In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Experimental Philosophy

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews

Philosophy Experimental Philosophy
Wesley Buckwalter, Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols, N. Ángel Pinillos, Philip Robbins, Hagop Sarkissian, Chris Weigel, Jonathan M. Weinberg
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 October 2012
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 October 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0162


Experimental philosophy is a new movement that uses systematic experimental studies to shed light on philosophical issues. In other words, experimental philosophers apply the methods commonly associated with psychology (experimentation, statistical analysis, developmental research, reaction time studies, patient studies, and so on), but they use those methods to address the kinds of questions that have been traditionally associated with philosophy. The experimental philosophy movement is united more by a shared methodology than by a shared research agenda or metaphilosophical viewpoint. Thus, while work in experimental philosophy makes use of systematic empirical study, this methodology has been applied to a wide array of different philosophical questions, and researchers have offered quite different views about the way in which such experimental work can prove philosophically valuable.

General Overviews

For those looking for an introduction to the field as a whole, there are a number of resources that either collect existing papers, as in PhilPapers and Knobe and Nichols 2008, or offer brief summaries of some of the major findings, as in Knobe, et al. 2012 and Nadelhoffer and Nahmias 2007.

  • Knobe, Joshua, Wesley Buckwalter, Shaun Nichols, Philip Robbins, Hagop Sarkissian, and Tamler Sommers. “Experimental Philosophy.” Annual Review of Psychology 63 (2012): 81–99.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100350

    An up-to-date review of research in experimental philosophy. The paper was written for an audience of psychologists and therefore tends to emphasize empirical findings rather than philosophical implications.

  • Knobe, Joshua, and Shaun Nichols, eds. Experimental Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

    A collection of experimental philosophy papers. Includes some of the early papers that established the field, as well as new commentaries and responses from a broader range of philosophers.

  • Nadelhoffer, Thomas, and Eddy Nahmias. “The Past and Future of Experimental Philosophy.” Philosophical Explorations 10.2 (2007): 123–149.

    DOI: 10.1080/13869790701305921

    An early overview of the field, emphasizing the very different ways in which different experimental philosophy projects proceed.

  • PhilPapers: Experimental Philosophy.

    A continually updated database of links to experimental philosophy papers, broken down by category.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.