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Moral Intuitionism

Edited by Christopher Michael Cloos (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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  1. Leo Abraham (1933). The Logic of Ethical Intuitionism. International Journal of Ethics 44 (1):37-55.
    Philosophers have in the past had difficulty in determining how to define ethical terms. here they are defined as open-context terms with a loosely limited range of substitution instances, in conformity with actual language usage. ethical terms are in themselves meaningless. it is a misuse to say, "x is wrong in itself." ethical terms then reduce to empirical terms concerning wants, likes, knowledge of cause and effect and consequences, knowledge of how ethical terms themselves work. ethical commands reduce to if-then (...)
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  2. Robert Audi (2008). Intuition, Inference, and Rational Disagreement in Ethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (5):475 - 492.
    This paper defends a moderate intuitionism by extending a version of that view previously put forward and responding to some significant objections to it that have been posed in recent years. The notion of intuition is clarified, and various kinds of intuition are distinguished and interconnected. These include doxastic intuitions and intuitive seemings. The concept of inference is also clarified. In that light, the possibility of non-inferential intuitive justification is explained in relation to both singular moral judgments, which intuitionists do (...)
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  3. Robert Audi (2005). The Good in the Right: A Theory of Intuition and Intrinsic Value. Princeton Up.
    "Robert Audi's magisterial "The Good in the Right" offers the most comprehensive and developed account of rational ethical intuitionism to date."--Roger Crisp, St. Anne's College, University of Oxford "This is an excellent book.
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  4. Robert Audi (2001). A Kantian Intuitionism. Mind 110 (439):601-635.
    Kant famously said that one could not do morality a worse disservice than to derive it from examples, and this pronouncement, taken together with his formulations and explanations of the categorical imperative, has led some critics to regard him as too abstract. Ross, by contrast, has been widely viewed as taking individual cases of duty to have a kind of epistemic priority over principles of duty, and some of his critics have thus considered him insufficiently systematic, or even dogmatically limited (...)
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  5. Robert Audi (1998). Moderate Intuitionism and the Epistemology of Moral Judgment. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1):15-44.
    This paper outlines and defends a moderate intuitionism. The point of departure is the intuitionism of W. D. Ross (1930) in The Right and the Good, conceived as ethically pluralist and epistemologically rationalist. The paper articulates a conception of self-evidence – including mediate as well as immediate kinds – appropriate to a moderate intuitionism, explores some of the resources and varieties of that position, and considers some problems and prospects for a rationalist version of intuitionism. The final section addresses the (...)
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  6. Carla Bagnoli (2000). Moral Dilemmas and the Limits of Ethical Theory. LED.
    In this book, I consider whether the hypothesis of moral dilemmas undermines ethics' pretensions to objectivity. I argue against the view that moral dilemmas challenge the very possibility of ethical theory, as a practical and theoretical enterprise. By examining Kantian, Intuitionist and Utilitarian arguments about moral dilemmas, I show that no ethical theory is capable of avoiding them. I further argue that an adequate ethical theory should admit dilemmas. Dilemmas do not reveal a logical or normative flaw in the theory (...)
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  7. Nathan Ballantyne & Joshua C. Thurow (2013). Moral Intuitionism Defeated? American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):411-422.
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has developed and progressively refined an argument against moral intuitionism—the view on which some moral beliefs enjoy non-inferential justification. He has stated his argument in a few different forms, but the basic idea is straightforward. To start with, Sinnott-Armstrong highlights facts relevant to the truth of moral beliefs: such beliefs are sometimes biased, influenced by various irrelevant factors, and often subject to disagreement. Given these facts, Sinnott-Armstrong infers that many moral beliefs are false. What then shall we think (...)
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  8. Karen Bartsch & Jennifer Cole Wright (2005). Towards an Intuitionist Account of Moral Development. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):546-547.
    Sunstein's characterization of moral blunders jointly indicts an intuitive process and the structure of heuristics. But intuitions need not lead to error, and the problems with moral heuristics apply also to moral principles. Accordingly, moral development may well involve more, rather than less, intuitive responsiveness. This suggests a novel trajectory for future research into the development of appropriate moral judgments.
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  9. Matthew S. Bedke (2010). Intuitional Epistemology in Ethics. Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1069-1083.
    Here I examine the major theories of ethical intuitions, focusing on the epistemic status of this class of intuitions. We cover self-evidence theory, seeming-state theory, and some of the recent contributions from experimental philosophy.
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  10. Matthew S. Bedke (2009). Intuitive Non-Naturalism Meets Cosmic Coincidence. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):188-209.
    Having no recourse to ways of knowing about the natural world, ethical non-naturalists are in need of an epistemology that might apply to a normative breed of facts or properties, and intuitionism seems well suited to fill that bill. Here I argue that the metaphysical inspiration for ethical intuitionism undermines that very epistemology, for this pair of views generates what I call the defeater from cosmic coincidence. Unfortunately, we face not a happy union, but a difficult choice: either ethical intuitionism (...)
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  11. Matthew S. Bedke (2008). Ethical Intuitions: What They Are, What They Are Not, and How They Justify. American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (3):253-270.
    There are ways that ethical intuitions might be, and the various possibilities have epistemic ramifications. This paper criticizes some extant accounts of what ethical intuitions are and how they justify, and it offers an alternative account. Roughly, an ethical intuition that p is a kind of seeming state constituted by a consideration whether p, attended by positive phenomenological qualities that count as evidence for p, and so a reason to believe that p. They are distinguished from other kinds of seemings, (...)
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  12. Brian Besong (forthcoming). Moral Intuitionism and Disagreement. Synthese:1-23.
    According to moral intuitionism, at least some moral seeming states are justification-conferring. The primary defense of this view currently comes from advocates of the standard account, who take the justification-conferring power of a moral seeming to be determined by its phenomenological credentials alone. However, the standard account is vulnerable to a problem. In brief, the standard account implies that moral knowledge is seriously undermined by those commonplace moral disagreements in which both agents have equally good phenomenological credentials supporting their disputed (...)
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  13. Brian Besong (forthcoming). The Prudent Conscience View. International Philosophical Quarterly.
    Moral intuitionism, which claims that some moral seemings are justification-conferring, has become an increasingly popular account in moral epistemology. Defenses of the position have largely focused on the standard account, according to which the justification-conferring power of a moral seeming is determined by its phenomenal credentials alone. Unfortunately, the standard account is a less plausible version of moral intuitionism because it does not take etiology seriously. In this paper, I provide an outline and defense of a non-standard account of moral (...)
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  14. Georg Brun (2014). Reflective Equilibrium Without Intuitions? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (2):237-252.
    In moral epistemology, the method of reflective equilibrium is often characterized in terms of intuitions or understood as a method for justifying intuitions. An analysis of reflective equilibrium and current theories of moral intuitions reveals that this picture is problematic. Reflective equilibrium cannot be adequately characterized in terms of intuitions. Although the method presupposes that we have initially credible commitments, it does not presuppose that they are intuitions. Nonetheless, intuitions can enter the process of developing a reflective equilibrium and, if (...)
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  15. Henry Calderwood (1896). The Relation of Intuitionism to the Ethical Doctrine of Self-Realization. Philosophical Review 5 (4):337-351.
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  16. Robert Cowan (2013). Clarifying Ethical Intuitionism. European Journal of Philosophy 21 (2):n/a-n/a.
    In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in Ethical Intuitionism, whose core claim is that normal ethical agents can and do have non-inferentially justified first-order ethical beliefs. Although this is the standard formulation, there are two senses in which it is importantly incomplete. Firstly, ethical intuitionism claims that there are non-inferentially justified ethical beliefs, but there is a worrying lack of consensus in the ethical literature as to what non-inferentially justified belief is. Secondly, it has been overlooked (...)
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  17. Terence Cuneo (2008). Intuitionism's Burden: Thomas Reid on the Problem of Moral Motivation. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 6 (1):21-44.
    Hume bequeathed to rational intuitionists a problem concerning moral judgment and the will – a problem of sufficient severity that it is still cited as one of the major reasons why intuitionism is untenable.1 Stated in general terms, the problem concerns how an intuitionist moral theory can account for the intimate connection between moral judgment and moral motivation. One reason that this is still considered to be a problem for intuitionists is that it is widely assumed that the early intuitionists (...)
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  18. Norman O. Dahl (1986). Obligation and Moral Worth: Reflections on Prichard and Kant. Philosophical Studies 50 (3):369 - 399.
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  19. Jonathan Dancy (2011). Has Anyone Ever Been a Non-Intuitionist? In T. Hurka (ed.), Underivative Duty: British Moral Philosophers From Sidgwick to Ewing. Oup Oxford.
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  20. Dan Demetriou (2009). A Modest Intuitionist Reply to Greene's fMRI-Based Objections to Deontology. Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):107-117.
    I argue that Greene’s research, although fascinating for many reasons, doesn’t undermine deontological moral philosophy. This is because both sentimentalist and rationalist moral epistemologies, applied to deontological value, predict exactly the data Greene has found. My discussion proceeds in three steps. In the first section I summarize Greene’s brief against deontology. In the second section I draw on standard accounts of moral emotions to suggest that there are ‘deontological emotions’ made rational by appearances of ‘deontological value.’ Finally, I outline a (...)
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  21. Raphael Demos (1945). Moral Value as Irreducible, Objective, and Cognizable. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 6 (2):163-194.
  22. Harold A. Durfee (1980). The A Priori, Intuitionism and Moral Language. Philosophical Studies 27:55-66.
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  23. Ben Eggleston (2003). Everything is What It is, and Not Another Thing: Comments on Austin. Southwest Philosophy Review 19 (2):101-105.
    To specify the aspects of Austin’s position that I want to focus on, let me start by reviewing some of the things that Austin says in order to characterize ethical intuitionism. He writes, “I take an ethical intuition to be a type of synthetic a priori insight into the necessary character of reality specifically concerning that which is right and/or good” (p. 205), and he adds that he regards “ethical intuition as a source of foundationally justified belief” (p. 205). He (...)
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  24. Cordelia Fine (2006). Is the Emotional Dog Wagging its Rational Tail, or Chasing It? Philosophical Explorations 9 (1):83 – 98.
    According to Haidt's (2001) social intuitionist model (SIM), an individual's moral judgment normally arises from automatic 'moral intuitions'. Private moral reasoning - when it occurs - is biased and post hoc, serving to justify the moral judgment determined by the individual's intuitions. It is argued here, however, that moral reasoning is not inevitably subserviant to moral intuitions in the formation of moral judgments. Social cognitive research shows that moral reasoning may sometimes disrupt the automatic process of judgment formation described by (...)
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  25. James R. Flynn (1974). Do We Really Want a Moral Justification of Our Basic Ideals? Inquiry 17 (1-4):151 – 173.
    It is commonly held that when there is a conflict of basic ideals, e.g. a humane man v. an elitist or a Social Darwinist or someone who holds a revenge ethic, no moral justification is possible. This paper attempts to go further and show that such a justification would be undesirable, would carry a price few would be willing to pay. The thesis is developed to shed light not only on classical thinkers (Plato, Locke, Kant) but also on the attractions (...)
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  26. Andrew T. Forcehimes (2013). David Kaspar: Intuitionism. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):1093-1094.
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  27. Ellen-Marie Forsberg (2007). Value Pluralism and Coherentist Justification of Ethical Advice. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 20 (1):81-97.
    Liberal societies are characterized by respect for a fundamental value pluralism; i.e., respect for individuals’ rights to live by their own conception of the good. Still, the state must make decisions that privilege some values at the cost of others. When public ethics committees give substantial ethical advice on policy related issues, it is therefore important that this advice is well justified. The use of explicit tools for ethical assessment can contribute to justifying advice. In this article, I will discuss (...)
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  28. Robert Frazier, Entry on Inutitionism in Ethics.
    To intuit something is to apprehend it directly, without recourse to reasoning processes such as deduction or induction. Intuitionism in ethics proposes that we have a capacity for intuition and that some of the facts or properties that we intuit are irreducibly ethical. Traditionally, intuitionism also advances the important thesis that beliefs arising from intuition have direct justification. This means that such beliefs do not need to be justified by appeal to other beliefs or facts because the proposition believed is (...)
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  29. Gebhard Geiger (1995). Why Are There No Objective Values? A Critique of Ethical Intuitionism From an Epistemological Point of View. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 26 (1):35 - 62.
    Using the mathematical frameworks of economic preference ranking, subjective probability, and rational learning through empirical evidence, the epistemological implications of teleological ethical intuitionism are pointed out to the extent to which the latter is based on cognitivist and objectivist concepts of value. The notions of objective value and objective norm are critically analysed with reference to epistemological criteria of intersubjectively shared valuative experience. It is concluded that one cannot meaningfully postulate general material theories of morality that could be tested, confirmed (...)
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  30. Gebhard Geiger (1992). Why There Are No Objective Values: A Critique of Ethical Intuitionism From an Evolutionary Point of View. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 7 (3):315-330.
    Using concepts of evolutionary game theory, this paper presents a critique of ethical intuitionism, or non-naturalism, in its cognitivist and objectivist interpretation. While epistemological considerations suggest that human rational learning through experience provides no basis for objective moral knowledge, it is argued below that modern evolutionary theory explains why this is so, i.e., why biological organisms do not evolve so as to experience objective preferences and obligations. The difference between the modes of the cognition of objective and of valuative environmental (...)
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  31. Jonathan Haidt, The Emotional Dog Gets Mistaken for a Possum.
    Saltzstein and Kasachkoff (2004) critique the social intuitionist model (Haidt, 2001), but the model that they critique is a stripped-down version that should be called the “possum” model. They make three charges about the possum model that are not true about the social intuitionist model: that it includes no role for reasoning, that it reduces social influence to compliance, and that it does not take a developmental perspective. After I defend the honor of the social intuitionist model, I raise two (...)
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  32. Nathan Hanna (2010). Cosmic Coincidence and Intuitive Non-Naturalism. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
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  33. Jill Hernandez (ed.) (forthcoming). The New Intuitionism. Continuum.
    Since the 2004 publication of his book The Good in the Right, Robert Audi has been at the forefront of the current resurgence of interest in intuitionism – the idea that human beings have an intuitive sense of right and wrong – in ethics. The New Intuitionism brings together some of the world’s most important contemporary writers from such diverse fields as metaethics, epistemology and moral psychology to explore the latest implications of, and challenges to, Audi’s work. The book also (...)
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  34. Ulrike Heuer & Gerald Lang (eds.) (2012). Luck, Value, and Commitment: Themes From the Ethics of Bernard Williams. Oxford University Press, USA.
    Luck, Value, and Commitment comprises eleven new essays which engage with, or take their point of departure from, the influential work in moral and political philosophy of Bernard Williams (1929-2003).
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  35. Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons (2007). Morphological Rationalism and the Psychology of Moral Judgment. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (3):279 - 295.
    According to rationalism regarding the psychology of moral judgment, people’s moral judgments are generally the result of a process of reasoning that relies on moral principles or rules. By contrast, intuitionist models of moral judgment hold that people generally come to have moral judgments about particular cases on the basis of gut-level, emotion-driven intuition, and do so without reliance on reasoning and hence without reliance on moral principles. In recent years the intuitionist model has been forcefully defended by Jonathan Haidt. (...)
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  36. Michael Huemer (2009). Apology of a Modest Intuitionist. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):222-236.
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  37. Michael Huemer (2009). Précis of Ethical Intuitionism. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):192-196.
    I summarize the main conclusions of my 2005 book, Ethical Intuitionism, for the book symposium in this issue.
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  38. Michael Huemer (2008). Revisionary Intuitionism. Social Philosophy and Policy 25 (1):368-392.
    I argue that, given evidence of the factors that tend to distort our intuitions, ethical intuitionists should disown a wide range of common moral intuitions, and that they should typically give preference to abstract, formal intuitions over more substantive ethical intuitions. In place of the common sense morality with which intuitionism has traditionally allied, the suggested approach may lead to a highly revisionary normative ethics.
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  39. Michael Huemer (2005). Ethical Intuitionism. Palgrave Macmillan.
    This book defends a form of ethical intuitionism, according to which (i) there are objective moral truths; (ii) we know some of these truths through a kind of immediate, intellectual awareness, or "intuition"; and (iii) our knowledge of moral truths gives us reasons for action independent of our desires. The author rebuts all the major objections to this theory and shows that the alternative theories about the nature of ethics all face grave difficulties.
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  40. Thomas Hurka, On Audi's Marriage of Ross and Kant.
    As its title suggests, Robert Audi’s The Good in the Right1 defends an intuitionist moral view like W.D. Ross’s in The Right and the Good. Ross was an intuitionist, first, in metaethics, where he held that there are self-evident moral truths that can be known by intuition. But he was also an intuitionist in the different sense used in normative ethics, since he held that there are irreducibly many such truths. Some concern the intrinsic goods, which are in turn plural, (...)
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  41. Terence Irwin (2009). The Development of Ethics, Volume 3: From Kant to Rawls. OUP Oxford.
    This book is a selective historical and critical study of moral philosophy in the Socratic tradition, with special attention to Aristotelian naturalism. It discusses the main topics of moral philosophy as they have developed historically, including: the human good, human nature, justice, friendship, and morality; the methods of moral inquiry; the virtues and their connexions; will, freedom, and responsibility; reason and emotion; relativism, subjectivism, and realism; the theological aspect of morality. The first volume discusses ancient and mediaeval moral philosophy. The (...)
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  42. Mohsen Javadi (2007). Ibn Sina and the Status of Moral Sentences. Topoi 26 (2):247-254.
    There are some texts about moral sentences in the Islamic logical literature especially in the logical books of Ibn Sina that have been interpreted in completely opposite ways. Relying on these texts, some scholars take Ibn Sina to be proposing a non-cognitive theory of ethics and to the contrary some scholars hold that he is a proponent of a sort of moral intuitionism. Reflecting on the alleged textual evidence in Ibn Sina’s books, I propose a middle way in the interpretation (...)
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  43. Richard Joyce (2009). The Skeptick's Tale. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):213 - 221.
    Any metaethicist tempted to dismiss a defense of moral intuitionism as too flaky to merit serious attention should think twice. Ethical Intuitionism is a forceful, clear, original, and intelligent piece of philosophy, and Michael Huemer can be proud of his efforts. He proceeds by identifying an exhaustive list of five possible metaethical positions, then knocks down four until only his favored intuitionism remains. One of the advantages of any such “last man standing” strategy is that even the most hardened opponent (...)
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  44. Klemens Kappel (2002). Challenges to Audi's Ethical Intuitionism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5 (4):391-413.
    Robert Audi's ethical intuitionism (Audi, 1997, 1998) deals effectively with standard epistemological problems facing the intuitionist. This is primarily because the notion of self-evidence employed by Audi commits to very little. Importantly, according to Audi we might understand a self-evident moral proposition and yet not believe it, and we might accept a self-evident proposition because it is self-evident, and yet fail to see that it is self-evident. I argue that these and similar features give rise to certain challenges to Audi's (...)
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  45. David Kaspar (2012). Intuitionism. Continuum International Pub. Group.
    Thinking about morality -- Story of contemporary intuitionism -- Moral knowledge -- New challenges to intuitionism -- Grounds of morality -- Right and the good reconsidered -- Intuitionism's rivals -- Being moral: how and why.
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  46. Antti Kauppinen (forthcoming). Moral Intuition in Philosophy and Psychology. In Neil Levy & Jens Clausen (eds.), Springer Handbook of Neuroethics. Springer.
    Psychologists and philosophers use the term 'intuition' for a variety of different phenomena. In this paper, I try to provide a kind of a roadmap of the debates, point to some confusions and problems, and give a brief sketch of an empirically respectable philosophical approach.
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  47. Antti Kauppinen (2013). A Humean Theory of Moral Intuition. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (3):360-381.
    According to the quasi-perceptualist account of philosophical intuitions, they are intellectual appearances that are psychologically and epistemically analogous to perceptual appearances. Moral intuitions share the key characteristics of other intuitions, but can also have a distinctive phenomenology and motivational role. This paper develops the Humean claim that the shared and distinctive features of substantive moral intuitions are best explained by their being constituted by moral emotions. This is supported by an independently plausible non-Humean, quasi-perceptualist theory of emotion, according to which (...)
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  48. Antti Kauppinen (2013). Review of Robert Audi's Moral Perception. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  49. Jeanette Kennett & Cordelia Fine (2009). Will the Real Moral Judgment Please Stand Up? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (1):77–96.
    The recent, influential Social Intuitionist Model of moral judgment (Haidt, Psychological Review 108, 814–834, 2001) proposes a primary role for fast, automatic and affectively charged moral intuitions in the formation of moral judgments. Haidt’s research challenges our normative conception of ourselves as agents capable of grasping and responding to reasons. We argue that there can be no ‘real’ moral judgments in the absence of a capacity for reflective shaping and endorsement of moral judgments. However, we suggest that the empirical literature (...)
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  50. Neil Levy (2006). The Wisdom of the Pack. Philosophical Explorations 9 (1):99 – 103.
    This short article is a reply to Fine's criticisms of Haidt's social intuitionist model of moral judgement. After situating Haidt in the landscape of meta-ethical views, I examine Fine's argument, against Haidt, that the processes which give rise to moral judgements are amenable to rational control: first-order moral judgements, which are automatic, can nevertheless deliberately be brought to reflect higher-order judgements. However, Haidt's claims about the arationality of moral judgements seem to apply equally well to these higher-order judgements; showing that (...)
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