Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Intuitional Disagreement
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, Ethics and Social Philosophy.
2012 (English)In: The Southern Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 0038-4283, E-ISSN 2041-6962, Vol. 50, no 4, 639-659 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the paper is to reconstruct the best version of the ‘experimentalist’ challenge to the use of intuitions in philosophy and in particular in ethics and to discuss possible responses to the challenge. I focus especially on responses that invoke substantive assumptions of the very type intuitions are supposed to support. It is argued that even if this apparently circular strategy is thought legitimate, the prospects of providing a compelling response to the challenge are still bleak.

Abstract: Some think that recent empirical research has shown that peoples' moral intuitions vary in a way that is hard to reconcile with the supposition that they are even modestly reliable. This is in turn supposed to generate skeptical conclusions regarding the claims and theories advanced by ethicists because of the crucial role intuitions have in the arguments offered in support of those claims. I begin by trying to articulate the most compelling version of this challenge. On that version, the main problem is the absence of a believable positive account of the reliability of the intuitions (rather than the bits of negative evidence that have so far been gathered). I then consider the response to this challenge that, in my view, holds most promise. It differs from others by invoking substantive moral assumptions. Such a strategy may appear problematically circular, in that the justification of those assumptions seems to presuppose the very thesis that is challenged (the thesis that our intuitions deserve being treated as evidence). However, although I think that objection can be met, I argue that there are other problems with the strategy. On the basis of a set of conditions that a successful defense of the pertinent kind plausibly must satisfy, I argue that the prospects of developing such an account are bleak.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Vol. 50, no 4, 639-659 p.
Keyword [en]
Intuition, experimental philosophy, skepticism, theory-dependent justification
National Category
Humanities Philosophy Ethics
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-188351DOI: 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2012.00139.xISI: 000312537700008OAI: diva2:577678
Available from: 2012-12-16 Created: 2012-12-16 Last updated: 2013-02-18Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(214 kB)181 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 214 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Tersman, Folke
By organisation
Ethics and Social Philosophy
In the same journal
The Southern Journal of Philosophy

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 181 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 279 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link