Show Me the Argument: Empirically Testing the Armchair Philosophy Picture

Metaphilosophy 49 (1-2):58-70 (2018)
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Many philosophers subscribe to the view that philosophy is a priori and in the business of discovering necessary truths from the armchair. This paper sets out to empirically test this picture. If this were the case, we would expect to see this reflected in philosophical practice. In particular, we would expect philosophers to advance mostly deductive, rather than inductive, arguments. The paper shows that the percentage of philosophy articles advancing deductive arguments is higher than those advancing inductive arguments, which is what we would expect from the vantage point of the armchair philosophy picture. The results also show, however, that the percentages of articles advancing deductive arguments and those advancing inductive arguments are converging over time and that the difference between inductive and deductive ratios is declining over time. This trend suggests that deductive arguments are gradually losing their status as the dominant form of argumentation in philosophy.



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Author Profiles

Moti Mizrahi
Florida Institute of Technology
Zoe Ashton
Ohio State University

References found in this work

The Philosophy of Philosophy.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Utilitarianism.J. S. Mill - 1861 - Oxford University Press UK. Edited by Roger Crisp.

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