•  136
    Conceptual control: On the feasibility of conceptual engineering
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1-29. 2020.
    This paper empirically raises and examines the question of ‘conceptual control’: To what extent are competent thinkers able to reason properly with new senses of words? This question is crucial for conceptual engineering. This prominently discussed philosophical project seeks to improve our representational devices to help us reason better. It frequently involves giving new senses to familiar words, through normative explanations. Such efforts enhance, rather than reduce, our ability to reason p…Read more
  •  14
    This paper trials new experimental methods for the analysis of natural language reasoning and the development of critical ordinary language philosophy in the wake of J.L. Austin. Philosophical arguments and thought experiments are strongly shaped by default pragmatic inferences, including stereotypical inferences. Austin suggested that contextually inappropriate stereotypical inferences are at the root of some philosophical paradoxes and problems, and that these can be resolved by exposing those…Read more
  •  91
    Experimental philosophy is one of the most exciting and controversial philosophical movements today. This book explores how it is reshaping thought about philosophical method. Experimental philosophy imports experimental methods and findings from psychology into philosophy. These fresh resources can be used to develop and defend both armchair methods and naturalist approaches, on an empirical basis. This outstanding collection brings together leading proponents of this new meta-philosophical nat…Read more
  •  452
    Many philosophical thought experiments and arguments involve unusual cases. We present empirical reasons to doubt the reliability of intuitive judgments and conclusions about such cases. Inferences and intuitions prompted by verbal case descriptions are influenced by routine comprehension processes which invoke stereotypes. We build on psycholinguistic findings to determine conditions under which the stereotype associated with the most salient sense of a word predictably supports inappropriate i…Read more
  •  30
    This paper presents a neglected philosophical approach, redevelops it on fresh empirical foundations, and seeks to bring out that it is of not merely historical interest. Building on ideas Ludwig Wittgenstein mooted in the early 1930s, Friedrich Waismann developed a distinctive metaphilosophy: Through case studies on particular philosophical problems, he identified a characteristic structure and genesis displayed by several philosophical problems and presented a distinctive dialogical method for…Read more
  •  287
    Experimental ordinary language philosophy: a cross-linguistic study of defeasible default inferences
    with Paul E. Engelhardt, Joachim Horvath, and Hiroshi Ohtani
    Synthese 198 (2): 1029-1070. 2019.
    This paper provides new tools for philosophical argument analysis and fresh empirical foundations for ‘critical’ ordinary language philosophy. Language comprehension routinely involves stereotypical inferences with contextual defeaters. J.L. Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia first mooted the idea that contextually inappropriate stereotypical inferences from verbal case-descriptions drive some philosophical paradoxes; these engender philosophical problems that can be resolved by exposing the underlyi…Read more
  •  40
    The Myth of the Intuitive: Experimental Philosophy and Philosophical Method
    Philosophical Review 127 (3): 413-418. 2018.
  •  257
    Psycholinguistic methods hold great promise for experimental philosophy. Many philosophical thought experiments and arguments proceed from verbal descriptions of possible cases. Many relevant intuitions and conclusions are driven by spontaneous inferences about what else must also be true in the cases described. Such inferences are continually made in language comprehension and production. This chapter explains how methods from psycholinguistics can be employed to study such routine automatic in…Read more
  •  199
    Methodological Advances in Experimental Philosophy (edited book)
    with Mark Curtis
    Bloomsbury Press. 2019.
    Until recently, experimental philosophy has been associated with the questionnaire-based study of intuitions; however, experimental philosophers now adapt a wide range of empirical methods for new philosophical purposes. New methods include paradigms for behavioural experiments from across the social sciences as well as computational methods from the digital humanities that can process large bodies of text and evidence. This book offers an accessible overview of these exciting innovations. The …Read more
  •  152
    Unfair to physiology
    Acta Analytica 16 (26): 135-155. 2001.
    The paper seeks to refute the idea that physiology can explain at best an organism’s behaviour, outward and inner, but not the conscious experiences that accompany that behaviour. To do so, the paper clarifies the idea by confrontation with an actual example of psychophysical explanation of perceptual experience. This reveals that the idea relies on a prejudice about physiological practice. Then the paper explores some peculiar ways in which this prejudice may survive its refutation. This is to …Read more
  •  364
    Wittgensteinian 'Therapy', Experimental Philosophy, and Metaphilosophical Naturalism
    In Kevin Cahill & Thomas Raleigh (eds.), Wittgenstein and Naturalism, Routledge. pp. 260-286. 2018.
    An important strand of current experimental philosophy promotes a new kind of methodological naturalism. This chapter argues that this new ‘metaphilosophical naturalism’ is fundamentally consistent with key tenets of Wittgenstein’s metaphilosophy, and can provide empirical foundations for therapeutic conceptions of philosophy. Metaphilosophical naturalism invites us to contribute to the resolution of philosophical problems about X by turning to scientific findings about the way we think about X …Read more
  •  250
    Two analogy strategies: the cases of mind metaphors and introspection
    Connection Science 30 (2): 211-243. 2018.
    Analogical reasoning is often employed in problem-solving and metaphor interpretation. This paper submits that, as a default, analogical reasoning addressing these different tasks employs different mapping strategies: In problem-solving, it employs analogy-maximising strategies (like structure mapping, Gentner & Markman 1997); in metaphor interpretation, analogy-minimising strategies (like ATT-Meta, Barnden 2015). The two strategies interact in analogical reasoning with conceptual metaphors. Thi…Read more
  •  146
    The paper presents a novel account of nature and genesis of some philosophical problems, which vindicates a new approach to an arguably central and extensive class of such problems: The paper develops the Wittgensteinian notion of ‘philosophical pictures’ with the help of some notions adapted from metaphor research in cognitive linguistics and from work on unintentional analogical reasoning in cognitive psychology. The paper shows that adherence to such pictures systematically leads to the formu…Read more
  •  162
    Diseases of the Understanding and the Need for Philosophical Therapy
    Philosophical Investigations 34 (1): 22-54. 2011.
    The paper develops and addresses a major challenge for therapeutic conceptions of philosophy of the sort increasingly attributed to Wittgenstein. To be substantive and relevant, such conceptions have to identify “diseases of the understanding” from which philosophers suffer, and to explain why these “diseases” need to be cured in order to resolve or overcome important philosophical problems. The paper addresses this challenge in three steps: With the help of findings and concepts from cognitive …Read more
  •  87
    Intuitions and illusions: From explanation and experiment to assessment
    with Paul E. Engelhardt and Aurelie Herbelot
    In Eugen Fischer & John Collins (eds.), Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and Naturalism. Rethinking Philosophical Method, Routledge. pp. 259-292. 2015.
    This paper pioneers the use of methods and findings from psycholinguistics in experimental philosophy’s ‘sources project’. On this basis, it clarifies the epistemological relevance of empirical findings about intuitions – a key methodological challenge to experimental philosophy. The sources project (aka ‘cognitive epistemology of intuitions’) seeks to develop psychological explanations of philosophically relevant intuitions, which help us assess their evidentiary value. One approach seeks expla…Read more
  •  84
    A certain orthodoxy has it that understanding is essentially computational: that information about what a sentence means is something that may be generated by means of a derivational process from information about the significance of the sentences constituent parts and of the ways in which they are put together. And that it is therefore fruitful to study formal theories acceptable as compositional theories of meaning for natural languages: theories that deliver for each sentence of their object-…Read more
  •  152
    Austin on sense-data: Ordinary language analysis as 'therapy'
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 70 (1): 67-99. 2006.
    The construction and analysis of arguments supposedly are a philosopher's main business, the demonstration of truth or refutation of falsehood his principal aim. In Sense and Sensibilia, J.L. Austin does something entirely different: He discusses the sense-datum doctrine of perception, with the aim not of refuting it but of 'dissolving' the 'philosophical worry' it induces in its champions. To this end, he 'exposes' their 'concealed motives', without addressing their stated reasons. The paper ex…Read more
  •  147
    Philosophical intuitions , heuristics , and metaphors
    Synthese 191 (3): 569-606. 2014.
    : Psychological explanations of philosophical intuitions can help us assess their evidentiary value, and our warrant for accepting them. To explain and assess conceptual or classificatory intuitions about specific situations, some philosophers have suggested explanations which invoke heuristic rules proposed by cognitive psychologists. The present paper extends this approach of intuition assessment by heuristics-based explanation, in two ways: It motivates the proposal of a new heuristic, and sh…Read more
  •  130
    The later Wittgenstein advanced a revolutionary but puzzling conception of how philosophy ought to be practised: Philosophical problems are not to be coped with by establishing substantive claims or devising explanations or theories. Instead, philosophical questions ought to be treated ‘like an illness’. Even though this ‘non-cognitivism’ about philosophy has become a focus of debate, the specifically ‘therapeutic’ aims and ‘non-theoretical’ methods constitutive of it remain ill understood. They…Read more
  •  190
    Abstract: The notion that philosophy can be practised as a kind of therapy has become a focus of debate. This article explores how philosophy can be practised literally as a kind of therapy, in two very different ways: as philosophical therapy that addresses “real-life problems” (e.g., Sextus Empiricus) and as therapeutic philosophy that meets a need for therapy which arises in and from philosophical reflection (e.g., Wittgenstein). With the help of concepts adapted from cognitive and clinical p…Read more
  •  151
    The paper clarifies therapeutic ideas about philosophical method which Wittgenstein puts forward in his "Big Typescript". It does so by analysing how Wittgenstein treats the question 'What is meaning?', in that part of the same work from which the opening sections of his "Philosophical Investigations" derive. On this basis, the paper explains why Wittgenstein set himself a therapeutic goal, why this is reasonable, and how he sought to attain that goal without 'pronouncing new truths about the su…Read more
  •  596
    Intuitions' Linguistic Sources: Stereotypes, Intuitions and Illusions
    with Paul E. Engelhardt
    Mind and Language 31 (1): 67-103. 2016.
    Intuitive judgments elicited by verbal case-descriptions play key roles in philosophical problem-setting and argument. Experimental philosophy's ‘sources project’ seeks to develop psychological explanations of philosophically relevant intuitions which help us assess our warrant for accepting them. This article develops a psycholinguistic explanation of intuitions prompted by philosophical case-descriptions. For proof of concept, we target intuitions underlying a classic paradox about perception,…Read more
  •  158
    _Philosophical Delusion and its Therapy_ provides new foundations and methods for the revolutionary project of philosophical therapy pioneered by Ludwig Wittgenstein. The book vindicates this currently much-discussed project by reconstructing the genesis of important philosophical problems: With the help of concepts adapted from cognitive linguistics and cognitive psychology, the book analyses how philosophical reflection is shaped by pictures and metaphors we are not aware of employing and are …Read more
  •  88
    Bogus Mystery about Linguistic Competence
    Synthese 135 (1): 49-75. 2003.
    The paper considers a version of the problem of linguistic creativity obtained by interpreting attributions of ordinary semantic knowledge as attributions of practical competencies with expressions. The paper explains how to cope with this version of the problem without invoking either compositional theories of meaning or the notion of `tacit knowledge' (of such theories) that has led to unnecessary puzzlement. The central idea is to show that the core assumption used to raise the problem is fal…Read more
  •  42
    Paradox-Psychologie: Kognitive Epistemologie und philosophische Problemaufloesung
    In Thomas Grundmann, Joachim Horvath & Jens Kipper (eds.), Die Experimentelle Philosophie in der Diskussion, Suhrkamp. pp. 322-349. 2014.
    Der Aufsatz stellt einen Strang der experimentellen Philosophie vor, der sich nicht mit empirischen Umfragen begnügt, sondern bemüht, psychologische Experimente und Erklärungen für die philosophische Arbeit nutzbar zu machen: Das prominent propagierte, aber bislang nur vereinzelt praktizierte Forschungsprogramm der kognitiven Epistemologie (alias ‚sources project‘) verwendet bereits vorliegende experimentelle und theoretische Ergebnisse der Kognitions- und Sozialpsychologie, um ihrerseits experi…Read more
  •  319
    Stereotypical Inferences: Philosophical Relevance and Psycholinguistic Toolkit
    with Paul E. Engelhardt
    Ratio 30 (4): 411-442. 2017.
    Stereotypes shape inferences in philosophical thought, political discourse, and everyday life. These inferences are routinely made when thinkers engage in language comprehension or production: We make them whenever we hear, read, or formulate stories, reports, philosophical case-descriptions, or premises of arguments – on virtually any topic. These inferences are largely automatic: largely unconscious, non-intentional, and effortless. Accordingly, they shape our thought in ways we can properly u…Read more