Experimental Philosophy and Moral Theory

Authored by: Chandra Sripada

The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138812208
eBook ISBN: 9781315213217
Adobe ISBN:


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In the course of philosophical debates, philosophers routinely appeal to intuitions about cases as a way of supporting their positions and challenging those of their opponents. Experimental philosophy is a relatively new field that uses the methods of psychology (and other sciences of mind, brain, and behavior) to study and scrutinize these intuitive judgments, with the ultimate goal of making progress in these philosophical debates. In this chapter, I distinguish between two important experimental philosophy projects, the sociological project and the psychological project, that are particularly relevant for moral theory. These two projects aren’t exhaustive, as there are a number of other research programs that are part of experimental philosophy. Nonetheless, examining these two projects will give us a good sense of how experimental philosophy can potentially help us make progress in long-standing debates in moral philosophy.

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