Input Sought on New Questions for Upcoming PhilPapers Survey of Philosophers

A draft of the follow-up to the 2009 Philpapers survey of philosophical positions held by academic philosophers on various topics includes about 70 new questions.

The survey’s creators, David Bourget (Western University) and David Chalmers (NYU), are seeking input from members of the profession about the new questions. (Previously.)

Gerhard Richter, “1025 Farben”

The new survey will include the original 30 questions, plus 10 new ones that will be asked of all respondents, and 60 new ones that will each be asked of 25% of the respondents. So each respondent will be asked to answer around 55 questions. They will also be given the option to answer more, up to the total of around 100 questions.

Here are the original 30 questions:

  • A priori knowledge: yes or no?
  • Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism?
  • Aesthetic value: objective or subjective?
  • Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?
  • Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism?
  • External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?
  • Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?
  • God: theism or atheism?
  • Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism?
  • Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism?
  • Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean?
  • Logic: classical or non-classical?
  • Mental content: internalism or externalism?
  • Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism?
  • Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism?
  • Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism?
  • Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism?
  • Moral motivation: internalism or externalism?
  • Newcomb’s problem: one box or two boxes?
  • Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics?
  • Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory?
  • Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view?
  • Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism?
  • Proper names: Fregean or Millian?
  • Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism?
  • Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death?
  • Time: A-theory or B-theory?
  • Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don’t switch?
  • Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic?
  • Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible?

Here are the 10 new questions that will be asked of all respondents:

  • Consciousness: dualism, eliminativism, functionalism, identity theory, panpsychism?
  • Eating animals and animal products (are they permissible in ordinary circumstances?): omnivorism (yes and yes), vegetarianism (no and yes), veganism (no and no)
  • Experience machine (is it rational to enter?): yes or no?
  • Footbridge (pushing man off bridge will save five on track below, what ought one do?): push or don’t push?
  • Gender: biological, psychological, social, unreal?
  • Meaning of life: subjective, objective, nonexistent?
  • Philosophical knowledge (is there any?): none, a little, a lot?
  • Quantum mechanics: collapse, hidden-variables, many-worlds, or epistemic?
  • Race: biological, social, unreal?
  • Vagueness: epistemic, metaphysical, or semantic?

And here are the additional questions, each of which will be asked of a quarter of the respondents:

  • Abortion (in ordinary conditions): permissible or impermissible?
  • Arguments for theism (which is strongest?): cosmological, design, ontological, pragmatic, moral?
  • Aristotle (does he hold that virtue is necessary or sufficient for happiness?): necessary, sufficient, both, neither?
  • Belief or credence (which is more fundamental?): belief, credence, neither?
  • Capital punishment: permissible or impermissible?
  • Causation: Humean, non-Humean, eliminativism?
  • Causal relevance: counterfactual dependence, probability-raising, intervention, nomological relation, connecting process?
  • Chinese room: understands or doesn’t understand?
  • Concepts: nativism or empiricism?
  • Continuum hypothesis (does it have a determinate truth-value?): determinate, indeterminate?
  • Cosmological fine-tuning (what explains it?): design, multiverse, nothing?
  • Criminal punishment (what is its primary justification?): retribution, restoration, rehabilitation, deterrence?
  • Environmental ethics: anthropocentric or non-anthropocentric?
  • Epistemic justification: coherentism, nonreliabilist foundationalism, reliabilism?
  • Extended mind: yes or no?
  • Gender categories: preserve, revise, or eliminate?
  • Genetic engineering: permissible or impermissible?
  • Grounds of intentionality: causal/teleological, inferential, interpretational, phenomenal, primitive?
  • Hard problem of consciousness (is there one?): yes or no?
  • Kant (what is his view?): one world or two worlds?
  • Hume (what is his view?): skeptic or naturalist?
  • Immigration: open borders, some restrictions, heavy restrictions?
  • Immortality (would you choose it?): yes or no?
  • Indicative conditionals (what are their truth-conditions?): material conditionals, possible-worlds truth-conditions, no truth-conditions?
  • Interlevel metaphysics (which is the most useful?): grounding, identity, realization, supervenience?
  • Law: legal positivism or legal non-positivism?
  • Material composition: nihilism, restrictivism, or universalism?
  • Mathematics: constructivism, formalism, intuitionism, logicism, or structuralism?
  • Meta-ethics: non-naturalism, naturalist realism, constructivism, expressivism, error theory?
  • Metaontology: heavyweight realism, deflationary realism, anti-realism?
  • Method in history of philosophy: analytic or contextual?
  • Method in political philosophy: ideal theory or non-ideal theory?
  • Mind uploading: survival or death?
  • Moral duty to obey the law: yes or no?
  • Moral principles: moral generalism or moral particularism?
  • Other minds (for which groups are some members conscious?): adult humans, cats, fish, flies, worms, plants, particles, newborn babies, current AI systems, future AI systems [allow multiple answers].
  • Ought implies can: yes or no?
  • Peer disagreement (shared first-order evidence, A has responded rightly to it, should A reduce confidence?): conciliate fully (equal weight), conciliate somewhat, stand fast?
  • Philosophical progress (is there any?): none, a little, a lot
  • Philosophical methods (which methods are the most useful/important?): conceptual analysis, empirical philosophy, experimental philosophy, formal philosophy, intuition-based philosophy, linguistic philosophy? [allow multiple answers]
  • Plato (what is his view?): knowledge only of forms, knowledge also of concrete things?
  • Politics: capitalism or socialism?
  • Possible worlds: abstract, concrete, or nonexistent?
  • Properties: classes, immanent universals, transcendent universals, tropes, nonexistent?
  • Practical reason: Aristotelian, Humean, or Kantian?
  • Propositional attitudes: dispositional, phenomenal, representational, nonexistent?
  • Propositions: sets, structured entities, simple, acts, nonexistent?
  • Race categories: preserve, revise, or eliminate?
  • Reference: causal, descriptive, deflationary?
  • Response to external-world skepticism (which is strongest?): abductive, contextualist, dogmatist, externalist, pragmatic?
  • Rational disagreement (can two people with the same evidence rationally disagree): uniqueness or permissiveness?
  • Sleeping beauty (woken once if heads, woken twice if tails, credence in heads on waking?): one-third or one-half?
  • Spacetime: relationism or substantivalism?
  • Statue and lump: one thing or two things?
  • Temporal ontology: presentism, eternalism, or growing block?
  • Time travel: metaphysically possible or metaphysically impossible?
  • True contradictions: impossible, possible but non-actual, actual?
  • Units of selection: genes, organisms, or groups?
  • Values in science (is ideal scientific reasoning necessarily sensitive or insensitive to non-epistemic values?): necessarily value-free, necessarily value-laden, sometimes both?
  • Well-being: hedonism, desire satisfaction, objective list?
  • Wittgenstein: early or late?

Bourget and Chalmers have set up a page with these questions, requests for questions in certain areas, other possible questions arranged by subject, and further information about the survey. Your thoughts are welcome at a page there, and also in the comments here.


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