CFP: Experiments and Ordinary Language Philosophy (Synthese Topical Collection)

Submission deadline: September 30, 2022

Topic areas


Call for Papers: Experiments and Ordinary Language Philosophy

Synthese - Topical Collection (Special Issue)

Guest Editor(s): Eugen Fischer (University of East Anglia), Nat Hansen (University of Reading)

Topical Collection Description:

Ordinary language philosophy (OLP) is both the most direct historical precursor of experimental philosophy and a challenge to it. As developed in the mid-20th century by practitioners like J.L. Austin, OLP prompted important debates about philosophical method and the best approaches to the study of language. These debates anticipated contemporary debates about experimental philosophy and about the relation of empirical linguistics to philosophical problems. OLP and critical responses to it spawned some of analytic philosophy’s first attempts to overcome limitations of armchair reflection through use of (informal) experiments, (peer-based) focus groups, and empirical surveys. This SI will explore how empirical methods and findings can contribute to the theory and practice of OLP, and how, conversely, ideas from OLP can promote methodological advances and new research programs in experimental philosophy.

Appropriate topics for submission include, but are not limited to, the following:

- How can we empirically study how people use and interpret ordinary language in a variety of real-world contexts? We particularly welcome contributions that explore the use of complementary methods: corpus analysis, distributional semantic analysis, psycholinguistic methods, qualitative methods, conversational analysis, virtual reality, manipulations of incentives and other methods from behavioural economics, etc.

- How does ordinary language philosophy challenge efforts to experimentally investigate linguistic meaning (e.g., by raising questions about ecological validity)? How can insights from ordinary language philosophy improve the ecological validity of such experimental investigations?

- How can we deploy empirical methods and findings to develop the theory and practice of OLP? How can they support constructive OLP that seeks to move from observations about how certain words are used to facts about the meaning of those words, to finally draw conclusions about the world? How can empirical methods and findings be used to support critical OLP that seeks to ‘dissolve’ certain kinds of philosophical problems?

- How can ordinary language philosophy be practiced as an ameliorative enterprise that seeks to regiment, refine, and improve ordinary use, e.g., through metalinguistic negotiation? How can the empirical examination of ordinary language use in real-world contexts support and constrain revisionary enterprises like conceptual engineering?

Submissions should be consistent with Synthese's usual author guidelines and suitable for double blind review.

For further information, please contact the guest editor(s): [email protected] [email protected]

The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2022.

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#ordinary language philosophy, #experimental philosophy