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Language and Mind through Experimental Philosophy

MIZUMOTO Laboratory
Associate Professor:MIZUMOTO Masaharu

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[Research areas]
epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, analytic philosophy
[Keywords]
experimental philosophy, cultural psychology, moral psychology, semantics, contextualism

Skills and background we are looking for in prospective students

One important condition is that you like thinking. Irrespective of the current major, you should have wide interests in many topics, like language, mathematics, consciousness, free will, ethics, etc. The ability to write either in English or in Japanese is required.

What you can expect to learn in this laboratory

How to investigate what you are really interested in conceptually, logically and scientifically.
How to plan and design questionnaire research and the analysis of the data.
How language works in mind and its role in how the mind works

【Job category of graduates】 Researcher, office worker in general

Research outline

My research area is analytic philosophy, which does philosophy through logical analysis and with scientific methods. In particular,

  1. Philosophy of Wittgenstein (rule-following consideration, use theory of meaning, foundation of mathematics, etc.)
  2. Philosophy of Mind (consciousness, theory of mind, intentionality, etc.)
  3. Philosophy of Language (indicative conditional, contextualism, theory of truth, etc.)
  4. Epistemology (theory of knowledge, formal analysis of knowledge, theory of belief change, etc.)

Recently, I have been doing research on these topics mainly through empirical methods, which is called experimental philosophy, a new movement in philosophy since 21st century.


I have especially been concerned with the possible cultural/linguistic variance of the philosophically fundamental terms. Among them are:

1) the Knobe effect, which is originally a phenomenon of the asymmetrical intention attribution in relation to whether the action is morally good or bad. This has long been considered as a psychological effect, but I have shown that linguistic factors also play a role, but the linguistic effects vary from language to language.

2) knowledge, which has been discussed and analyzed mainly through English “know” throughout the 20th century in analytic epistemology. However, I showed that two Japanese knowledge verbs, shitte-iru and wakatte-iru, behave very differently, from each other and from English “know”, in epistemologically important cases.

Key publications

  1. Epistemology for the Rest of the World. Mizumoto, Stich, McCready (eds.), Oxford University Press. (2018)
  2. “Know” and Japanese Counterparts; “Shitte-iru” and “Wakatte-iru”(in 1).
  3. A simple linguistic approach to the Knobe effect, or the Knobe effect without any vignette. Philosophical Studies. (2017)

Equipment

Online questionnaire research platforms
Statistical analysis tools

Teaching policy

We meet once a week in a seminar, in which students presents their progresses in their own research. But to find out one’s own research topic that truly matches his/her interests and prior research itself is an important process in seminar.

I welcome any topic as long as it is philosophically interesting and done with proper method. But students are expected to their own research independently, on their own, planning and managing the schedule, though I can help at any time when there is a specific problem.

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