Edited By Martin Hinton
Roland Bluhm - Corpus Analysis in Philosophy
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Corpus Analysis in Philosophy
The aim of this paper is to discuss the potential benefit of corpus analysis, a (partly) empirical method from linguistics, for philosophy. ‘Corpus analysis’ is not only the name of the method, but also a rough description of it, because the method consists in analysing data taken from linguistic text corpora. In linguistics, using such text corpora is an established practice. A fair number of them are nowadays freely accessible on the internet, and using them has become relatively easy, even for researchers without linguistic expertise. Surprisingly, corpus analysis has been widely disregarded by philosophers, including those that profess a methodical interest in language—a state of affairs that I believe ought to change.
I shall begin with a short introduction into corpus analysis, followed by a couple of general remarks on why we should, in my view, use corpus analysis in philosophy. I shall briefly introduce examples of the little work that has been done with the help of corpus analysis in philosophy, which I shall contrast with the use of general internet search engines and questionnaires for similar purposes. I shall close with some remarks on the advantages and disadvantages of corpus analysis in philosophy, and some suggestions for directions that further philosophical research with the help of corpus analysis might take.
2. Basics of corpus analysis
In order to introduce corpus analysis, it would...
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