1. in the late 17th and 18th centuries, a name for the new discipline of experimental science then emerging. Use of the term often went with an optimism about the ability of experimental science to answer the questions that had been posed but unsolved by “natural philosophy.” The systematic work of Isaac Newton is often given as a defining example of experimental philosophy. 2. a late 20th-century movement holding that modern experimental science, particularly neuroscience, will ultimately uncover the biological foundations of thought and thereby provide a material answer to the questions of epistemology. In other words, experimental philosophy holds that answers to philosophical questions regarding the mind and its activities can, and likely will, be reduced to questions of how the brain functions. See reductionism.