X-Phi and Carnapian Explication
Erkenntnis , Volume 80 - Issue 2 p. 381- 402
The rise of experimental philosophy (x-phi) has placed metaphilosophical questions, particularly those concerning concepts, at the center of philosophical attention. X-phi offers empirically rigorous methods for identifying conceptual content, but what exactly it contributes towards evaluating conceptual content remains unclear. We show how x-phi complements Rudolf Carnap’s underappreciated methodology for concept determination, explication. This clarifies and extends x-phi’s positive philosophical import, and also exhibits explication’s broad appeal. But there is a potential problem: Carnap’s account of explication was limited to empirical and logical concepts, but many concepts of interest to philosophers (experimental and otherwise) are essentially normative. With formal epistemology as a case study, we show how x-phi assisted explication can apply to normative domains.