Jennifer Nagel and Joshua Alexander

Jennifer Nagel and Joshua Alexander on epistemic intuitions and experimental philosophy.

Note: This is part of a series of PTV discussions involving contributors to Machery and O’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy (2014)

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After discussing the central role that intuitions have traditionally played in epistemology, Alexander and Nagel turn to problems raised by experimental work on cultural variation in epistemic intuitions. They discuss Weinberg, Nichols, and Stich’s influential 2001 study on Gettier intuitions—and subsequent failures to replicate the results of that study. Then (20:14) they discuss whether and to what extent intuitions are viable as data in epistemology (Alexander has often been more critical of the use of intuitions than Nagel). Along the way, Nagel makes the case for a plurality of methods (32:54). They discuss how we could tell whether a given empirical result undermines the reliability of intuitions (43:10); whether traditional “armchair” philosophy really is introspective in the way that it’s sometimes made out to be (47:00); and the nature of philosophical expertise (54:47).

Related works

by Alexander:
with Jonathan Weinberg: “The ‘Unreliability’ of Epistemic Intuitions” in Machery and O’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy (2014)
with Gonnerman and Waterman: “Salience and Epistemic Egoism: An Empirical Study” (forthcoming)
Experimental Philosophy: An Introduction (2012)

by Nagel:
with Boyd: “The Reliability of Epistemic Intuitions” in Machery and O’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy (2014)
“Defending the Evidential Value of Intuitions: A Reply to Stich” (2013)
with San Juan and Mar: “Lay Denial of Knowledge for Justified True Beliefs” (2013)
“Knowledge as a Mental State” (2013)
“Intuitions and Experiments: A Defense of the Case Method in Epistemology” (2012)