MERG is a team effort. We are open to new ideas from our members and other interested parties. Here are some of the activities we have been pursuing since our inception in September 2009.
· Introduction to MERG
This semester we have been introducing MERG to various universities in the area. At these introductory meetings, MERG director, Mark Phelan, tells a bit about the group and our plans, then a visiting graduate student or early career professor presents some experimental work he or she has been doing. We have had introductory meetings at CUNY Grad Center, Rutgers, and Yale, and have others planned for the future.
· Experiment Boot Camp
On October 24th, MERG hosted a one day crash course in experimental method, designed to give philosophers a basic familiarity with the tools needed to conduct experimental research. The course included presentations by experienced experimental researchers from various disciplines, discussing experimental design, statistics for the behavioral sciences, and how to conduct analyses with SPSS. It was offered free of charge to interested philosophers.
· Lab Meetings
One of the main goals of MERG is to improve the experimental acumen of philosophers. The lab meetings allow for such improvement through collaboration with other experimentalists. In each meeting, two or three philosophers do a short, informal presentation on a philosophical experiment they are designing or some results they have collected. Then they receive feedback and suggestions on ways of improving the experiment or interpreting the results.
· Experiment Month
Experiment Month is a collaboration between MERG and Yale Cognitive Science. The goal is to help philosophers interested in applying experimental methods to philosophical topics. We will encourage philosophers to submit proposed experiments in the Fall of 2010. A team of qualified volunteers will select the most interesting and viable proposals for inclusion in the Experiment Month. They will provide helpful comments on selected submissions and assign “experiment buddies” to help researchers further refine their proposed experiments. In March of 2011 (the Experiment Month), revised versions of the selected experimental studies will be made available on a project website, where we will encourage large-scale experimental participation from the philosophical community and from the broader public.