Get to know the PIs

Go Philosophy features introductions to the PIs

Edouard Machery, Clark Barrett, and Stephen Stich write posts describing how their work shapes the development and practice of experimental philosophy, and how experimental philosophy shapes their work. Please read a preview below:

Edouard Machery

University of Pittsburgh

“I have been very involved in the development of experimental philosophy. … Independently of the philosophical upshots of the cross-cultural research on philosophical concepts, this interdisciplinary research is intrinsically fascinating. Identifying universal aspects of concepts such as the concepts of knowledge or wisdom tells us something about human nature, about the way human beings structure their experience. Variation tells us something about the diversity of ways in which human beings can navigate their social world. Finally, doing interdisciplinary work is essential to philosophy: It ties philosophy to important and substantial matters and prevents it from losing itself in empty theorizing.”

Stephen Stich

Rutgers University

“I am the oldest PI of the Geography of Philosophy Project (GPP) – old enough to have young grandchildren. … Starting in 2000, my students and I were leaders in the creation of the new field of “experimental philosophy” which uses the methods of psychology and neuroscience to evaluate the claims of philosophical theories and assess the evidence offered for those claims. The experimental philosophy movement has now generated over 1000 papers, and has come in second in a poll of “currently hot topics” that “ought to fade away” according to readers of Brian Leiter’s Philosophy Blog. During the last fifteen years, a substantial part of my work has been focused on empirically informed moral psychology.”

Clark Barrett

University of California, Los Angeles

“The three PIs of the Geography of Philosophy Project include two philosophers and an anthropologist; I’m the anthropologist. My work has long engaged with philosophical questions concerning the nature of human thinking and its evolutionary, cultural, developmental, and linguistic dimensions. … My empirical work has also engaged philosophical questions about the mind, including similarities and differences in concepts and their development across cultures, the nature of human social cognition, and recently, work in experimental philosophy including work on the role of intentions and other mental states in moral judgments across cultures.”


Go Philosophy features knowledge, understanding, and wisdom

In the blog, Edouard Machery covers the three concepts explored by the Geography of Philosophy Project: knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.

The research of the GPP aims to begin answering open questions about the concepts, such as “Is knowledge ascription sensitive to what would happen if the agent’s belief were false?”, “Who are the sources of understanding?” and “Do wise people or people recognized as wise feel entitled to give advice?”, by providing empirical evidence through a cross-cultural approach.

Each of the core concepts will be researched in the many languages the GPP works with, partly in search of translations. The project will further “examine the frequency of use of these words as well as their semantic (e.g., their relation to other concepts) and syntactic properties across languages”.

The complete readings can be found on Go Philosophy or by following the links below: