Research methods in analytic philosophy

Basic Information

Course 2023/2024
Esa Díaz León
Department of Philosophy
Universitat de Barcelona
Module 2. Research Methods in Analytic Philosophy


Tuesdays, 10:30-13:00
TBA, Faculty of Philosophy, Universitat de Barcelona


This course will provide an introduction to the methods, tools and skills that are necessary to engage in discussions in contemporary analytic philosophy.

Learning outcomes

Basic Competences

  • CB8: Students should be able to integrate information and form complex judgements on the basis of limited or partial information, including reflections on the ethical and social implications related to their area of research in analytic philosophy.
  • CB9: Students should be able to communicate effectively their arguments and conclusions to a specialized audience in a clear and rigorous manner.
  • CB10: Students should be able to acquire learning skills that allow them to pursue their studies in an autonomous manner.

General Competences

  • CG1: Students should be able to analyze, assess and construct valid arguments, and to identify formal and informal fallacies.
  • CG2: Students should be able to design, create and develop original research projects in their chosen areas of study in analytic philosophy.
  • CG4: Students should be able to work both autonomously and as part of a team, in order to provide arguments for and against different positions in analytic philosophy, and provide examples.

Specific Competences

  • CE1: Students should be able to critically engage with the concepts and methods of contemporary analytic philosophy.
  • CE4: Students should be able to assess the writings of leading contemporary philosophers in the field of analytic philosophy.
  • CE5: Students should be able to identify and critically engage with the current state of a particular philosophical debate, and form a reasoned view, even if provisional, about it.
  • CE7: Students should be able to critically use specialized terminology in the field of analytic philosophy.


The course will be divided in three parts:

In the first one, we will have a reading groupwhere we will discuss recent papers on methodological issues in philosophy, and students will have to prepare questions and comments in advance.

In the second part (to be conducted online), students will have to participate in a philosophy blog, run by the instructors specifically for this class.

In the third part, we will have a small workshop, where each student will have to present a short paper on philosophical methodology (2000-3000 words) and also comment on someone else’s presentation. (dates: 22-23 January 2024)



The final grade for the course will be obtained on the basis of the blog post and blog comments (30%), workshop presentation (30%), paper commentary (20%), and class participation (including questions via Campus Virtual, and in-class questions) (20%).

Topics for blog posts and workshop presentations:

Each student can choose a topic based on their research interests. The topic for the blog post is completely free. The topic for the workshop should be somehow related to philosophical methodology (perhaps by applying some insights from philosophical methodology to their area of interest.)

The material for the blog post and the workshop presentation should not overlap.

It is strongly recommended that students consult with the instructors in advance regarding the topics.


Readings and Calendar

  • Session 0: Introduction (no assigned readings).
  • Session 1: Amie Thomasson (2012): “Experimental Philosophy and the Methods of Ontology”, The Monist, 95(2), pp. 175-199.
  • Session 2: Sally Haslanger (2016) “Theorizing with a Purpose: The Many Kinds of Sex”, in Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice, edited by Catherine Kendig, New York: Routledge.
  • Session 3: Eve Kitsik (2022) “Attentional progress by conceptual engineering”, Metaphilosophy 53:254–266
  • Session 4: Jennifer Nado (2023) “Classification procedures as the targets of conceptual engineering”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (1):136-156.
  • Session 5: Rachel E. Rudolph (2021) “Conceptual Exploration”, Inquiry. doi: 10.1080/0020174X.2021.2002053
  • Session 6: Matthew Shields (2021) “Conceptual Domination”, Synthese 199 (5-6):15043-15067.

Additional References (background readings)

  • Daly, Chris (2010). An Introduction to Philosophical Methods. London: Broadview Press.
  • David Plunkett (2015) “Which Concepts Should We Use? Metalinguistic Negotiations and The Methodology of Philosophy”, Inquiry, 58(7-8), pp. 828-74.
  • Cappelen, Herman et al. (eds.) (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • D’Oro, Guiseppina and Overgaard, Sven (eds.) (2017). The Cambridge Companion to Philosophical Methodology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cappelen, H. (2018) Fixing Language: An Essay on Conceptual Engineering. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


General Resources


Other considerations

If the situation requires it, the teaching plan may be adapted for virtual teaching and any modification will be promptly communicated to the students.