Empirical Evidence and Philosophy
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Many philosophers think that philosophy should not merely rely on a priori reasoning, but that it should take into account evidence from experience, including experimental evidence from the sciences as well. That seems to be a reasonable methodological principle, at least if we accept the existence of something like a mind-independent reality. However, the ways philosophers consider empirical evidence to constrain philosophical tenets vary considerably different approaches. On one hand, “classical” empiricists tend to be constructionists (and more broadly anti-realists) while rationalists have an overall realist approach to theoretical tenets. On the other hand, the new trend of “experimental philosophy” aims to dismiss a priori reasoning of any sort as valuable in assessing philosophical theses. It argues that we should test philosophers’ intuitions as hypotheses about the behavior of the “ordinary” people. The philosophers who oppose that trend tend to... grant a special status to the intuitions of “experts” even if they do not share an overall confidence into a priori theorizing. How should we appraise the relevance of empirical evidence in philosophical discussions? When is a priori reasoning legitimate? Can we regard that evidence based on intuitions has a different status from the experimental evidence from the sciences? The workshop aims at promoting a discussion about these and related topics.