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Schwartzman, Lisa. Intuition, Thought Experiments, and Philosophical Method: Feminism and Experimental Philosophy
2012, Journal of Social Philosophy 43 (3): 307-316
Added by: Tomasz Zyglewicz, Shannon Brick, Michael Greer
Contemporary analytic philosophers often employ thought experiments in arguing for or against a philosophical position. These abstract, counterfactual scenarios draw on our intuitions to illustrate the force of a particular argument or to demonstrate that a certain position is untenable. Political theorists, for instance, employ Rawls's “original position” to illustrate the power of “justice as fairness,” and epistemologists raise “Gettier cases” to problematize a standard definition of knowledge. Although not all philosophers proceed in this manner, such methods are common in many areas of contemporary analytic philosophy...

Comment (from this Blueprint): Schwartzman mounts a critical argument about x-phi's feminist potential. She argues that the sorts of methods that are central to much x-phi are uncritical of the ways in which intuitions can be shaped by a variety of prejudicial and ideological forces, and are unable to reveal the existence of the sort of structural injustice that is responsible for professional philosophy's radically unrepresentative demographics. Importantly, along the way she recruits empirical work about the nature of implicit bias and stereotype threat.

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