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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
Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-188351DOI: 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2012.00139.xISI: 000312537700008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-188351DiVA: diva2:577678
Available from: 2012-12-16 Created: 2012-12-16 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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