| Peter Klein |
Experimental economics is mainstream, and is increasingly popular in management (as well as sociology, political science, criminology, etc.). Laboratory and natural experiments seem to fill more journal pages every year. Esther Duflo took home this year’s Clark Medal for her work on randomized controlled trials. Identification is all the rage in empirical social science, and who needs instrumental variables or fixed effects if you can force ceteris to be paribus through experimental design?
But wait a minute: philosophy? Apparently philosophers are getting into the game, via a new experimental philosophy movement (“X-Phi,” to the cool kids). The NYT Magazine surveyed the field a few years back, and this week’s this week’s “Room for Debate” asks important philosophers what they think. Note the wide range of opinions. My initial reaction was similar to Brian Leiter’s, namely that X-Phi is about being trendy, attracting funding, and keeping philosophy departments from being shredded by budget-conscious administrators. Academia, after all, is among the most faddish of the professions. But who knows. (Thanks to MLC for the link.)