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A bibliometric study of the research field of experimental philosophy of language

Jincai Li, Xiaozhen Zhu

Article ID: 1462
Vol 4, Issue 1, 2022, Article identifier:18-35

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The past eighteen years witnessed the rapid development of experimental philosophy of language. Adopting a bibliometric approach, this study examines the research trends and status quo of this burgeoning field based on a corpus of 237 publications retrieved from PhilPapers. It is observed that experimental philosophy of language has undergone three stages, the initiation stage, the development stage, and the extension stage, across which there is a clear upward trend in the annual number of publications. Michael Devitt, Edouard Machery, John Turri, Nat Hansen, et al., are found to be the most productive philosophers, testifying their leading positions in this field. Journals, instead of books, are the major homes of works in this area. The analysis also yields a list of influential works, including the seminal work “Semantics, Cross-cultural Style” and other significant publications on the semantics of various types of expressions. Relatedly, the major research themes are found to include not only intuitions about the reference of proper names, but also a wide array of philosophically and linguistically interesting issues like the meaning of color adjectives, epistemic modals, and predicates of personal taste, the norms of assertions and the essence of lies, etc. These findings showcase that experimental philosophy of language has broadened the research territory and offered deep insights into central issues of philosophy of language that are beyond the reach of the conventional armchair methodology.


experimental philosophy of language; bibliometric analysis; research trend; research themes

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