Much recent work on philosophical methodology has focused on whether we should accept evidence: the claim that philosophers use intuitive judgments about cases as evidence for/against philosophical theories. This paper outlines a new way of thinking about the philosophical method of appealing to cases such that evidence is true but not as it is typically understood. The idea proposed is that, when philosophers appeal to cases, they are engaged in a project of conceptual engineering and that, within that project, intuitions about cases are used as evidence as to the normative constraints which are relevant within that project. The paper demonstrates that this is a feasible interpretation of the way that cases are appealed to in recent journal issues, and makes the case that this would be a better way to think of what philosophers are doing when they appeal to cases.
- conceptual engineering
- philosophical methods