Philosophical Expertise and the Burden of Proof
Williamson (Timothy)
Source: Backdoor Broadcasting Company; Metaphilosophical Directions for the 21st Century - 11 December 2009
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. ‘Experimental philosophers’ criticize the use of thought experiments1 in philosophy on the basis of evidence that verdicts on them varies with factors independent of the truth. However, their data concern the verdicts of philosophically untrained subjects.
  2. According to the expertise defence, what matters are the verdicts of trained philosophers, who are more likely to pay careful attention to the details of the scenario and track their relevance.
  3. In a recent paper, Jonathan Weinberg and others reply to the expertise defence that there is no evidence for such expertise. I reply to them in this paper, arguing that they have misconstrued the dialectical situation.
  4. Since they have produced no evidence that philosophical training is less efficacious for thought experimentation2 than for other cognitive tasks for which they acknowledge that it produces genuine expertise, such as informal argumentation, they have produced no evidence for treating the former more sceptically than the latter.


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