Analysis 80 (4):737-751 (2020)

Authors
Jonathan Weinberg
University of Arizona
Joshua Alexander
Siena College
Abstract
Edouard Machery argues that many traditional philosophical questions are beyond our capacity to answer. Answering them seems to require using the method of cases, a method that involves testing answers to philosophical questions against what we think about real or imagined cases. The problem, according to Machery, is that this method has proved unreliable ; what we think about these kinds of cases is both problematically heterogeneous and volatile. His bold solution: abandon the method of cases altogether and with it many of the questions that we have come to associate with philosophy itself. Many of the critical responses to Machery’s book have focused on whether empirical work on judgements about philosophical cases supports his claim that the method of cases is unreliable. Our problem with these responses is that they accept that reliability is the right way to frame empirically informed concerns about the method of cases, and we think that it is not. The reason is simple: the kind of unreliability thesis that Machery needs proves to be empirically intractable, at least by anything like the current methods used by experimental philosophers, or so we shall argue here. While we have empirical grounds for thinking that unreliability arguments don’t give us reason to abandon the method of cases, we do think that there are empirical grounds for thinking that it needs to be reformed. There are other standards that we expect our methods to meet beyond mere reliability, especially standards of practical rationality, which are too often forgotten in metaphilosophical discussions that tend to focus exclusively on epistemological considerations. Methodological considerations, after all, are not just matters of epistemic normativity, but practical rationality as well. What’s more, considerations of practical rationality become particularly important when we move from the kind of extreme scepticism that Machery endorses to the kind of progressive reformation that we think should be pursued. And so we conclude by arguing that thinking about philosophical inquiry in terms of standards of practical rationality allows us both to better understand what kinds of problems recent empirical work on philosophical cognition raises for the method of cases and also how that work can point the way to reforming it.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/analys/anaa053
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,078
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Philosophy Within its Proper Bounds.Edouard Machery - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
Experimental Philosophy and Philosophical Intuition.Ernest Sosa - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):99-107.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Responses to Herman Cappelen and Jennifer Nado.Edouard Machery - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):329-342.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Count(Ifq) Does Not Imply Count.Søren Riis - 1997 - Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 90 (1-3):1-56.
Reliability as a Virtue.Robert Audi - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (1):43 - 54.
Is There a Reliability Challenge for Logic?Joshua Schechter - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):325-347.
Against Transglobal Reliabilism.Peter J. Graham - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (3):525-535.
Reliability and Justified Belief.John L. Pollock - 1984 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14 (1):103 - 114.
Count(Q) Versus the Pigeon-Hole Principle.Søren Riis - 1997 - Archive for Mathematical Logic 36 (3):157-188.
We Do Not Count by Identity.David Liebesman - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (1):21-42.
Reliability of Information on the Internet: Some Distinctions.Anton Vedder & Robert Wachbroit - 2003 - Ethics and Information Technology 5 (4):211-215.
How Abstract Objects Strike Us.Michael Liston - 1994 - Dialectica 48 (1):3-27.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2021-01-28

Total views
43 ( #261,150 of 2,498,921 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #170,045 of 2,498,921 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes