Ordering effects, updating effects, and the specter of global skepticism

Zachary Horne, Jonathan Livengood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


One widely-endorsed argument in the experimental philosophy literature maintains that intuitive judgments are unreliable because they are influenced by the order in which thought experiments prompting those judgments are presented. Here, we explicitly state this argument from ordering effects and show that any plausible understanding of the argument leads to an untenable conclusion. First, we show that the normative principle is ambiguous. On one reading of the principle, the empirical observation is well-supported, but the normative principle is false. On the other reading, the empirical observation has only weak support, and the normative principle, if correct, would impugn the reliability of deliberative reasoning, testimony, memory, and perception, since judgments in all these areas are sensitive to ordering in the relevant sense. We then reflect on what goes wrong with the argument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1189-1218
Number of pages30
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Experimental philosophy
  • Ordering effects
  • Skepticism
  • Thought experiments
  • Updating effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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