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Mgr. Tomasz Herok | There’s No Such Thing as “The Method of Cases”
24. 3. 2021 | 13:15 - 14:45
Searle’s Chinese Room, Chalmers’s zombies, Gettier cases, Frankfurt cases, trolley cases: it’s commonly assumed all these are instances of a distinct philosophical method, often called “the method of cases”, and the goal of metaphilosophy must be to adequately describe and assess it. I argue there’s nothing to be described or assessed. Most accounts of the method treat judgments about cases as intuitions used as evidence for and against generalisations, however they all ignore how philosophers argue for those judgments. There are also intuition-free accounts, which come in two varieties: some of them characterise descriptions of cases as thought experiments, and some don’t. Both are defective; the former as they presuppose a certain methodological uniformity where there isn’t any, and the latter as they cover far too much philosophical (and non-philosophical) ground. I conclude that all these problems are best explained by the fact that “the method of cases” fails to refer, and that we should abandon the term.