2010 - Stephen Stich
Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy 2010
Stephen Stich (Rutgers): Experimental Philosophy & The Bankruptcy of the "Great Tradition", June 28-30
From Plato to the present, appeal to intuition has played a central role in philosophy. However, recent work in experimental philosophy has shown that in many cases intuition cannot be a reliable source of evidence for philosophical theories. Without careful empirical work, there is no way of knowing which intuitions are unreliable. Thus the venerable tradition that views philosophy as a largely a priori discipline that can be pursued from the armchair is untenable.
The first two lectures will survey some of the ways in which intuition is used in philosophy, give an overview of the growing body of evidence indicating that intuition is often unreliable, and develop the argument that this evidence undermines the tradition of armchair philosophy. In the third lecture, the focus will be on gender. There is now a substantial body of evidence indicating that men and women have significantly different intuitions about a number of philosophically important thought experiments. These differences, it will be argued, are part of the explanation for the serious under-representation of women in academic philosophy.
Stephen Stich is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University and Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. At Rutgers he directs the Research Group on Evolution and Higher Cognition. At Sheffield he was actively involved in the Innateness and the Structure of the Mind Project and is currently on the Organizing Committee for the Culture and the Mind Project. He has done work in the philosophy of mind, the foundations of cognitive science, naturalized epistemology, theory of mind and moral psychology.
Stich received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964 and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1968. In addition to Rutgers and Sheffield, he has taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Maryland and the University of California, San Diego and has held visiting appointments at universities in the United States, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
J. Weinberg, S. Nichols & S. Stich, “Normativity & epistemic intuitions,” Philosophical Topics, 29, 1 & 2, 2001. Pp. 429-460.
E. Sosa, “A defense of the use of intuitions in philosophy” in D. Murphy & M. Bishop, eds., Stich and His Critics. Oxford: Blackwell.
S. Stich, “Reply to Sosa,” in D. Murphy & M. Bishop, eds., Stich and His Critics. Oxford: Blackwell.
A. Goldman, “Philosophical intuitions: their target, their source, and their epistemic status,” Grazer Philosophische Studien 74, 2007.
W. Sinnott-Armstrong, “Framing Moral Intuitions,” in Moral Psychology, vol. 2, The Cognitive Science of Morality: Intuition and Diversity, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.