Stereotype-Based Intuitions: A Psycholinguistic Approach to Experimental Philosophy’s ‘Sources Project’

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Experimental philosophy’s ‘sources project’ seeks to develop psychological explanations of philosophically relevant intuitions which help us assess their evidentiary value. This paper develops a psycholinguistic explanation of intuitions prompted by brief philosophical case-descriptions. For proof of concept, we target intuitions underlying a classic paradox about perception (‘argument from hallucination’). We trace them to stereotype-driven inferences automatically executed in verb comprehension. We employ a forced-choice plausibility-ranking task to show that contextually inappropriate stereotypical inferences are made from less salient uses of the verb “to see”. This yields a debunking explanation which resolves the philosophical paradox.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
Place of PublicationAustin, TX
PublisherCognitive Science Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9911967-3-9
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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