Can we learn something philosophical from experimental philosophy?Thursday, 30 March 2017 - 6 pm
peaker : Pascal Engel (EHESS)
The debate about the relevance of experimental philosophy has been, in my view, misconceived. Both experimental philosophers and their "a priorist" opponents have assumed that the issue turns upon whether thought experiments can yield philosophical insight and contribute to conceptual analysis, the latter assuming that the answer is positive, the former that it is negative. Both parties over-emphasize the importance of thought experiments and counterfactual thinking in philosophy, as well as the role of intuitions. Philosophy is indeed mostly conceptual analysis, but thought experiments do not play a central role and the role of intuitions is not essential. Philosophy is first and foremost a matter of constructing theories and arguing for them; thought experiments can only make sense within this larger context.
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