2019. “P-Curving X-Phi: Does Experimental Philosophy Have Evidential Value?” Analysis 79(4): 669–684. DOI: 10.1093/analys/anz007. (With E. Machery and D. Colaço). (This paper was highlighted as one of the best philosophical papers in 2019 by Oxford University Press here). DOI: 10.1093/analys/anz007.
In this article, we analyse the evidential value of the corpus of experimental philosophy (x-phi). While experimental philosophers claim that their studies provide insight into philosophical problems, some philosophers and psychologists have expressed concerns that the findings from these studies lack evidential value. Barriers to evidential value include selection bias (i.e., the selective publication of significant results) and p-hacking (practices that in- crease the odds of obtaining a p-value below the significance level). To find out whether the significant findings in x-phi papers result from selection bias or p-hacking, we applied a p-curve analysis to a corpus of 365 x-phi chapters and articles. Our results suggest that this corpus has evidential value, although there are hints of p-hacking in a few parts of the x-phi corpus.
2018. “How Thought Experiments Increase Understanding.” Pp. 526-44 in M. Stuart et al. (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London: Routledge.
We might think that thought experiments are at their most powerful or most interesting when they produce new knowledge. This would be a mistake; thought experiments that seek understanding are just as powerful and interesting, and perhaps even more so. A growing number of epistemologists are emphasizing the importance of understanding for epistemology, arguing that it should supplant knowledge as the central notion. In this chapter, I bring the literature on understanding in epistemology to bear on explicating the different ways that thought experiments increase three important kinds of understanding: explanatory, objectual and practical.
2018. “Thought Experiments: The State of the Art.” Pp. 1-28 in M. Stuart et al. (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London: Routledge.
This is the introduction for the Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments.
2015. “Philosophical Conceptual Analysis as an Experimental Method.” Pp. 267-292 in Gamerschlag et al. (eds.). Meaning, Frames and Conceptual Representation. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press.
Philosophical conceptual analysis is an experimental method. Focusing on this helps to justify it from the skepticism of experimental philosophers who follow Weinberg, Nichols & Stich (2001). To explore the experimental aspect of philosophical conceptual analysis, I consider a simpler instance of the same activity: everyday linguistic interpretation. I argue that this, too, is experimental in nature. And in both conceptual analysis and linguistic interpretation, the intuitions considered problematic by experimental philosophers are necessary but epistemically irrelevant. They are like variables introduced into mathematical proofs which drop out before the solution. Or better, they are like the hypotheses that drive science, which do not themselves need to be true. In other words, it does not matter whether or not intuitions are accurate as descriptions of the natural kinds that undergird philosophical concepts; the aims of conceptual analysis can still be met.