Philosophy is not a discipline noted for intellectual humility. Plato insisted that in an ideal state the king should be a philosopher. Descartes maintained that philosophy is the root from which all the sciences grow. And the Logical Positivists dismissed religion, morality, aesthetics, and political theory as “meaningless nonsense.” Though the lack of intellectual humility in these views is blatant, we believe that there may be another enormously important and largely unrecognized departure from intellectual humility running through much of Western philosophy.
From Plato to the present, philosophers have relied on intuitions about cases as an important source of data. Typically, the philosopher will set out a hypothetical example and pose a question involving a philosophically important concept. Here are two examples:
When there is little disagreement among philosophers, it is assumed that philosophers’ intuitions about cases are both universal and reliable. Thus philosophers’ intuitions can be used as evidence in philosophical arguments. Contemporary philosophers often make claims about “our” intuitions, and what “we” think about cases, where it is clear that “we” is intended to denote not just the philosopher and a few like-minded colleagues, but almost all thoughtful people.
Over the last decade, however, the newly emerging field of “experimental philosophy” has posed a challenge to the claim that the professional philosophers’ intuitions about philosophically important cases are universal. Rather, in a growing number of studies, it has been shown that people in different cultural groups – Asians and Westerners, males and females, people of high and low socio-economic status, people with different personality types, people of different ages, people with different native languages, etc. – have different intuitions about cases designed to explore what people think about knowledge, morality, free will, consciousness and other important philosophical issues. Several studies have suggested that professional philosophers may be a demographic group whose intuitions about cases differ systematically from the intuitions of non-philosophers in their culture.
This project will conduct the largest and most systematic study of philosophical intuitions in different cultural groups ever undertaken. Collecting data in more than 15 countries around the world, we will seek to determine the extent to which philosophical intuitions really do differ cross-culturally. When the data are in, we will assemble an international conference, web-cast live and open to people around the world, to debate their implications. Do they show that philosophers should make major changes in their standard methodology? If so, what changes are appropriate to accommodate cultural differences in philosophical intuition?
Stephen Stich is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University and Director of the Research Group on Evolution and Cognition. He is also Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty in 1989, he taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Maryland and the University of California, San Diego.
He has lectured in more than 30 countries around the world and has been Visiting Professor at a number of leading universities in the USA, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. His publications include six books, a dozen anthologies and over 150 articles. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of the Jean Nicod Prize awarded by the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and the first recipient of the Gittler Award for Outstanding Scholarly Contribution in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences.
Stephen Stich's personal website: www.rci.rutgers.edu/~stich
Edouard Machery is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, a Fellow of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (University of Pittsburgh-Carnegie Mellon University). His research focuses on the philosophical issues raised by psychology and cognitive neuroscience with a special interest in concepts, moral psychology, the relevance of evolutionary biology for understanding cognition, modularity, the nature, origins, and ethical significance of prejudiced cognition, and the methods of psychology and cognitive neuroscience.
He has published more than 70 articles and chapters on these topics in venues such as Analysis, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Cognition, Mind & Language, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and Philosophy of Science. He is the author of Doing without Concepts (OUP, 2009) as well as the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality (OUP, 2012), La Philosophie Expérimentale (Vuibert, 2012), and of Arguing about Human Nature (Routledge, 2013). He has been an associate editor of The European Journal for Philosophy of Science since 2009 and the editor of the Naturalistic Philosophy section of Philosophy Compass since 2012.
He is also involved in the development of experimental philosophy, having published several noted articles in this field. Machery’s work has been chronicled in The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Renatas Berniunas is a lecturer and a researcher at the Faculty of Philosophy, Vilnius University, Lithuania. His research interests include cognition and culture, moral psychology, folk psychology, and experimental philosophy. Together with Vilius Dranseika, he currently runs two research projects in Experimental Philosophy: one on the concept of a person and another one on the nature of moral judgment. Additionally, he received a postdoc grant from the Lithuanian Research Council to conduct a cross-cultural study on the moral/conventional distinction.
Renatas Berniunas's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Emma Buchtel is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Studies at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Her main research squeeze is currently lay morality concepts in China vs. the West, but she also has done research on cultural differences in personality and its effect on behavior, the perceived value of analytic vs. holistic reasoning styles, and the pleasure of doing one's duty.
She did her B.A. at Yale in Psychology & Philosophy, and after spending four years in Mainland China, did her MA and PhD in Psychology at the University of British Columbia.
Emma Buchtel's personal website: www.ied.edu.hk/ps/view.php?m=646&secid=1134
Prof. Amita Chatterjee is currently a National Fellow of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi and Emeritus Professor of the Department of Philosophy and School of cognitive Science, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. She is associated with the National Programme of Perception Engineering of Department of Information Technology, and she is working on different aspects of perception of emotion.
Amita Chatterjee's email: email@example.com
The website of the School of Cognitive Science, Jadavpur University: sites.google.com/site/schoolnewsite/home
Florian Cova is a postdoctoral researcher in philosophy and psychology at the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva. His work focuses on the role of emotions and affect in both moral and aesthetic evaluations, combining philosophical and psychological methods.
Vilius Dranseika is a lecturer and a researcher in the Faculty of Philosophy at Vilnius University, Lithuania. His research interests include Philosophy of Action, Moral Psychology, and Research Ethics. Together with Renatas Berniunas, he currently runs two research projects in Experimental Philosophy, one on the concept of a person and another one on the nature of moral judgment.
Vilius Dranseika's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amir Horowitz is an Associate Professor of philosophy and cognitive science at the Open University of Israel. He specializes in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, the philosophy of language, experimental philosophy, and the philosophy of football. Currently, he is writing a book about intentionality, in which he proposes an irrealistic view.
Amir Horowitz's email: email@example.com
Personal website: www.openu.ac.il/Personal_sites/amir-horowitz
Laleh Ghadakpour studied and worked as an engineer in Tehran before moving to Paris where she studied Philosophy and Cognitive Science at the Université Panthéon-Sorbonne and at the École Polytechnique. She returned to Tehran in 2004 and participated there in the organization of several newly created graduate programs and taught various courses as Logic, Philosophy of Mind, and Philosophy of Language. She resigned from her position at the Iranian Institute of Philosophy in summer 2011.
Chris Olivola is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. His research interests span several related areas, including decision making, behavioral economics, social cognition, and experimental philosophy. He received his BA from the University of Chicago and his MA + PhD from Princeton University.
Personal website: sites.google.com/site/chrisolivola
Alejandro Rosas is a professor at the National University of Colombia. He completed his doctoral studies in Germany with a dissertation on Kant’s refutation of idealism. Since 1996, he has been interested in projects in naturalistic philosophy that are informed by an evolutionary perspective. He has written extensively about the evolution and psychology of altruism and moral behavior. His interest in experimental philosophy is recent, with papers on the moral/conventional distinction, on the “Knobe effect,” and on the neuropsychology of moral judgment.
Dr. Paulo Sousa is Director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen's University, Belfast and Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Anthropology. He holds a BA and a MA in anthropology (University of Brasilia, Brazil), a MA in cognitive science (Institut Jean Nicod, Paris), and a PhD in anthropology with specialization in cognition and culture (University of Michigan, USA). He has participated in many cross-cultural projects and published numerous articles in the field of cognition and culture. He also applied an epidemiological approach to the history of ideas of anthropology that stimulated a major controversy amongst anthropologist from all traditions.
His current research interests focus on agency and moral psychology as well as their relation to religion. He is also associate coordinator of the Porto X-Phi Lab, a laboratory of experimental philosophy in Porto, Portugal, and external examiner of the programme in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, UK.
Noel Struchiner has been a Professor of Law and Philosophy at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) since 2008. Traditionally, his core research has been in analytical legal philosophy, discussing the nature of law as well as issues in normative jurisprudence. He has investigated the extent to which law can be understood as a system of rules, the linguistic indeterminacy of legal rules, and the comparative virtues of different decision-making models in the law (rule-based models vs. particularistic models of decision-making). More recently, he has started doing work in experimental philosophy and moral psychology as applied to law and the intersections of law and morality, discussing, for example, how empathy affects legal decision-making, how the abstract and concrete paradox and the paradox of order effects affect legal judgments, and investigating the general role of emotions in the law.
Besides teaching courses in philosophy and legal theory, he is currently one of the coordinators of the Practical Ethics Center at PUC-Rio and one of the leaders of the project “Ethics and Contemporary Reality.” Before working at PUC-Rio, he was a Professor at the Law Department of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), from 2006 to 2008.
The website for the Applied Ethics Center www.era.org.br
Noel Struchiner's personal website: buscatextual.cnpq.br/buscatextual/visualizacv.do?id=N446951
Naoki Usui is an associate professor at Mie University in Japan. He received his Ph.D degrees from Kyoto University and University of Sheffield respectively in 2009 and 2013. His research interests include philosophy of mind, epistemology, and nativism.
Zhang Xueyi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Science, Southeast University, P. R. China. He was a visiting scholar at Rutgers. From 2002 to 2013, he did his BA in Sociology, MA and PhD in Philosophy of Science and Technology at Southeast University. His research interests include Experimental Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind, History of Science, and Sociology of Science.
In-Rae Cho is Professor at Department of Philosophy, Seoul National University in South Korea.
Kaori Karasawa is a professor of social psychology at The University of Tokyo. She and her lab specializes in topics such as social cognition and mind reading, moral judgments, and self regulation. Recently, she has also been teaming up with philosophers in a project to reconsider the social psychological methodology. She received her PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Hackjin Kim is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Korea University. His research interests are in the fields of neuroeconomics and social neuroscience, primarily focusing on the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of social and emotional influences on decision-making. He is currently working on several functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies on altruistic motivation, empathy, social comparison, first impression, and social conformity. He has many publications on the research topics listed above in high profile journals such as Science, PLoS Biology, PNAS, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Cerebral Cortex, and Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience. He has been an associate editor of the Journal of Neuropsychology since 2011.
David Rose is currently a graduate student in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Before coming to Rutgers, he earned an M.S. in Logic, Computation and Methodology from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Ohio University. He is currently interested in issues at the intersection of cognitive science and metaphysics and cognitive science and epistemology.
For a list of papers and other info please visit his personal website: davidro91.wix.com/david-rose
Mario Alai is associate professor of theoretical philosophy at the University of Urbino, lecturing in epistemology and philosophy of language. After graduating from the University of Bologna in 1975, he earned a Laudatur form the University of Helsinki, a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. from the University of Florence. His main research areas are the current debates on scientific and metaphysical realism.
Professor at Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.
Deptartment of Psychology, Korea University.
Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Carlos Mauro is Director of BEO Lab - Behavior, Economics and Organizations Laboratory and Assistant Professor, School of Economics and Management, Portuguese Catholic University - Porto. He holds a BSc in Economics, a MSc in Public Administration and Government, a PhD in Philosophy (philosophy of action – x-phi research) and a Post-doc in Philosophy (x-phi research).
His current research interests focus on issues in Experimental Philosophy and Behavioral Economics, comprising such topics as: folk concepts of weakness and strength of will; dignity; personal identity; the moral nature of folk economic concepts and judgments; folk economics; and the relationship between empathy and economic behavior. He is also coordinator of the Porto X-Phi Lab, a laboratory of experimental philosophy in Porto, Portugal, which seeks to develop the X-Phi in Portuguese Language context.
Personal Website: cmauro.wordpress.com.
His email: email@example.com.
Department of Social Psychology, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, University of Tokyo, Japan.
Personal website: www-socpsy.l.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~hshmt/.
Head of the Chair of Theoretical Philosophy, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics, University of Tartu, Estonia.
Personal website: flfi.ut.ee/en/daniel-cohnitz.
Hyundeuk Cheon teaches philosophy courses at Seoul National University. He was formerly a research fellow in Institute for Cognitive Science, Seoul National University and a visiting scholar at University of Pittsburgh. He has interest in the issues in philosophy of science and philosophy of cognitive science, where he has published several papers. He is currently working on scientific concepts seen from a cognitive perspective.
Veselina Kadreva received her M.Sc. degree in Cognitive Science from the New Bulgarian University.
Currently she is working on her PhD thesis conducting biosignal based research aiming to explore the role of emotions in the process of moral judgment.
Evgeniya Hristova has a PhD in Cognitive Science and is an assistant professor at the New Bulgarian University. She is actively doing research in the fields of game theory and decision-making, moral psychology, art perception, emotions. In her research she combines psychological experiments, eye-tracking recordings, and psychophysiological measures.
Personal website: nbu.bg/cogs/cvs/ehristova.html.
Maurice Grinberg is associate professor of cognitive science and physics in the Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science of the New Bulgarian University. He has more than hundred publications in the field of cognitive modelling, behavioural economics, and physics. His present interests are related to the modelling of social interactions with cognitive agents, the theoretical and experimental study of social and moral dilemmas and their cognitive aspects, and art perception.
Pictures from the sites in Columbia where Alejandro Rosas and his team collected the data.
In 2014, a conference How Should Philosophy Deal With Cultural Diversity (and/or Cultural Convergence) in Philosophical Intuition? will be organized. The conference will be webcast live to allow people who are not physically present at the conference to join in the debate. Selected papers from the conference will be published in a volume by a leading academic publisher.
The official call for papers will appear here.