Modeling and corpus methods in experimental philosophy

Philosophy Compass (forthcoming)
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Research in experimental philosophy has increasingly been turning to corpus methods to produce evidence for empirical claims, as they open up new possibilities for testing linguistic claims or studying concepts across time and cultures. The present article reviews the quasi-experimental studies that have been done using textual data from corpora in philosophy, with an eye for the modeling and experimental design that enable statistical inference. I find that most studies forego comparisons that could control for confounds, and that only a little less than half employ statistical testing methods to control for chance results. Furthermore, at least some researchers make modeling decisions that either do not take into account the nature of corpora and of the word-concept relationship, or undermine the experiment's capacity to answer research questions. I suggest that corpus methods could both provide more powerful evidence and gain more mainstream acceptance by improving their modeling practices.
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Archival date: 2022-05-10
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