Reforming intuition pumps: when are the old ways the best?

Philosophical Studies 165 (2):315-334 (2013)
One mainstream approach to philosophy involves trying to learn about philosophically interesting, non-mental phenomena—ethical properties, for example, or causation—by gathering data from human beings. I call this approach “wide tent traditionalism.” It is associated with the use of philosophers’ intuitions as data, the making of deductive arguments from this data, and the gathering of intuitions by eliciting reactions to often quite bizarre thought experiments. These methods have been criticized—I consider experimental philosophy’s call for a move away from the use of philosophers’ intuitions as evidence, and recent suggestions about the use of inductive arguments in philosophy—and these criticisms point out important areas for improvement. However, embracing these reforms in turn gives wide-tent traditionalists strong reasons to maintain other traditional approaches to philosophy. Specifically, traditionalists’ commitment to using intuitions and to gathering them with bizarre thought experiments is well founded, both philosophically and empirically. I end by considering some problems with gathering trustworthy intuitions, and give suggestions about how best to solve them
Keywords Intuitions  Methodology  Experimental philosophy  Thought experiments
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References found in this work BETA
John Bengson (2013). Experimental Attacks on Intuitions and Answers. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):495-532.
Alvin I. Goldman (forthcoming). Philosophical Naturalism and Intuitional Methodology. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association.

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