Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Armchair in Flames? Experimental Philosophy and its Critics," University of Cologne, September 22-24, 2008.

Recent empirical findings from experimental philosophy suggest that philosophical intuitions are much more sensitive to all kinds of background factors than traditional philosophers have thought. This relativity of intuitions seems to present a severe challenge to the standard procedure in philosophy, namely clarifying philosophical phenomena just by relying on intuitions. Our workshop will focus on the following questions:
  • To what extent are intuitions relative in different areas of philosophy?
  • What are the determining background factors? (theory, cultural and socio-economic factors, priming effects etc.)?
  • Are intuitions relative across the board and under all conditions? Are folk intuitions, conceptual intuitions as well as rational intuitions equally affected? Does relativity even hold for sufficiently reflected intuitions?
  • Can we explain away the experimentally observed relativity by reinterpreting the data or criticizing the methodology of experimental philosophy?
  • What bearing do these findings have on the status of intuitions as evidence?

There will be participants from both camps: experimental philosophers as well as more traditionally minded philosophers. Here is a list of confirmed speakers and preliminary titles:

  • Thomas Grundmann (University of Cologne, Germany): "Some Hope for Intuitions: a Reply to Weinberg"
  • Frank Hofmann (University of Tübingen, Germany): "Intuitions, Dispositions, and the A Priori"
  • Joachim Horvath (University of Cologne, Germany): "Experimental Philosophy and Meta-Epistemology"
  • Jens Kipper (University of Cologne, Germany): "Philosophers and Grammarians"
  • Kirk Ludwig (University of Florida, USA): "Intuition and Relativity"
  • Thomas Nadelhoffer (Dickinson College, USA): "The Psychology of Philosophy"
  • Christian Nimtz (University of Hamburg, Germany): "What Intuitions are not"
  • Joseph Shieber (Lafayette College, USA): "On the Very Idea of Experimental Philosophy."
  • Ernest Sosa (Rutgers University, USA): "Intuitions and X-Phi"
  • Anand Vaidya (San José State University, USA): "On the Central Theoretical Posit of Experimental Philosophy"
  • Jonathan Weinberg (Indiana University, USA): "Are Philosophers Experts?"

The workshop is sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie (GAP) and the Universität zu Köln. Attendance of the workshop is free, but please check our website for registration and further information:

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