In which I fill out the PhilPapers survey

In 2013, philosophers David Chalmers and David Bourget polled their colleagues on a wide range of philosophical issues to answer the question “What do philosophers believe?” (Answers were broken down in detail here.) The questionnaire itself asks enough questions on enough Big Issues that to fill it out is to articulate a worldview. It’s a fascinating exercise. So I can’t help but to give my own answers, and put my own philosophical commitments on the record:

Question Answer Comments
A priori knowledge: yes or no? Lean toward: no
Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? Lean toward: nominalism If not nominalism, I suspect some sort of Aristotelian realism is true about mathematical entities. Full-blooded Pythagoreanism is a very distantly favored third option.
Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? Accept: subjective
Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? Lean towards: no
Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? Insufficiently familiar with the issue.
External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? Accept: non-skeptical realism Some days I am tempted in the direction of transcendental idealism; but even this resembles realism, in that there is an objective, mind-independent noumenon.
Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? Accept an intermediate position between compatibilism and hard incompatibilism. Libertarianism is incoherent, and that there are no facts of the matter in regards to desert. However, most of our responsibility-holding practices can be justified on utilitarian grounds.
God: theism or atheism? Accept: atheism
Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? Accept: empiricism
Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? Insufficiently familiar with the issue.
Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? Insufficiently familiar with the issue.
Logic: classical or non-classical? Insufficiently familiar with the issue.
Mental content: internalism or externalism? Insufficiently familiar with the issue.
Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? Accept: moral anti-realism
Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? Accept: naturalism
Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? Accept: physicalism
Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? Accept: cognitivism I am an error theorist.
Moral motivation: internalism or externalism? Accept: internalism
Newcomb’s problem: one box or two boxes? Insufficiently familiar with the issue.
Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics? Lean towards an intermediate position between consequentialism and virtue ethics. I am a consequentialist, but I think consequentialists have good reasons to act like virtue ethicists most of the time. However, explicitly utilitarian reasoning is demanded in certain situations, especially those involving large numbers of people.
Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? Insufficiently familiar with the issue.
Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view? Lean towards: No fact of the matter.
Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism? Reject all answers as poorly defined.
Proper names: Fregean or Millian? Insufficiently familiar with the issue.
Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism? Lean towards: structural realism
Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death? Lean towards: survive
Time: A-theory or B-theory? Lean towards: B-theory
Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don’t switch? Accept: switch
Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic? Accept: The pragmatist theory of truth
Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible? Lean towards: Type-Q materialism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s