X-phi Meets Ronald McDonald: An Experimental Philosophical Investigation into the Phenomenology of Eating Fast Food

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Summer 2011

Project Description/Abstract

Experimental Philosophy (X-phi) is a movement that extends philosophers’ tools to include those of social science, gathering data on people’s judgments in hypothetical scenarios to help reveal content of concepts like moral responsibility or knowledge. This information is used to construct new theories that may challenge traditional philosopher-generated views. So far, X-phi methods have been limited to quantitative data analysis. In this project, I explain and justify the use of qualitative research methods within X-phi to unpack salient features of subjects’ affective experiences of eating fast food.

Using transcripts of 14 in-depth interviews, I tackle two research questions: 1) what are the identifiable contextual clues that reveal content of feeling states in subjects’ responses? 2) what are the salient features underlying subjects’ experiences of fast food eating? The answers will help guide philosophers in conducting interdisciplinary investigation and open avenues for applying philosophical expertise to thorny issues of public policy.

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