On Normativity and Epistemic Intuitions: Failure of Replication

Episteme 12 (1):95-116 (2015)
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Abstract

In one of the earlier influential papers in the field of experimental philosophy titled Normativity and Epistemic Intuitions published in 2001, Jonathan M. Weinberg, Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich reported that respondents answered Gettier type questions differently depending on their ethnic background as well as socioeconomic status. There is currently a debate going on, on the significance of the results of Weinberg et al. (2001) and its implications for philosophical methodology in general and epistemology in specific. Despite the debates, however, to our knowledge, there has not been a replication attempt of the experiments of the original paper. We collected data from four different sources (two on-line and two in-person) to replicate the experiments. Despite several different data sets and in various cases larger sample sizes and hence greater power to detect differences, we failed to detect significant differences between the above-mentioned ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Our results suggest that epistemic intuitions are more robust across ethnic and socioeconomic groups than Weinberg et al. (2001) indicates. Given our data, we believe that the notion of differences in epistemic intuitions among different ethnic and socioeconomic groups that follows from Weinberg et al. (2001) needs to be corrected.

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Hamid Seyedsayamdost
University of London

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