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Brown, Jessica, , . Experimental Philosophy, Contextualism and SSI
2013, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: 86 (2): 233-261.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Abstract: I will ask the conditional question: if folk attributions of “know” are not sensitive to the stakes and/or the salience of error, does this cast doubt on contextualism or subject-sensitive invariantism (SSI)? I argue that if it should turn out that folk attributions of knowledge are insensitive to such factors, then this undermines contextualism, but not SSI. That is not to say that SSI is invulnerable to empirical work of any kind. Rather, I defend the more modest claim that leading versions of SSI are not undermined by one particular kind of experimental result, namely the recent suggestion that knowledge attributions are insensitive to the stakes.

Comment: Suitable for an upper-level undergraduate course on epistemology for multiple purposes. It is good as a further reading for sessions on contextualism, pragmatic encroachment, philosophical methodology, and the use of experimental philosophy in epistemological theorizing.

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Cavendish, Margaret, , . Observations upon Experimental Philosophy (1666)
2011, Cambridge University Press
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Benjamin Goldberg

Publisher’s Note: Margaret Cavendish’s 1668 edition of Observations upon Experimental Philosophy, presented here in its first modern edition, holds a unique position in early modern philosophy. Cavendish rejects the Aristotelianism which was taught in the universities in the seventeenth century, and the picture of nature as a grand machine which was propounded by Hobbes, Descartes and members of the Royal Society of London, such as Boyle. She also rejects the views of nature which make reference to immaterial spirits. Instead she develops an original system of organicist materialism, and draws on the doctrines of ancient Stoicism to attack the tenets of seventeenth-century mechanical philosophy. Her treatise is a document of major importance in the history of women’s contributions to philosophy and science.

Comment: Needed in courses on early modern matter theory and experimental philosophy, as it is a useful counter to the one sided enthusiasm of traditional subjects of early modern courses such as Boyle and Descartes.

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Cavendish, Margaret, , . Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world / written by the thrice noble, illustrious, and excellent princesse, the Duchess of Newcastle.
2001, Edited by E. O’Neill. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy).
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Added by: Benjamin Goldberg, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Margaret Cavendish’s 1668 edition of Observations upon Experimental Philosophy, presented here in its first modern edition, holds a unique position in early modern philosophy. Cavendish rejects the Aristotelianism which was taught in the universities in the seventeenth century, and the picture of nature as a grand machine which was propounded by Hobbes, Descartes and members of the Royal Society of London, such as Boyle. She also rejects the views of nature which make reference to immaterial spirits. Instead she develops an original system of organicist materialism, and draws on the doctrines of ancient Stoicism to attack the tenets of seventeenth-century mechanical philosophy. Her treatise is a document of major importance in the history of women’s contributions to philosophy and science.

Comment: In this work, Cavendish argues against the experimental paradigm of the emerging Royal Society, contrasting their conception of passive, dead matter, with her own conception of vital materialism. This text will prove useful in conjunction with discussions of experiment and epistemology in early modern philosophy. Usefully paired with other philosophers like Boyle, Descartes, and Henry More, as well as scientists like William Harvey.

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Nado, Jennifer, , . Philosophical expertise and scientific expertise
2015, Philosophical Psychology 28(7):1026-1044.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Abstract: The “expertise defense” is the claim that philosophers have special expertise that allows them to resist the biases suggested by the findings of experimental philosophers. Typically, this defense is backed up by an analogy with expertise in science or other academic fields. Recently, however, studies have begun to suggest that philosophers’ intuitions may be just as subject to inappropriate variation as those of the folk. Should we conclude that the expertise defense has been debunked? In this paper, the author argues that the analogy with science still motivates a default assumption of philosophical expertise; however, the expertise so motivated is not expertise in intuition, and its existence would not suffice to answer the experimentalist challenge. She suggests that there are deep parallels between the current methodological crisis in philosophy and the decline of introspection-based methods in psychology in the early twentieth century. The comparison can give us insight into the possible future evolution of philosophical methodology.

Comment: This paper offers a thought provoking introduction to issues related to philosophical intuitions, experimental philosophy, and philosophical methodology in general. It is not an easy read, but can serve for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

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Nagel, Jennifer, , . Epistemic Intuitions
2007, Philosophy Compass 2(6): 792-819.
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Abstract: We naturally evaluate the beliefs of others, sometimes by deliberate calculation, and sometimes in a more immediate fashion. Epistemic intuitions are immediate assessments arising when someone’s condition appears to fall on one side or the other of some significant divide in epistemology. After giving a rough sketch of several major features of epistemic intuitions, this article reviews the history of the current philosophical debate about them and describes the major positions in that debate. Linguists and psychologists also study epistemic assessments; the last section of the paper discusses some of their research and its potential relevance to epistemology.

Comment: This is a good introductory article on epistemic intuitions (intuitions interesting to epistemologists). It is useful for teachings on epistemology, philosophical methodology and experimental philosophy.

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Nagel, Jennifer, , . Intuitions and Experiments: A Defense of the Case Method in Epistemology
2012, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3): 495-527.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Abstract: Many epistemologists use intuitive responses to particular cases as evidence for their theories. Recently, experimental philosophers have challenged the evidential value of intuitions, suggesting that our responses to particular cases are unstable, inconsistent with the responses of the untrained, and swayed by factors such as ethnicity and gender. This paper presents evidence that neither gender nor ethnicity influence epistemic intuitions, and that the standard responses to Gettier cases and the like are widely shared. It argues that epistemic intuitions are produced by the natural ‘mindreading’ capacity that underpins ordinary attributions of belief and knowledge in everyday social interaction. Although this capacity is fallible, its weaknesses are similar to the weaknesses of natural capacities such as sensory perception. Experimentalists who do not wish to be skeptical about ordinary empirical methods have no good reason to be skeptical about epistemic intuitions.

Comment: Nagel is one of the prominent epistemologists who bring relevant psychological researches to philosophical debates. In this excellent paper, Nagel discusses the legitimacy of using pre-theoretical epistemic intuitions in epistemological theorizing in the light of findings in cognitive science. It is very useful for teachings on experimental philosophy in courses on epistemology or methodology of philosophy. It can be used together with Stephen (2013)’s response “Do different groups have different epistemic intuitions? a reply to Jennifer Nagel”.

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Wright, Jennifer, , . On intuitional stability: The clear, the strong and the paradigmatic
2010, Cognition 115(3): 491-503.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Abstract: Skepticism about the epistemic value of intuition in theoretical and philosophical inquiry has recently been bolstered by empirical research suggesting that people’s concrete-case intuitions are vulnerable to irrational biases (e.g., the order effect). What is more, skeptics argue that we have no way to “calibrate” our intuitions against these biases and no way of anticipating intuitional instability. This paper challenges the skeptical position, introducing data from two studies that suggest not only that people’s concrete-case intuitions are often stable, but also that people have introspective awareness of this stability, providing a promising means by which to assess the epistemic value of our intuitions.

Comment: Essential reading for postgraduate courses on philosophical methodology, especially experimental philosophy. It covers important topics such as intuitional stability, belief strength, epistemic value and biases.

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