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Volume 49 • Number 2

April 2012



Reasoning, Normativity, and Experimental Philosophy

by Susana Nuccetelli and Gary Seay

The development of modern science, on one widely held view, has come largely through naturalizing domains of inquiry that were historically parts of philosophy. Theories based on speculation about matters empirical were replaced with law-based, predictive explanatory theories that invoked empirical data as supporting evidence. Although philosophers have, by and large, applauded such developments, there is no consensus about whether inquiry into normative domains can be naturalized. Since the early twentieth century, attempts at naturalizing ethics have been at the center of heated debates, and later attempts at naturalizing epistemology triggered similarly contentious disputes. But there have so far been no substantial reactions to attempts at naturalizing inquiry into another plainly normative domain, that of reasoning. We offer here a partial remedy to this state of affairs by challenging a naturalistically minded argument—call it the 'cognitive-diversity argument'—offered by Stephen Stich and his collaborators against the Goodman account of the justification of rules of inference. The argument invokes a number of results from psychology as evidence of a relativism problem facing the Goodman account, and more generally, analytic epistemology as a whole.

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ISSN: 2152-1123