the whole world burns

Archive for December 2007

Philosophy as an experimental science


[A] restive contingent of our tribe is convinced that it can shed light on traditional philosophical problems by going out and gathering information about what people actually think and say about our thought experiments. [...]

It always irritated me in philosophy discussions when someone would seriously make an argument that something was "intuitively" true or false. There are already some interesting results:

Recently, a team of philosophers led by Machery came up with situations that had the same form as Kripke's and presented them to two groups of undergraduates — one in New Jersey and another in Hong Kong. The Americans, it turned out, were significantly more likely to give the responses that Kripke took to be obvious; the Chinese students had intuitions that were consonant with the older theory of reference.

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.