Perceived Weaknesses of Philosophical Inquiry: A Comparison to Psychology

Wesley Buckwalter, John Turri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report two experiments exploring the perception of how contemporary philosophy is often conducted. We find that (1) participants associate philosophy with the practice of conducting thought experiments and collating intuitions about them, and (2) that this form of inquiry is viewed much less favourably than the typical form of inquiry in psychology: research conducted by teams using controlled experiments and observation. We also found (3) an effect whereby relying on intuition is viewed more favorably in the context of team inquiry than in individual inquiry and (4) that greater prior exposure to philosophy lowered one’s opinion of inquiry driven by intuitions and thought experiments. Finally with respect to participant gender, we found that (5) women favored observation over intuition more than men did, and (6) tended to view a question pursued by a research team as more important than men viewed it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-52
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophia (United States)
Issue number1
Early online date2 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Intuition
  • Observation
  • Philosophical method
  • Psychological method


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