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Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds$
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Edouard Machery

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198807520

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198807520.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 December 2021

The Method of Cases

The Method of Cases

(p.11) 1 The Method of Cases
Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds

Edouard Machery

Oxford University Press

Many areas of philosophy rely on the method of cases: Philosophers consider actual or hypothetical situations (which cases or thought experiments describe) in order to determine what facts hold in these situations and to bring them to bear on philosophical controversies. Surprisingly, however, the characterization of the method of cases is controversial. Chapter 1 defends a particular characterization of the method of cases and identifies some of the roles it plays in contemporary philosophy. Alternative characterizations, which appeal to notions such as metaphysical or epistemological analyticity, conceptual competence, or intuition, are rejected. Only a minimalist characterization, according to which cases elicit everyday judgments, is philosophically adequate—it does not rely on empty notions or on notions useless to characterize the method of cases—and descriptively adequate—it captures how philosophers really use cases.

Keywords:   method of cases, thought experiments, intuition, analyticity, intuition, conceptual competence, psychologism, material use of cases, formal use of cases

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