What is a meme?

In The Selfish Gene (1976) British evolutionary biologist, professor, and author Richard Dawkins coined the term as being on a par with "gene." A meme—for instance, a tune, recipe, moral system, or style of dress—gets passed on from one generation to the next via cultural interaction. Although memes are not usually held to be physically inherited the way that genes are, social biologists believe them to be subject to natural selection and mutation.

What is experimental philosophy?

It is a very new philosophical approach that aims to use empirical information to back up the "ordinary intuitions" to which philosophers refer. People are given philosophical problems or solutions to them and asked if they agree with the philosopher's answer. Experimental philosophy has been applied to philosophy of language, philosophy of action, and "intuitions" that free will is not compatible with determinism.

What are some results of experimental philosophy?

Thus far, Bertrand Russell's (1872—1970) theory of descriptions has "failed" at least one intuitive test. Respondents are inclined to blame people for what they do unintentionally, which, according to philosophers, they should not. Free will is also held to be compatible with determinism, which philosophers have assumed not to be the case.

What are the pitfalls and promises of experimental philosophy?

In its degenerate forms, experimental philosophy could resemble philosophy by opinion poll, but that is not its goal or

Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, coined the term

Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, coined the term "meme"(AP).

method. Rather, the view is that before relying on ordinary intuitions, philosophers should check what non-philosophers actually believe. That is, if philosophical theories depend on a certain view of intuitions, then philosophers should begin with the empirically accurate view: they should make sure that when they say the public thinks X, that the public does think X. The promise of philosophy is that experimental philosophy has the potential to make social and political philosophy more scientific.

This does not deprive philosophers of the freedom to construct theories that explain why ordinary intuitions are incorrect, insofar as they are complex judgments and not mere expressions of taste. Recent work in experimental philosophy includes: Joshua Knobe and Shaun Nichols, Experimental Philosophy (2008); Joshua Knobe, "Intentional Action in Folk Psychology: An Experimental Investigation," in Philosophical Psychology, 16, (2003); and K. Anthony Appiah, Experiments in Ethics (2008). Critical responses to experimental philosophy include: Ernest Sosa, "Experimental Philosophy and Philosophical Intuition," in Philosophical Studies, 132 (2006); Kirk Ludwig, "The Epistemology of Thought Experiments: First vs. Third Person Approaches," in Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 31 (2007); and Antti Kauppinen, "The Rise and Fall of Experimental Philosophy," in Philosophical Explorations, 10 (2007).

What is philosophy of technology?

Ideas of technology go back to Plato (c. 428-c. 348 b.c.e.) and Aristotle (384-322 b.c.e.), who spoke of techne, or knowledge of art and craft, which included arithmetic

What is our relationship to technology? How does it affect our lives and our perception of our world? These are questions the philosophy of technology may address (BigStock Photos).

What is our relationship to technology? How does it affect our lives and our perception of our world? These are questions the philosophy of technology may address (BigStock Photos).

and medicine. Such knowledge understands itself, according to universals and causes. It can be taught and is distinct from physis, or nature.

Contemporary philosophy of technology is a multi-disciplinary field dedicated to studying the cultural effects and causes of technology, both historically and in its emergent forms. The American Philosophical Association publishes a newsletter on Philosophy and Computers, and there are academic journals such as Ends and Means, NetFuture—Technology and Human Responsibility, and Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology.

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