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Gendler, Tamar Szabó, , . Philosophical thought experiments, intuitions, and cognitive equilibrium
2007, French, Peter A. & Wettstein, Howard K. (eds). Philosophy and Empirical. Oxford: Blackwell. 68-89.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Summary: Drawing on literature from the dual-processing tradition in psychology, this paper tries to explain why contemplation of an imaginary particular may have cognitive and motivational effects that differ from those evoked by an abstract description of the same content, and hence, why thought experiments may be effective devices for conceptual reconfiguration. It suggests that by presenting content in a suitably concrete way, thought experiments recruit representational schemas that were otherwise inactive, thereby evoking responses that may run counter to those evoked by alternative presentations of relevantly similar content.

Comment: In this interesting paper, Gendler elucidates the role and nature of intuition in the light of current philosophical practice. It is a good material for teaching on philosophical intuitions and experimental philosophy.

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Jacskon Balcerak, Magdalena, Brendan Balcerak Jackson, , . Understanding and Philosophical Methodology
2012,
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Contributed by:

Abstract: According to Conceptualism, philosophy is an independent discipline that can be pursued from the armchair because philosophy seeks truths that can be discovered purely on the basis of our understanding of expressions and the concepts they express. In his recent book, The Philosophy of Philosophy, Timothy Williamson argues that while philosophy can indeed be pursued from the armchair, we should reject any form of Conceptualism. In this paper, we show that Williamson’s arguments against Conceptualism are not successful, and we sketch a way to understand understanding that shows that there is a clear sense in which we can indeed come to know the answers to (many) philosophical questions purely on the basis of understanding.

Comment: The author argues, contra Williamson, for the role of understanding as a way of gaining knowledge and providing answer to lots of philosophical questions. Good to use as a further reading for postgraduate courses in epistemology of understanding, as well as philosophical methodology.

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Midgley, Mary, , . Philosophical Pluming
1992, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements 33: 139-151
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Added by: Anne-Marie McCallion, Contributed by:

Introduction: Is philosophy like plumbing? I have made this comparison a number of times when I have wanted to stress that philosophising is not just grand and elegant and difficult, but is also needed. It is not optional. The idea has caused mild surprise, and has sometimes been thought rather undignified. The question of dignity is a very interesting one, and I shall come back to it at the end of this article. But first, I would like to work the comparison out a bit more fully.

Comment: This text offers an accessible and vibrant discussion of meta-philosophical concerns regarding the nature and purpose of philosophical enquiry. No prior knowledge is assumed, and the text would make for a fruitful starting point – or introductory reading to – the topic of metaphilosophy or philosophical methods. It will be particularly useful for sparking interest in philosophical methods and demonstrating to students the purpose and value of asking meta-philosophical questions.

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Midgley, Mary, , . What is Philosophy For?
2018, London: Bloomsbury Academic
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Why should anybody take an interest in philosophy? Is it just another detailed study like metallurgy? Or is it similar to history, literature and even religion: a study meant to do some personal good and influence our lives? In her last published work, Mary Midgley addresses provocative questions, interrogating the various forms of our current intellectual anxieties and confusions and how we might deal with them. In doing so, she provides a robust, yet not uncritical, defence of philosophy and the life of the mind.
This defence is expertly placed in the context of contemporary debates about science, religion, and philosophy. It asks whether, in light of rampant scientific and technological developments, we still need philosophy to help us think about the big questions of meaning, knowledge, and value.

Comment: An accessible text that could serve well as an alternative introduction to philosophical methodology.

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Murdoch, Iris, , . Against Dryness
1961, Encounter, January issue: 16-20.
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Added by: Anne-Marie McCallion, Contributed by:

Abstract: The complaints which I wish to make are concerned primarily with prose, not with poetry, and primarily with novels, not with drama; and they are brief, simplified, abstract, and possibly insular. They are not to be construed as implying any precise picture of “the function of the writer.” It is the function of the writer to write the best book he knows how to write. These remarks have to do with the background to present-day literature, in Liberal democracies in general and Welfare States in particular, in a sense in which this must be the concern of any serious critic.

Comment: This text offers a vibrant reflection on the different writing styles within philosophy and literature throughout the centuries. It would be useful for courses which touch upon the subject of philosophical style, meta-philosophy or philosophical methods, as well as – more broadly – discussions which pertain to the importance of contextualising philosophy and situating thinkers within their surrounding political environments. Though this text is clearly written, it requires a good amount of background knowledge of the authors cited within the text and as such is probably best suited to intermediate or advanced students.

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