Cognitive Science of Philosophy Symposium: Metaethics and Experimental Philosophy

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s Symposium series on the Cognitive Science of Philosophy! The aim of the series is to examine the use of methods from the cognitive sciences to generate philosophical insight. Each symposium is comprised of two parts. In the target post, a practitioner describes their use of …

Cognitive Science of Philosophy Symposium: Corpus Analysis

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s new Symposium series on the Cognitive Science of Philosophy! The aim of the series is to examine the use of methods from the cognitive sciences to generate philosophical insight. Each symposium is comprised of two parts. In the target post, a practitioner describes their use …

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, …

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