What is a philosophical effect? Models of data in experimental philosophy
- 332 Downloads
Papers in experimental philosophy rarely offer an account of what it would take to reveal a philosophically significant effect. In part, this is because experimental philosophers tend to pay insufficient attention to the hierarchy of models that would be required to justify interpretations of their data; as a result, some of their most exciting claims fail as explanations. But this does not impugn experimental philosophy. My aim is to show that experimental philosophy could be made more successful by developing, articulating, and advancing plausible models of the data that are collected and the analyses that are employed.
KeywordsExperimental philosophy Models of data Likert scales
Eric Winsberg and Rebecca Kukla helped me see that the relationship between models of data and scientific explanation was relevant to experimental philosophy. I received helpful feedback on an early version of this paper from Rik Hine and an audience at the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology (Austin, 2013). Ruth Kramer, James Mattingly, and J. Brendan Ritchie read drafts of this paper, and offered comments that made the arguments stronger than they otherwise would have been. Finally, I would like to thank all of the anonymous reviewers of this paper; I appreciated the time they took to offer comments, even where I disagreed with them.
- Buckwalter, W. & M. Phelan (2013). Function and feeling machines. Philosophical Studies, 166(2), 349–361. Online supplementary material http://goo.gl/D27JTg. Accessed 1 March 2015.
- Chambers, C. (2012). The dirty dozen: A wish list for psychology and cognitive neuroscience. http://goo.gl/XluVRQ, Accessed 31 January 2014.
- Chambers, C. et al (2013). Trust in science would be improved by study pre-registration. The Guardian. http://goo.gl/L1Hzck. Accessed 31 January 2014.
- Crockett, M. (2014). Behind the scenes of a ‘shocking’ new study on human altruism. The Guardian. http://gu.com/p/43gpm/stw Accessed 2 December 2014.
- Haugeland, J. (1991). Representational genera. In W. Ramsey, S. Stich, & D. Rumelhart (Eds.), Philosophy and connectionist theory (pp. 61–89). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Rosenthal, D. (2011). Mental quality, valence, and intuition: Comments on Edouard Machery. https://wfs.gc.cuny.edu/DRosenthal/www/DR-MERG.pdf.
- Suppes, P. (1962). Models of data. In E. Nagel, P. Suppes, & A. Tarski (Eds.), Logic, methodology and philosophy of science (pp. 252–261). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Wimsatt, W. (1974). Complexity and organization. In K. Schaffner, & R. Cohen (Eds.), Boston studies in the philosophy of science (Vol. 20, pp. 67–86). Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
- Wimsatt, W. (2007). Re-engineering philosophy for limited beings: Piecewise approximations to reality. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Winsberg, E., Huebner, B., & Kukla, R. (in press). Accountability, values, and social modeling in radically collaborative research. Studies in the history and philosophy of science, 46, 16–23.Google Scholar