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ON NORMATIVITY AND EPISTEMIC INTUITIONS: FAILURE OF REPLICATION

  • Hamid Seyedsayamdost
Abstract

The field of experimental philosophy has received considerable attention, essentially for producing results that seem highly counter-intuitive and at the same time question some of the fundamental methods used in philosophy. One of the earlier influential papers that gave rise to the experimental philosophy movement titled ‘Normativity and Epistemic Intuitions’ by Jonathan M. Weinberg, Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich (2001), reported that respondents displayed different epistemic intuitions depending on their ethnic background as well as socioeconomic status. These findings, if robust, would have important implications for philosophical methodology in general and epistemology in particular. Because of the important implication of its findings, Weinberg et al. (2001) has been very influential – currently with more than four hundred citations – and the subject of extensive debate. Despite the paper's significance and despite all the debates this paper has generated, there has not been a replication attempt of its experiments. We collected data from four different sources (two on-line and two in-person) to replicate the experiments. Despite several different data sets and in various cases larger sample sizes, we failed to detect significant differences between the above-mentioned groups. Our results suggest that epistemic intuitions are more uniform across ethnic and socioeconomic groups than Weinberg et al. (2001) indicates. Given our data, we believe that the notion of differences in epistemic intuitions among different ethnic and socioeconomic groups advanced by Weinberg et al. (2001) and accepted by many researchers needs to be corrected.

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Corresponding author
s.seyedsayamdost@lse.ac.uk
References
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