How Understanding Shapes Reasoning: Experimental Argument Analysis with Methods from Psycholinguistics and Computational Linguistics

Eugen Fischer, Aurélie Herbelot

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Empirical insights into language processing have a philosophical relevance that extends well beyond philosophical questions about language. This chapter will discuss this wider relevance: We will consider how experimental philosophers can examine language processing in order to address questions in several different areas of philosophy. To do so, we will present the emerging research program of experimental argument analysis (EAA) that examines how automatic language processing shapes verbal reasoning – including philosophical arguments. The evidential strand of experimental philosophy uses mainly questionnaire-based methods to assess the evidentiary value of intuitive judgments that are adduced as evidence for philosophical theories and as premises for philosophical arguments. Extending this prominent strand of experimental philosophy, EAA underpins such assessments, extends the scope of the assessments, and expands the range of the empirical methods employed: EAA examines how automatic inferences that are continually made in language comprehension and production shape verbal reasoning, and draws on findings about comprehension biases that affect the contextualisation of such default inferences, in order to explain and expose fallacies. It deploys findings to assess premises and inferences from premises to conclusions, in philosophical arguments. To do so, it adapts methods from psycholinguistics and recruits methods from computational linguistics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExperimental Philosophy of Language
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives, Methods, and Prospects
EditorsDavid Bordonaba-Plou
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-28908-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-28907-1, 978-3-031-28910-1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2023

Publication series

NameLogic, Argumentation and Reasoning
ISSN (Print)2214-9120
ISSN (Electronic)2214-9139

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