Accentuate the Negative

Joshua Alexander, Ronald Mallon, Jonathan M. Weinberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


There are two ways of understanding experimental philosophy's process of appealing to intuitions as evidence for or against philosophical claims: the positive and negative programs. This chapter deals with how the positivist method of conceptual analysis is affected by the results of the negative program. It begins by describing direct extramentalism, semantic mentalism, conceptual mentalism, and mechanist mentalism, all of which argue that intuitions are credible sources of evidence and will therefore be shared. The negative program challenges this view by questioning if there can be in fact a shared intuition about a specific hypothetical case, as conflicting intuitions are as likely to arise. The chapter then discusses other issues raised by the negativists such as the limits of surveys and the proper domain problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationExperimental Philosophy
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780190267698
ISBN (Print)9780199927418
StatePublished - Jan 16 2014


  • Conceptual analysis
  • Conceptual mentalism
  • Direct extramentalism
  • Intuitions
  • Mechanist mentalism
  • Negative experimental philosophy
  • Positive experimental philosophy
  • Semantic mentalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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