Projects and Methods of Experimental Philosophy

Eugen Fischer (Lead Author), Justin Sytsma

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


How does experimental philosophy address philosophical questions and problems? That is: What projects does experimental philosophy pursue? What is their philosophical relevance? And what empirical methods do they employ? Answers to these questions will reveal how experimental philosophy can contribute to the long-standing ambition of placing philosophy on the "secure path of a science", as Kant put it. We argue that experimental philosophy has introduced anew methodological per-spective - a "meta-philosophical naturalism" that addresses philosophical questions about a phenomenon by empirically investigating how people think about this phe-nomenon. This chapter asks how this novel perspective can be successfully implement-ed: How can the empirical investigation of how people think about something address genuinely philosophical problems? And what methods - and, specifically, what meth-ods beyond the questionnaire - can this investigation employ? We first review core projects of experimental philosophy and raise the question of their philosophical rele-vance. For ambitious answers, we turn to experimental philosophy's most direct histor-ical precursor, mid-twentieth-century ordinary language philosophy, and discuss em-pirical implementations of two of its research programs that use experimental methods from psycholinguistics and corpus methods from the digital humanities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Compact Compendium of Experimental Philosophy
EditorsAlexander Max Bauer, Steffen Kornmesser
PublisherBerlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9783110716931
ISBN (Print)9783110716900
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2023


  • Corpus methods
  • Experimental philosophy
  • Foundations of experimental philosophy
  • Metaphilosophy
  • Naturalism
  • Philosophical methodology
  • Philosophy as science
  • Psycholinguistic experiments

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