Empirical Evidence for Rationalism?

In Darrell Rowbottom & Anthony Booth (eds.), Intuitions. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
Abstract
Moderate rationalism is the view a person's having a rational intuition that p prima facie justifies them in believing that p. It has recently been argued that moderate rationalism requires empirical support and, furthermore, that suitable empirical support would suffice to convince empiricists to abandon their opposition to rationalism. According to one argument, the causal requirement argument, empirical evidence is necessary in order to justify the claim that any actual token belief is based on rational intuition and moderate rationalism requires such a claim for its justification. According to a second argument, the reliability argument, empirical evidence is necessary in order to justify the claim that a putative source of evidence is reliable and moderate rationalism requires such a claim for its justification. According to a third argument, the empirical case argument, certain sorts of empirical evidence would be dialectically sufficient to resolve the traditional dispute between empiricists and rationalists in the rationalists' favor. Against the causal requirement argument, I maintain that the core doctrines of moderate rationalism are not hostage to causal claims and that such causal claims as may be plausibly part of other recognizably rationalist doctrines can be justified on broadly non-empirical grounds. Against the reliability argument, I show that no empirical evidence is required to justify belief in the reliability of rational intuition. Against the empirical case argument, I argue that the envisioned empirical support for moderate rationalism should not convince any traditional empiricist.
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