Trope analysis and folk intuitions



Rennick S (2021) Trope analysis and folk intuitions. Synthese, 199 (1-2), pp. 5025-5043.;

This paper outlines a new method for identifying folk intuitions to complement armchair intuiting and experimental philosophy (X-Phi), and thereby enrich the philosopher’s toolkit. This new approach – trope analysis – depends not on what people report their intuitions to be but rather on what they have made and engaged with; I propose that tropes in fiction (‘you can’t change the past’, ‘a foreknown future isn’t free’ and so forth) reveal which theories, concepts and ideas we find intuitive, repeatedly and en masse. Imagination plays a dual role in both existing methods and this new approach: it enables us to create the scenarios that elicit our intuitions, and also to mentally represent them. The method I propose allows us to leverage the imagination of the many rather than the few on both counts – scenarios are both created and consumed by the folk themselves.

folk intuitions, imagination, tropes, fiction, methodology

Synthese: Volume 199, Issue 1-2

Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online31/01/2021
Date accepted by journal24/12/2020
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC
Publisher URL…1229-020-03013-3

People (1)


Dr Steph Rennick
Dr Steph Rennick

Lecturer in Digital Media (Interactive), Communications, Media and Culture