al.’s (2015) study that examined the differences between English and Japanese. Lastly, I introduce and discuss the two recent studies (...)
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  • Reports from Twin Earth: Both deep structure and appearance determine the reference of natural kind terms.Jussi Haukioja, Mons Nyquist & Jussi Jylkkä - 2020 - Mind and Language 36 (3):377-403.
    Following the influential thought experiments by Hilary Putnam and others, philosophers of language have for the most part adopted semantic externalism concerning natural kind terms. In this article, we present results from three experiments on the reference of natural kind terms. Our results confirm some standard externalist assumptions, but are in conflict with others: Ordinary speakers take both appearance and underlying nature to be central in their categorization judgments. Moreover, our results indicate that speakers’ categorization judgments are gradual, and proportional (...)
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  • “Nobody would really talk that way!”: the critical project in contemporary ordinary language philosophy.Nat Hansen - 2018 - Synthese 197 (6):2433-2464.
    This paper defends a challenge, inspired by arguments drawn from contemporary ordinary language philosophy and grounded in experimental data, to certain forms of standard philosophical practice. The challenge is inspired by contemporary philosophers who describe themselves as practicing “ordinary language philosophy”. Contemporary ordinary language philosophy can be divided into constructive and critical approaches. The critical approach to contemporary ordinary language philosophy has been forcefully developed by Avner Baz, who attempts to show that a substantial chunk of contemporary philosophy is fundamentally (...)
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  • Testing the Reference of Biological Kind Terms.Michael Devitt & Brian C. Porter - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (5):e12979.
    Recent experimental work on “natural” kind terms has shown evidence of both descriptive and nondescriptive reference determination. This has led some to propose ambiguity or hybrid theories, as opposed to traditional description and causal‐historical theories of reference. Many of those experiments tested theories against referential intuitions. We reject this method, urging that reference should be tested against usage, preferably by elicited production. Our tests of the usage of a biological kind term confirm that there are indeed both descriptive and causal‐historical (...)
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  • A bibliometric study of the research field of experimental philosophy of language.Jincai Li & Xiaozhen Zhu - 2022 - Forum for Linguistic Studies 4 (1):18-35.
    The past eighteen years witnessed the rapid development of experimental philosophy of language. Adopting a bibliometric approach, this study examines the research trends and status quo of this burgeoning field based on a corpus of 237 publications retrieved from PhilPapers. It is observed that experimental philosophy of language has undergone three stages, the initiation stage, the development stage, and the extension stage, across which there is a clear upward trend in the annual number of publications. Michael Devitt, Edouard Machery, John (...)
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