CFP: Philosophical Analysis and Experimental Philosophy

Call for Papers, special issue of Discipline filosofiche
Philosophical Analysis and Experimental Philosophy

Over the last decades, a renewed interest for metaphilosophical issues has prompted many philosophers in the analytic tradition to ask questions on the epistemic status and the methodology of philosophical inquiry. Reflection has focussed especially on the nature and reliability of intuitions, on the notion of a priori and on the plausibility of the idea that philosophical knowledge can be gained, as the phrase goes, from the armchair.

This attitude stems from various sources, such as the cognitive turn that has shaped a consistent part of recent Anglophone philosophy, the revival of metaphysics encouraged by Kripke’s rehabilitation of de re necessity, and the formulation of new accounts of analyticity and a priori knowledge. In part, however, metaphilosophical issues have become so urgent for today’s analytical philosophers as a result of the increasing attraction of so-called ‘experimental philosophy’.

Upholders of experimental philosophy are driven by the idea that philosophical inquiry cannot afford to ignore the data gathered by empirical sciences. Considering the tendency to discount empirical results to retreat into the domain of the a priori as a relatively recent development in philosophical methodology, they advocate a return to an earlier idea of philosophy, conceived as the study of the deepest questions raised by the human condition, a study necessarily open to the contributions of various empirical disciplines, such as psychology, cognitive sciences, social sciences and history.

In the last fifteen years or so, practitioners of experimental philosophy have thus collected several sets of empirical data, from which they wish to draw significant consequences about the plausibility of various philosophical views concerning, for instance, linguistic reference, the nature of knowledge and issues in moral philosophy. Many of these philosophers believe that empirical research can enhance our understanding of several important philosophical notions and issues. But some are more radical: they argue that the results of empirical research show that the traditional way of doing philosophy, with its reliance on counterfactual reasoning and intuitions generated by mental experiments, is intrinsically unreliable. As one would expect, this more radical position has sparked serious concern among practitioners of traditional philosophical analysis. Thus, they have variously reacted to the challenge by questioning the soundness of the methodology employed by experimental philosophers in collecting their data, by denying that such empirical data can have any genuine bearing on philosophical research, or by refining their own view of the nature of the intuitions employed in conceptual and/or philosophical analysis.

The aim of this issue of Discipline filosofiche is to collect papers representing a wide range of approaches and positions on the many issues raised by this clash of metaphilosophical paradigms.

The issue will host two opening contributions by two well-known exponents of the opposite sides of the debate: Ernest Sosa (Rutgers University) and Jonathan Weinberg (University of Arizona).

Submissions are invited on both the experimental side – promoting new ways of pursuing philosophical inquiry – and the traditional side – defending classical philosophical analysis. Papers may be theoretical or experimental in character, either discussing broad methodological questions (the role of intuitions, the value of mental experiments, various conceptions of naturalism, etc.) or elaborating on experimental studies concerning particular concepts. Papers assessing the merits and limits of both attitudes, either in general or in specific research fields, will be particularly welcome. Submissions will be considered in all the philosophical disciplines or subdisciplines: epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and cognitive sciences, philosophy of mathematics and mathematical cognition, reasoning and philosophy of logic, ethics, aesthetics, etc.

Guest Contributors

Ernest Sosa (Rutgers University)
Jonathan Weinberg (University of Arizona)

Guest Editors

Mario Alai (University of Urbino)
Andrea Sereni (IUSS, Pavia)
Giorgio Volpe (University of Bologna)

Submission guidelines

Submitted manuscripts must be written in English and should not exceed 9,000 words including abstract, references and footnotes.

All manuscripts will go through a double-blind peer review process. They should be prepared for anonymous refereeing and sent by email attachment in .docx, .doc, .odt, or .rtf format to (all submissions will be acknowledged).

Submitted manuscripts can be formatted in any clear and consistent style, but authors finalizing their papers for publication will be required to hand in a final version that respects the journal’s stylistic rules.

Submission of a manuscript is understood to imply that the paper has not been published before and is not being considered for publication by any other journal.

Relevant Dates

Deadline for submission (extended): 31 January, 2015.

Notification of acceptance, conditional acceptance, rejection: 31 May, 2015.

Final version due: 30 September, 2015.

About Discipline filosofiche

Discipline filosofiche is a peer-reviewed philosophy journal which is published twice a year, print and online, with the support of the Department of Philosophy and Communication Studies of the University of Bologna. It is indexed in the bibliographic databases and search engines listed at and it is ranked in class A in the Italian ASN rating for the 11/C-1-C2-C3-C4-C5 areas.

Back to Top