Where Are All the Successful Analyses?

I promised a surprise for today’s post. It’s a nasty one. Philosophical analysis is a search for the essential natures of such things as knowledge, justice, and causality. I’ve been defending analysis on two fronts. First, I’ve argued that it its inputs—the case judgments delivered by our “starter theories” of …

The Substantiality of Philosophical Analysis

The story so far: Concepts of philosophical categories such as knowledge or justice, are, or gain their cognitive significance from, explanatory theories of the relevant domain (involving epistemic explanation in the case of knowledge and moral explanation in the case of justice). Thanks to the way that concepts semantically hook …

The Reliability of Case Judgments

If the “theory-theory“ of concepts sketched in the previous post is correct, then we begin the philosophical analysis of a category such as knowledge equipped with nothing more than some rudimentary beliefs about the place of knowledge in the explanatory order. These beliefs may paint a rather partial or even …

Philosophical Concepts as Natural Kind Concepts

I want to argue that philosophical analysis, a.k.a. the method of cases, is a worthy pursuit: that it reliably gives us substantial knowledge. The linchpin of my strategy is an appeal to cognitive psychology to show that philosophical concepts—the concept of knowledge, the concept of justice, the concept of causality, …

The Philosopher in the Armchair

A philosopher goes into the armchair and brings back knowledge. What world have they been exploring? What is this knowledge of, and how did they find it? These are questions that philosophy, the most methodologically self-conscious of all the disciplines, can’t help but ask itself over and over again. They …

Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds: Conceptual Analysis and Conceptual Engineering

In the previous post, I defended a restricted form of modal skepticism and I concluded that many traditional philosophical issues could not be resolved and should be set aside. One may wonder what is left for philosophers to do: Am I suggesting to close philosophy departments? Fear not, dear reader, …

[CFP] The Meta-Problem of Consciousness

This is a call for papers for a symposium in the Journal of Consciousness Studies on David Chalmers’ new paper “The Meta-Problem of Consciousness”. More than twenty years ago, David Chalmers published “Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness” in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. He distinguished between the “easy …

Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds: Modal Skepticism

In the previous post I presented the main arguments against the method of cases developed in Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds. Various objections can be raised against this argument, some of which have already been put in print. Chapter 5 addresses 8 objections: I defend the experimental quality of the research …

Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds: Unreliability, Dogmatism, and Parochialism

In the previous post, I argued for a minimalist characterization of the method of cases, which I share with some of the most well-known critics of experimental philosophy. In this post, I want to present the two arguments against the method of cases, developed in Chapter 3 and 4 of …

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