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Ordinary Meaning and Consilience of Evidence

Sytsma, Justin (2022) Ordinary Meaning and Consilience of Evidence. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In this chapter I note two recent trends, one in experimental jurisprudence and one in experimental philosophy. First, some work in experimental jurisprudence has pushed for moving beyond textual sources, including the use of linguistic corpora, and toward questionnaire methods in analyzing ordinary meaning. Second, some work in experimental philosophy has urged that we should look to move beyond the use of questionnaire methods and toward the use of linguistic corpora in analyzing ordinary concepts. There is a methodological tension here that suggests further investigation. I do so by considering the legal hypothetical of a prohibition on vehicles in a park that has featured prominently in the back-and-forth over the use of corpus methods in legal interpretation. Taking a closer look at this example, including extending previous corpus analyses, I argue that corpus and questionnaire methods in fact paint a remarkably similar picture of the ordinary use of “vehicle.” I hold that this highlights how these methods can compliment each other, and conclude that when it comes to difficult empirical questions—such as those that arise in assessing ordinary meaning and ordinary concepts—we should aim to employ multiple sources of information to arrive at a consilience of evidence.


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Item Type: Preprint
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Sytsma, Justin
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Law edited by Stefan Magen and Karolina Prochownik.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Evidence
Depositing User: Justin Sytsma
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2022 03:30
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2022 16:50
Item ID: 20350
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Evidence
Date: 16 March 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20350

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