I originally planned to post this along with the bibliography, but I forgot. But then Edouard's post about Wegner reminded me of why I wanted to say something about this in the first place. In the two papers that Eddy and I have been working on we try to give a loose account of why x-phi is both experimental and philosophical. We suggest that it is (a) experimental to the extent that the researcher actually conducts her own studies rather than relying on the data of other researchers, and (b) philosophical to the extent that experimental philosophers spend time explaining the philosophical salience and implications of the data they collect.
By fleshing out x-phi in this way, we can distinguish what we do from what more traditional empirically minded/naturalistic philosophers do and from what experimental psychologists do. Unfortunately, a few problems immediately arise. The one I want to discuss now is the question of whether on this definition of x-phi, lots of psychologists who do not self-identify with (or even know about) the movement should nevertheless be counted as experimental philosophers. Must one be both an experimentalist and a philosopher to count? If so, what qualifies one as being a philosopher? This is not just a nit-picky semantic quibble--just think of what assumptions have to be made in order to settle on which papers/books should be included in a bibliography on experimental philosophy.
Now in the event that the psychologists themselves self-identify with the experimental philosophy movement--e.g., Cushman, Greene, Pizzarro--it is clear enough that their work counts (even if they identify first and foremost with psychology). But what about other similarly philosophically minded psychologists who both run studies and discuss their philosophical importance--e.g., Haidt, Wegner, Damasio, Gazzaniga, Nisbett, Libet, Cohen, Darley, and the list goes on--but who do not view themselves as working in experimental philosophy?
In some technical sense, when Wegner starts relying on his empirical research to argue for a position within the free will debate, doesn't he--at some point--stop doing psychology and start doing philosophy? If so, is it correct to say that some of his research is technically experimental philosophy even if he has never even heard of the x-phi movement? How would we need to define experimental philosophy in order to avoid this definitional problem?
I also had a related question that arose while I was working on the bibliography. Even once we settle on which researchers count as doing experimental philosophy, how do we distinguish their experimental philosophical work from their non-experimental work. Take, for instance, Doris and Stich. Their respective research is always sensitive to the scientific data--but they do not always rely on their own empirical studies. As a result, even though all of their stuff is empirically informed, not all of it is experimental. So, here again, how do we decide which books and articles from Doris or Stich belong on the experimental philosophy bibliography and which ones do not? One answer is that we count the research that involves their own studies as experimental and the rest as empirically informed--but this seems unecessarily restrictive.
In any event, since the x-phi set spend more time puzzling about the very foundations of their movement than any other group of philosophers I know, I thought now might be a good time to raise that age-old question once again: What, exactly, is it that we're doing when we do experimental philosophy?