From the New York Times … accompanied by a nice picture of Descartes’s skull, adorned by “a Latin poem praising [his] genius”:
Do experimental methods offer new horizons for philosophy departments, which have come under attack for being impractical?
Philosophy has long been the province of abstract thinking and theoretical problems, conducted as easily in the armchair as in the lab. But recently, “experimental” philosophers have used surveys, fMRI’s, and other tools from psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science to analyze age-old philosophical problems.
As philosophy departments have come under attack for being costly and impractical, do experimental methods, called “x-phi” by its proponents, offer new horizons for old problems? Or are they immaterial and a waste of time?
The discussion continues here.