Intuitions' Linguistic Sources: Stereotypes, Intuitions and Illusions

Mind and Language 31 (1):67-103 (2016)
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Abstract
Intuitive judgments elicited by verbal case-descriptions play key roles in philosophical problem-setting and argument. Experimental philosophy's ‘sources project’ seeks to develop psychological explanations of philosophically relevant intuitions which help us assess our warrant for accepting them. This article develops a psycholinguistic explanation of intuitions prompted by philosophical case-descriptions. For proof of concept, we target intuitions underlying a classic paradox about perception, trace them to stereotype-driven inferences automatically executed in verb comprehension, and employ a forced-choice plausibility-ranking task to elicit the relevant stereotypical associations of perception- and appearance-verbs. We obtain a debunking explanation that resolves the philosophical paradox.
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