Empirical Evidence and Philosophy
Petar Bojanic (University of Belgrad)
Samuele Iaquinto (University of Milano)
Giuliano Torrengo (University of Milano)
September 30th, 2017
Many philosophers think that philosophy shouldn’t merely rely on a priori reasoning, but should somehow take evidence from experience, including experimental evidence form sciences, into account. That seems to be a reasonable methodological principle, at least if we accept the existence of something like a mind-independent reality. However, the way philosophers consider empirical evidence to constrain philosophical tenets varies very much among different approaches. On the one hand, “classical” empiricists tend to be constructionist (and more broadly anti-realist) with respect to the ontological import of the theoretical aspects of accepted theories, while rationalists have an overall realist approach to theoretical tenets. On the other hand, the new trend of “experimental philosophy” aims at dismissing a priori reasoning of any sort as valuable in assessing philosophical theses, by arguing that we should test philosophers’ intuitions as hypotheses about the behavior of ordinary people, while philosophers who oppose that trend tend to grant to the intuitions of the “experts” a special status—even if they do not share overall confidence into a priori theorizing. The objective of this special issue of Rivista di Estetica is to investigate questions such as: How should we appraise the relevance of empirical evidence for philosophical discussion? When is a priori reasoning legitimate? Can we regard empirical evidence about intuitions a different status from empirical constraints from hard sciences in general?