My postdoc project makes progress on questions about philosophical methodology, from a pragmatist perspective. How can we define philosophy as a scientific discipline (I use the notion ‘scientific’ to include the humanities and social sciences as well, with no primacy for the natural sciences)? I hold that philosophy is a unified scientific discipline in that it is a distinct kind of activity and in that it has a shared method. At the same time, there are two tasks for which it is apt as a tool: to provide coherent vocabularies, theory, and reflection to various (other) scientific questions on the one hand, and to provide responses to difficult-but-everyday-questions (e.g., Kant’s four questions: What can I know? What should I do? What may I hope? What is a human being?) on the other. I hold that this apparent disunity in its tasks poses no threat to conceiving of it as a unified scientific discipline. However, various methodological questions arise from these two distinct tasks, and the boundaries and commonalities with other sciences have to be reconsidered.

The following three papers are work-in-progress from this project:

  • Purely Cognitive Benefits
  • Innocent until Proven Guilty: Verbal Disputes
  • The Equality of Instruments