The literature on mathematics suggests that intuition plays a role in it as a ground of belief. This article explores the nature of intuition as it occurs in mathematical thinking. Section 1 suggests that intuitions should be understood by analogy with perceptions. Section 2 explains what fleshing out such an analogy requires. Section 3 discusses Kantian ways of fleshing it out. Section 4 discusses Platonist ways of fleshing it out. Section 5 sketches a proposal for resolving the main (...) problem facing Platonists—the problem of explaining how our experiences make contact with mathematical reality. (shrink)
NOTE: this is a substantial revision of a previously uploaded draft. Intuitions are often thought of as inputs to theoretical reasoning. For example, you might form a belief by taking an intuition at face value, or you might take your intuitions as starting points in the method of reflective equilibrium. The aim of this paper is to argue that in addition to these roles intuitions also play action-guiding roles. The argument proceeds by reflection on the transmission of justification through (...) inference. According to inferential internalists, in order to gain justification for believing the conclusion of an argument by inferring it from the premises in that argument one must “see” that the premises support the conclusion. I motivate this view and endorse the idea that one’s “seeing” such a support relation consists of one’s having an intuition. In a number of recent papers, Paul Boghossian has pressed a regress argument against inferential internalism inspired by Lewis Carroll’s dialogue “What the Tortoise Said to Achilles.” I develop a response to Bogossian’s argument according to which intuitions work like mental imperatives and inferences are mental actions performed by obeying them. After developing this response to Boghossian’s argument, I take up the question of what it is in virtue of which intuitions play a guidance role, when they do so. (shrink)
An argument is epistemically self-defeating when either the truth of an argument's conclusion or belief in an argument's conclusion defeats one's justification to believe at least one of that argument's premises. Some extant defenses of the evidentiary value of intuition have invoked considerations of epistemic self-defeat in their defense. I argue that there is one kind of argument against intuition, an unreliability argument, which, even if epistemically self-defeating, can still imply that we are not justified in thinking (...) class='Hi'>intuition has evidentiary value. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition are strong arguments just in case there is an agreement among the relevant philosophers concerning the intuition in question. Otherwise, appeals to intuition are weak arguments.
A discussion of George Bealer's conception and defense of rational intuition as a basis of philosophical knowledge, under three main heads: a) the phenomenology of intellectual intuition; b) the status of such intuition as a basic source of evidence, and the explanation of what gives it that status; and c) the defense of intuition against those who would reject it and exclude it on principle from the set of valid sources of evidence.
Philosophers have traditionally held that claims about necessities and possibilities are to be evaluated by consulting our philosophical intuitions; that is, those peculiarly compelling deliverances about possibilities that arise from a serious and reflective attempt to conceive of counterexamples to these claims. But many contemporary philosophers, particularly naturalists, argue that intuitions of this sort are unreliable, citing examples of once-intuitive, but now abandoned, philosophical theses, as well as recent psychological studies that seem to establish the general fallibility of intuition.In (...) the first two sections of this paper, I evaluate these arguments, and also the counter-arguments of contemporary defenders of tradition. In the next two sections, I sketch an alternative account of the role of philosophical intuitions that incorporates elements of traditionalism and naturalism - and defend it against other such views. In the final section, however, I discuss intuitions about conscious experience, and acknowledge that my view may not extend comfortably to this case. This may seem unfortunate, since so much contemporary discussion of the epistemology of modality seems motivated by worries about the mind-body problem, and informed by the position one wishes to endorse. But, as I argue, if conscious experience is indeed an exception to the view I suggest in this paper, it is an exception that proves - and can illuminate - the rule. (shrink)
Jonathan Weinberg (2007) has argued that we should not appeal to intuition as evidence because it cannot be externally corroborated. This paper argues for the normative claim that Weinberg’s demand for external corroboration is misguided. The idea is that Weinberg goes wrong in treating philosophical appeal to intuition analogous to the appeal to evidence in the sciences. Traditional practice is defended against Weinberg’s critique with the argument that some intuitions are true simply in virtue of being intuited by (...) the majority of people. The argument proceeds by way of examining a paradigm case, Putnam’s Twin Earth. (shrink)
According to the most popular non-skeptical views about intuition, intuitions justify beliefs because they are based on understanding. More precisely: if intuiting that p justifies you in believing that p it does so because your intuition is based on your understanding of the proposition that p. The aim of this paper is to raise some challenges for accounts of intuitive justification along these lines. I pursue this project from a non-skeptical perspective. I argue that there are cases in (...) which intuiting that p justifies you in believing that p, but such that there is no compelling reason to think this is because your intuition is based on your understanding of the proposition that p. (shrink)
Many philosophers accept a view according to which intuitions are crucial evidence in philosophy. Recently, Williamson (2004, 2007: ch. 1) has argued that such views are best abandoned because they lead to a psychologistic conception of philosophical evidence that encourages scepticism about the armchair judgements relied upon in philosophy. In this paper I respond to this criticism by showing how the intuition picture can be formulated in such a way that: (i) it is consistent with a wide range of (...) views about not only philosophical evidence but also the nature of evidence in general, including Williamson's famous view that E = K; (ii) it can maintain the central claims about the nature and role of intuitions in philosophy made by proponents of the intuition picture; (iii) it does not collapse into Williamson's own deflationary view of the nature and role of intuitions in philosophy; and (iv) it does not lead to scepticism. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition are weak arguments because intellectual intuition is an unreliable belief-forming process, since it yields incompatible verdicts in response to the same cases, and since the inference from 'It seems to S that p' to 'p' is unreliable. Since the reliability of intellectual intuition is a necessary condition for strong appeals to intuition, it follows that appeals to intuition are weak arguments.
In this paper it is argued that the opposition between the two main methods of mathematics, the axiomatic and the analytic method, is first of all an opposition between intuition and <span class='Hi'>discourse</span>, and, in addition, an opposition between the socalled demonstrative and non-demonstrative reasoning. These two methods, however, are not on a par because the view that the method of mathematics is the axiomatic method is refuted by Goedel's incompleteness results, which on the contrary do not affect the (...) view that the method of mathematics is the analytic method. (shrink)
A simple reductive view of intuition holds that intuition is a type of belief. That an agent who intuits that p sometimes believes that p is false is often thought to demonstrate that the simple reductive view is false. I show that this argument is inconclusive, but also that an argument for the same conclusion can be rebuilt using the notion of rational criticisability. I then use that notion to argue that perception is also not reducible to belief, (...) and that neither intuition nor perception is reducible to credence. (shrink)
Kirsten Besheer has recently considered Descartes’ doubting appropriately in the context of his physiological theories in the spirit of recent important re-appraisals of his natural philosophy. However, Besheer does not address the notorious indubitability and its source that Descartes claims to have discovered. David Cunning has remarked that Descartes’ insistence on the indubitability of his existence presents “an intractable problem of interpretation” in the light of passages that suggest his existence is “just as dubitable as anything else”. However, although the (...) cogito argument is widely thought to be central to the force of Descartes’ indubitability, for his part, Cunning does not consider its relevance and force. Accordingly, this article is concerned with the cogito argument and the question central to Hintikka’s seminal contribution, described by Cottingham as “Perhaps the most debated question,” namely, whether or not the cogito can be construed as a logical inference. Clearly, an inferential account has the potential to explain the certainty of Descartes’ conclusion that he exists. Recently, Sarkar offers what he characterizes as “novel and fairly conclusive reasons why the cogito cannot be construed as an argument,” asserting “the discovery of the cogito can only be an intuition not a deduction.” Obviously, it would greatly support the opposing inferential construal if a remotely plausible logical argument could be proposed. Toward this end, I defend the virtues of my ‘Diagonal’ account of Descartes’ cogito Above all, I show how my analysis meets the requirement that any satisfactory solution to the problem of the cogito would reconcile Descartes’ claim that the cogito is a certain inference with his claim that it is an intuitive kind of knowledge. Through a critical discussion of analyses such as that of Gallois , I show that it is possible to provide a textually faithful analysis that permits seeing the cogito as both inference and intuition because it may be seen as an exercise in the mathematical method of Analysis. Above all, as Feldman requires, I show that the Diagonal account is not only textually elegant, but permits crediting Descartes with a worthy insight, thereby resolving the tension between what Howell has termed the Humean and Cartesian problems, namely, the elusiveness and the certainty of the self. (shrink)
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.
Some recent researches in experimental philosophy have posed a problem for philosophers’ appeal to intuition (hereinafter referred to as PAI); the aim of this paper is to offer an answer to this challenge. The thesis against PAI implies that, given some experimental results, intuition does not seem to be a reliable epistemic source, and —more importantly— given the actual state of knowledge about its operation, we do not have sufficient resources to mitigate its errors and thus establish its (...) reliability. That is why PAI is hopeless. Throughout this paper I will defend my own conception of PAI, which I have called the Deliberative Conception, and consequently, I will defend intersubjective agreement as a means to mitigate PAI errors, offering empirical evidence from recent studies on the Argumentative Theory of Reason that favor the conception I defend here. Finally, I will reply to some objections that might arise against the Deliberative Conception, which will lead me to discuss some metaphilosophical issues that are significantly relevant for the future of the dispute about the appeal to intuition. (shrink)
The present paper offers an analogical support for the use of rational intuition, namely, if we regard sense perception as a mental faculty that (in general) delivers justified beliefs, then we should treat intuition in the same manner. I will argue that both the cognitive marks of intuition and the role it traditionally plays in epistemology are strongly analogous to that of perception, and barring specific arguments to the contrary, we should treat rational intuition as a (...) source of prima facie justified beliefs. There are two main arguments against the intuition-perception analogy that I will consider and find lacking. First is that while we do use perceptions as evidence to believe certain propositions, in fact no one ever does use intuition evidentially. The second argument, stemming from experimental philosophy, grants that philosophers do use intuitions evidentially, but this practice is fatally unlike that of perception, in that perception yields warranted beliefs and intuition does not. (shrink)
Multiple realizability has recently attractedrenewed attention, for example Bickle, 1998;Bechtel and Mundale, 1999; Bechtel and McCauley,1999; Heil, 1999; and Sober, 1999. Many of thesewriters revisit the topic of multiplerealizability in order to show that someversion of a mind-brain identity theory isviable. Although there is much of value inthese recent explorations, they do not addressthe underlying intuitions that have vexedphilosophers of mind since Hilary Putnamintroduced the concern (1967). I argue that thestandard way of construing multiplerealizability is a much stronger claim thanthat (...) of Putnam's intuition alone. I distinguishfour interpretations of the multiplerealizability intuition. Some commonformulations of multiple realizability arealmost certainly true, while others are not atall plausible. I argue that the plausible formsof multiple realizability do not impugn theprospects for a mind-brain Identity Theory. (shrink)
In “Weighing Lives” (2004) John Broome criticizes a view common to many population axiologists. On that view, population increases with extra people leading decent lives are axiologically neutral: they make the world neither better nor worse, ceteris paribus. Broome argues that this intuition, however, attractive, cannot be sustained, for several independent reasons. I respond to his criticisms and suggest that the neutrality intuition, if correctly interpreted, can after all be defended.On the version I defend,the world with added extra (...) people at wellbeing levels within the neutrality range is incommensurable in value with the world in which these peaople are absent. (shrink)
It is alleged that the causal inertness of abstract objects and the causal conditions of certain naturalized epistemologies precludes the possibility of mathematical know- ledge. This paper rejects this alleged incompatibility, while also maintaining that the objects of mathematical beliefs are abstract objects, by incorporating a naturalistically acceptable account of ‘rational intuition.’ On this view, rational intuition consists in a non-inferential belief-forming process where the entertaining of propositions or certain contemplations results in true beliefs. This view is free (...) of any conditions incompatible with abstract objects, for the reason that it is not necessary that S stand in some causal relation to the entities in virtue of which p is true. Mathematical intuition is simply one kind of reliable process type, whose inputs are not abstract numbers, but rather, contemplations of abstract numbers. (shrink)
Linguists, particularly in the generative tradition, commonly rely upon intuitions about sentences as a key source of evidence for their theories. While widespread, this methodology has also been controversial. In this paper, I develop a positive account of linguistic intuition, and defend its role in linguistic inquiry. Intuitions qualify as evidence as form of linguistic behavior, which, since it is partially caused by linguistic competence (the object of investigation), can be used to study this competence. I defend this view (...) by meeting two challenges. First, that intuitions are collected through methodologically unsound practices, and second, that intuition cannot distinguish between the contributions of competence and performance systems. (shrink)
Husserlian variation, Bergsonian intuition and Peircean abduction are contrasted as methodological responses to the traditional philosophical problem of deriving knowledge of universals from singulars. Each method implies a correspondingly different view of the generation of the variations from which knowledge is derived. To make sense of the latter differences, and to distinguish the different sorts of variation sought by philosophers and scientists, a distinction between extensive, intensive, and abductive-intensive variation is introduced. The link between philosophical method and the generation (...) of variation is used to illuminate different philosophical conceptions of nature and nature's relation to meaning and sense. (shrink)
Intuition in medical and moral reasoning -- Moral intuitionism -- The place of Aristotelian phronesis in clinical reasoning -- Aristotle's practical syllogism: accounting for the individual through a theory of action and cognition -- Individual and statistical physiognomy: the art and science of making the invisible visible -- Clinical intuition versus statistical reasoning -- Contingency and correlation: the significance of modeling clinical reasoning on statistics -- Abduction: the intuitive support of clinical induction -- Conclusion: medical ethics beyond ontology.
In this essay I will examine the role that intuition plays in Russell's parado; showing how different appraaches to intuition will license different treatments of the paradox. In addition, I will argue for a specific approach to the paradox, one that follows from the most plausible account of intuition. On this account, intuitions, though fallible, have episternic import. In addition, the intuitions involved in paradoxes point to something wrong with concept that leads to paradox. In the case (...) of Russell's paradox, this is an ambiguity in the notion of a class. (shrink)
It seems to many that moral opinions must make a difference to what we’re motivated to do, at least in suitable conditions. For others, it seems that it is possible to have genuine moral opinions that make no motivational difference. Both sides – internalists and externalists about moral motivation – can tell persuasive stories of actual and hypothetical cases. My proposal for a kind of reconciliation is to distinguish between two kinds of psychological states with moral content. There are both (...) moral thoughts or opinions that intrinsically motivate, and moral thoughts or opinions that don’t. The thoughts that intrinsically motivate are moral intuitions – spontaneous and compelling non-doxastic appearances of right or wrong that both attract assent and incline us to act or react. I argue that there is good reason to think that these intuitions, but not moral judgments, are constituted by manifestations of moral sentiments. The moral thoughts that do not intrinsically motivate are moral beliefs, which are in themselves as inert as any ordinary beliefs. Thus, roughly, internalism is true about intuitions and externalism is true about beliefs or judgments. (shrink)
The paper defends causal explanationism concerning our modal intuitions and judgments, and, in particular, the following claims. If a causally explainable mirroring or "pre-established harmony" between our mind and modal reality obtains, we are justified in believing it does. We do not hold our modal beliefs compulsively and blindly but with full subjective and objective justification. Therefore, causal explanation of our modal beliefs does not undermine rational trust in them. Explanation and trust support each other. In contrast, antiexplanationists (from Kant, (...) through neo-Wittgensteinians to T. Nagel and J. Pust), claim that causal explanation of intuitions and judgments undermines rational trust in them. (shrink)
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Here is one good way of looking at the problem of consciousness: (Saul Steinbergâ€™s New Yorker cover). If this is the metaphorical truth about consciousness, what is the literal truth? What is going on in the world, (largely in this chapâ€™s brain, presumably) that makes it the case that this gorgeous metaphor is so apt?
This chapter examines several ways in which philosophical attention to intuition can contribute to empirical scientific psychology. The authors then discuss one prevalent misuse of intuition. An unspoken assumption of much argumentation in the philosophy of mind has been that to articulate our folk psychological intuitions, our ordinary concepts of belief, truth, meaning, and so forth, is itself sufficient to give a theoretical account of what belief, truth, meaning, and so forth, actually are. It is believed that this (...) assumption rests on an inadequate understanding of the nature of intuition and its appropriate applications, and that it results in errors. Three notable examples of this sort of misuse of intuition in philosophy are briefly discussed. Finally, the authors provide developmental evidence for the mutability and fallibility of everyday intuitions about the mind, evidence that undermines arguments, that depend on taking such intuitions as a final authority for substantive claims about what the mind is like. (shrink)
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 not take to be self-evident, and basic moral principles, which they typically do take to be self-evident in a sense explicated in the paper. This explanation is accomplished in part by drawing some analogies between moral and perceptual judgments in the light of a developmental conception of knowledge. The final section of the paper presents a partial account of rational disagreement and indicates how the kind of intuitionist view defended can allow for rational disagreement between apparent epistemic peers. (shrink)
What are intuitions? According to doxastic views, they are doxastic attitudes or dispositions, such as judgments or inclinations to make judgments. According to perceptualist views, they are—like perceptual experiences—pre-doxastic experiences that—unlike perceptual experiences—represent abstract matters as being a certain way. In this paper I argue against doxasticism and in favor of perceptualism. I describe two features that militate against doxasticist views of perception itself: perception is belief-independent and perception is presentational. Then I argue that intuitions also have both features. The (...) upshot is that intuitions are importantly similar to perceptual experiences, and so should not be identified with doxastic attitudes or dispositions. I consider a popular argument from the introspective absence of sui generis intuition experiences in favor of doxasticism. I develop a conception of intuition experiences that helps to defuse this argument. (shrink)
In this paper I assume that we have some intuitive knowledge—i.e. beliefs that amount to knowledge because they are based on intuitions. The question I take up is this: given that some intuition makes a belief based on it amount to knowledge, in virtue of what does it do so? We can ask a similar question about perception. That is: given that some perception makes a belief based on it amount to knowledge, in virtue of what does it do (...) so? A natural idea about perception is that a perception makes a belief amount to knowledge in part by making you sensorily aware of the concrete objects it is about. The analogous idea about intuition is that an intuition makes a belief amount to knowledge in part by making you intellectually aware of the abstract objects it is about. I expand both ideas into fuller accounts of perceptual and intuitive knowledge, explain the main challenge to this sort of account of intuitive knowledge (i.e. the challenge of making sense of intellectual awareness), and develop a response to it. (shrink)
In recent years, there has been much concern expressed about the under-representation of women in academic philosophy. Our goal in this paper is to call attention to a cluster of phenomena that may be contributing to this gender gap. The findings we review indicate that when women and men with little or no philosophical training are presented with standard philosophical thought experiments, in many cases their intuitions about these cases are significantly different. In section 1 we review some of the (...) data on the under-representation of women in academic philosophy. In section 2 we explain how we use the term 'intuition,' and offer a brief account of how intuitions are invoked in philosophical argument and philosophical theory building. In the third section we set out the evidence for gender differences in philosophical intuition and mention some evidence about gender differences in decisions and behaviors that are (or should be) of considerable interest to philosophers. In the fourth section, our focus changes from facts to hypotheses. In that section we explain how differences in philosophical intuition might be an important part of the explanation for the gender gap in philosophy. The fifth section is a brief conclusion. (shrink)
I begin with an explication of "thought experiment". I then clarify the role that intuitions play in thought experiments by addressing two important issues: (1) the informativeness of thought experiments and (2) the legitimacy of the method of thought experiments in philosophy and the natural sciences. I defend a naturalistic account of intuitions that provides a plausible explanation of the informativeness of thought experiments, which, in turn, allows thought experiments to be reconstructed as arguments. I also specify criteria for distinguishing (...) bad "intuition pumps" from legitimate thought experiments. These criteria help us to avoid being seduced by the dangerous suggestive power of misleading intuitions. (shrink)
A number of philosophers have recently suggested that the role of intuitions in the epistemology of armchair philosophy has been exaggerated. This suggestion is rehearsed and endorsed. What bearing does the rejection of the centrality of intuition in armchair philosophy have on experimentalist critiques of the latter? I distinguish two very different kinds of experimentalist critique: one critique requires the centrality of intuition; the other does not.
It is argued that geometrical intuition, as conceived in Kant, is still crucial to the epistemological foundations of mathematics. For this purpose, I have chosen to target one of the most sympathetic interpreters of Kant's philosophy of mathematics – Michael Friedman – because he has formulated the possible historical limitations of Kant's views most sharply. I claim that there are important insights in Kant's theory that have survived the developments of modern mathematics, and thus, that they are not so (...) intrinsically bound up with the logic and mathematics of Kant's time as Friedman will have it. These insights include the idea that mathematical knowledge relies on the manipulation of objects given in quasi-perceptual intuition, as Charles Parsons has argued, and that pure intuition is a source of knowledge of space itself that cannot be replaced by mere propositional knowledge. In particular, it is pointed out that it is the isomorphism between Kantian intuition and a spatial manifold that underlies both the epistemic intimacy of the most fundamental type of geometrical intuition as well as that of perceptual acquaintance. (shrink)
Traditional philosophy relies heavily on the use of rational intuition to establish theses and conclusions. This essay takes up the matter of intuition and argues for a stunning conclusion: appeal to rational intuition is epistemically justified only if a form of foundationalism is true. This type of foundationalism is the thesis that there is at least one proposition whose justification depends on nothing other than itself. The article also argues that unless we can establish that some intuitions (...) are justified, philosophy as an enterprise that provides non-empirical knowledge is impossible. Not to put too fine a point on it then: philosophy is possible only if foundationalism is true. Whether this should be construed as the strongest possible defense of foundationalism, or the greatest objection to the pretensions of philosophy is left to the reader. (shrink)
Intuition serves a variety of roles in contemporary philosophy. This paper provides a historical discussion of the revival of intuition in the 1970s, untangling some of the ways that intuition has been used and offering some suggestions concerning its proper place in philosophical investigation. Contrary to some interpretations of the results of experimental philosophy, it is argued that generalized skepticism with respect to intuition is unwarranted. Intuition can continue to play an important role as part (...) of a methodologically conservative stance towards philosophical investigation. I argue that methodological conservatism should be sharply distinguished from the process of evaluating individual propositions. Nevertheless, intuition is not always a reliable guide to truth and experimental philosophy can serve a vital ameliorative role in determining the scope and limits of our intuitive competence with respect to various areas of inquiry. (shrink)
The claim that contemporary analytic philosophers rely extensively on intuitions as evidence is almost universally accepted in current meta-philosophical debates and it figures prominently in our self-understanding as analytic philosophers. No matter what area you happen to work in and what views you happen to hold in those areas, you are likely to think that philosophizing requires constructing cases and making intuitive judgments about those cases. This assumption also underlines the entire experimental philosophy movement: only if philosophers rely on intuitions (...) as evidence are data about non-philosophers' intuitions of any interest to us. Our alleged reliance on the intuitive makes many philosophers who don't work on meta-philosophy concerned about their own discipline: they are unsure what intuitions are and whether they can carry the evidential weight we allegedly assign to them. The goal of this book is to argue that this concern is unwarranted since the claim is false: it is not true that philosophers rely extensively (or even a little bit) on intuitions as evidence. At worst, analytic philosophers are guilty of engaging in somewhat irresponsible use of 'intuition'-vocabulary. While this irresponsibility has had little effect on first order philosophy, it has fundamentally misled meta-philosophers: it has encouraged meta-philosophical pseudo-problems and misleading pictures of what philosophy is. (shrink)
This paper addresses the definition and the operational use of intuitions in philosophical methods in the form of a research study encompassing several regions of the globe, involving 282 philosophers from a wide array of academic backgrounds and areas of specialisation. The authors tested whether philosophers agree on the conceptual definition and the operational use of intuitions, and investigated whether specific demographic variables and philosophical specialisation influence how philosophers define and use intuitions. The results obtained point to a number of (...) significant findings, including that philosophers distinguish between intuitions used to formulate (discovery) and to test (justification) philosophical theory. The survey results suggest that strategies implemented to characterise philosophical intuition are not well motivated since, even though philosophers do not agree on a single account of intuition, they fail to capture a preferred usage of intuitions as aspects of discovery. The quantitative summary of survey findings informs the debate on this topic, and advances more defined routes for subsequent approaches to the study of intuitions. (shrink)
We use the phrase "moral intuition" to describe the appearance in consciousness of moral judgments or assessments without any awareness of having gone through a conscious reasoning process that produces this assessment. This paper investigates the neural substrates of moral intuition. We propose that moral intuitions are part of a larger set of social intuitions that guide us through complex, highly uncertain and rapidly changing social interactions. Such intuitions are shaped by learning. The neural substrates for moral (...) class='Hi'>intuition include fronto-insular, cingulate, and orbito-frontal cortices and associated subcortical structure such as the septum, basil ganglia and amygdala. Understanding the role of these structures undercuts many philosophical doctrines concerning the status of moral intuitions, but vindicates the claim that they can sometimes play a legitimate role in moral decision-making. (shrink)
In this article, I will discuss the relationship between mathematical intuition and mathematical visualization. I will argue that in order to investigate this relationship, it is necessary to consider mathematical activity as a complex phenomenon, which involves many different cognitive resources. I will focus on two kinds of danger in recurring to visualization and I will show that they are not a good reason to conclude that visualization is not reliable, if we consider its use in mathematical practice. Then, (...) I will give an example of mathematical reasoning with a figure, and show that both visualization and intuition are involved. I claim that mathematical intuition depends on background knowledge and expertise, and that it allows to see the generality of the conclusions obtained by means of visualization. (shrink)
Geometrical and physical intuition, both untutored andcultivated, is ubiquitous in the research, teaching,and development of mathematics. A number ofmathematical ``monsters'', or pathological objects, havebeen produced which – according to somemathematicians – seriously challenge the reliability ofintuition. We examine several famous geometrical,topological and set-theoretical examples of suchmonsters in order to see to what extent, if at all,intuition is undermined in its everyday roles.
In this paper, I investigate an important aspect of Kant's theory of pure sensible intuition. I argue that, according to Kant, a pure concept of space warrants and constrains intuitions of finite regions of space. That is, an a priori conceptual representation of space provides a governing principle for all spatial construction, which is necessary for mathematical demonstration as Kant understood it.
I use recent work on Kant and diagrammatic reasoning to develop a reconsideration of central aspects of Kant’s philosophy of geometry and its relation to spatial intuition. In particular, I reconsider in this light the relations between geometrical concepts and their schemata, and the relationship between pure and empirical intuition. I argue that diagrammatic interpretations of Kant’s theory of geometrical intuition can, at best, capture only part of what Kant’s conception involves and that, for example, they cannot (...) explain why Kant takes geometrical constructions in the style of Euclid to provide us with an a priori framework for physical space. I attempt, along the way, to shed new light on the relationship between Kant’s theory of space and the debate between Newton and Leibniz to which he was reacting, and also on the role of geometry and spatial intuition in the transcendental deduction of the categories. (shrink)
Rational intuitions involve a particular form of understanding that gives them a special epistemic status. This form of understanding and its epistemic efficacy are not explained by several current theories of rational intuition, including Phenomenal Conservatism (Huemer, Skepticism and the veil of perception, 2001 ; Ethical intuitionism, 2005 ; Philos Phenomenol Res 74:30–55, 2007 ), Proper Functionalism (Plantinga, Warrant and proper function, 1993 ), the Competency Theory (Bealer Pac Philos Q 81:1–30, 2000 ; Sosa, A virtue epistemology, 2007 ) (...) and the Direct Awareness View (Conee, Philos Phenomenol Res 4:847–857, 1998 ; Bonjour, In defense of pure reason, 1998 ). Some overlook it; others try to account for it but fail. We can account for the role of understanding in rational intuition by returning to the view of some of the early Rationalists, e.g. Descartes and Leibniz. While that view carries a prohibitive cost, it does contain an insight that may help us solve the problem of giving understanding its due. (shrink)
This thesis seeks to advance our understanding of what intuitions are. I argue that there is a class of mental states deserving of the label ‘intuition’, and which is a good candidate for a psychological kind, a kind which cuts the mind at its natural joints. These mental states are experiences of a certain kind. In particular, they are experiences with representational content, and with a certain phenomenal character.
The idea that intuition plays a basic role in moral knowledge and moral philosophy probably began in the eighteenth century. British philosophers such as Anthony Shaftsbury, Francis Hutcheson, Thomas Reid, and later David Hume talk about a “moral sense” that they place in John Locke’s theory of knowledge in terms of Lockean reflexive perceptions, while Richard Price seeks a faculty by which we obtain our ideas of right and wrong. (...) In the twentieth century intuitionism in moral philosophy was revived by the works of G. E. Moore, H. A. Prichard, and W. D. Ross. These philosophers reject Kantian deontological ethics and utilitarianism insisting that intuition is the only source of moral knowledge. Recently, there is a renewed interest in intuition by philosophers doing meta-philosophy by reflecting on what philosophers do, and why they disagree. In this essay we plan to take some of this recent literature on intuition and apply it to moral philosophy. We will proceed by (1) defining a conception of intuition, (2) answering some skeptical challenges, (3) delimiting its target, and (4) arguing that intuition is often a source of moral knowledge. (shrink)
The foundation of Mathematics is both a logico-formal issue and an epistemological one. By the first, we mean the explicitation and analysis of formal proof principles, which, largely a posteriori, ground proof on general deduction rules and schemata. By the second, we mean the investigation of the constitutive genesis of concepts and structures, the aim of this paper. This “genealogy of concepts”, so dear to Riemann, Poincaré and Enriques among others, is necessary both in order to enrich the foundational analysis (...) with an often disregarded aspect (the cognitive and historical constitution of mathematical structures) and because of the provable incompleteness of proof principles also in the analysis of deduction. For the purposes of our investigation, we will hint here to a philosophical frame as well as to some recent experimental studies on numerical cognition that support our claim on the cognitive origin and the constitutive role of mathematical intuition. (shrink)
Despite its phenomenal success since its inception in the early nineteen-nineties, the evidence-based medicine movement has not succeeded in shaking off an epistemological critique derived from the experiential or tacit dimensions of clinical reasoning about particular individuals. This critique claims that the evidence-based medicine model does not take account of tacit knowing as developed by the philosopher Michael Polanyi. However, the epistemology of evidence-based medicine is premised on the elimination of the tacit dimension from clinical judgment. This is demonstrated through (...) analyzing the dichotomy between clinical and statistical intuition in evidence-based medicine’s epistemology of clinical reasoning. I argue that clinical epidemiology presents a more nuanced epistemological model for the application of statistical epidemiology to the clinical context. Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowing is compatible with the model of clinical reasoning associated with clinical epidemiology, but not evidence-based medicine. (shrink)
Recently, proponents of Humean Supervenience have challenged the plausibility of the intuition that the laws of nature 'govern', or guide, the evolution of events in the universe. Certain influential thought experiments authored by John Carroll, Michael Tooley, and others, rely strongly on such intuitions. These thought experiments are generally regarded as playing a central role in the lawhood debate, suggesting that the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis view of the laws of nature, and the related doctrine of the Humean Supervenience of laws, are (...) false. In this paper, I take on these recent challenges, arguing that the intuition that the laws govern should be taken seriously. Still, I find the recent discussions insightful, in certain ways. Employing some ideas from one of the critics (Barry Loewer), I draw some non-standard conclusions about the significance of the thought experiments to the lawhood debate. (shrink)
Charles Parsons’ book “Mathematical Thought and Its Objects” of 2008 (Cambridge University Press, New York) is critically discussed by concentrating on one of Parsons’ main themes: the role of intuition in our understanding of arithmetic (“intuition” in the specific sense of Kant and Hilbert). Parsons argues for a version of structuralism which is restricted by the condition that some paradigmatic structure should be presented that makes clear the actual existence of structures of the necessary sort. Parsons’ paradigmatic structure (...) is the so-called ‘intuitive model’ of arithmetic realized by Hilbert’s strings of strokes. This paper argues that Hilbert’s strings, considered as given in intuition, cannot play the role Parsons assigns to them: the criteria of identity of these strings do not have the sharpness that Parsons wants to see in them, and Parsons inadvertently projects abstract structures into his ‘intuitive model’. This diagnosis is exemplified with respect to (a) Parsons’ distinction between addition and multiplication on the one hand and exponentiation on the other and (b) his analysis of arithmetical knowledge in simple cases like “7 + 5 = 12”. All in all, it is claimed that Parsons book contains many important insights with respect to, for example, different versions structuralism, the notion of “natural number” and its uniqueness, induction, predicativity and other things, for which he is rightly famous, but that his way of drawing on the notion of intuition leaves too many questions unanswered. (shrink)
Peter Singer has argued for a radical anti-intuitionism on the basis of recent empirical research into the psychological and evolutionary origins of moral intuition. There is, however, a gap between the putative genealogy of moral intuition that Singer offers and his desired methodological claim. I explore three ways to bridge the gap, and argue that the promising way is to construe the genealogy as a debunking genealogy. I sketch an account of how debunking arguments work, and then show (...) that this causes problems for Singer, since utilitarianism itself is liable to be debunked. Finally, I suggest how we can take lessons for ethics from the empirical work, but that the result is a far more restricted kind of anti-intuitionism than Singer was hoping for. (shrink)
Mathematical apriorists sometimes hold that our non-derived mathematical beliefs are warranted by mathematical intuition. Against this, Philip Kitcher has argued that if we had the experience of encountering mathematical experts who insisted that an intuition-produced belief was mistaken, this would undermine that belief. Since this would be a case of experience undermining the warrant provided by intuition, such warrant cannot be a priori. I argue that this leaves untouched a conception of intuition as merely an aspect (...) of our ordinary ability to reason. Thus the apriorist may still hold that some mathematical beliefs are warranted by intuition. I would like to thank an anonymous referee for Philosophia Mathematica and an audience at the Spring 2006 Long Island Philosophy Society/New Jersey Regional Philosophical Association conference for helpful comments. (shrink)
Hermann Weyl, one of the twentieth century's greatest mathematicians, was unusual in possessing acute literary and philosophical sensibilities—sensibilities to which he gave full expression in his writings. In this paper I use quotations from these writings to provide a sketch of Weyl's philosophical orientation, following which I attempt to elucidate his views on the mathematical continuum, bringing out the central role he assigned to intuition.
Gödel has argued that we can cultivate the intuition or perception of abstractconcepts in mathematics and logic. Gödel's ideas about the intuition of conceptsare not incidental to his later philosophical thinking but are related to many otherthemes in his work, and especially to his reflections on the incompleteness theorems.I describe how some of Gödel's claims about the intuition of abstract concepts are related to other themes in his philosophy of mathematics. In most of this paper, however,I focus (...) on a central question that has been raised in the literature on Gödel: what kind of account could be given of the intuition of abstract concepts? I sketch an answer to this question that uses some ideas of a philosopher to whom Gödel also turned in this connection: Edmund Husserl. The answer depends on how we understand the conscious directedness toward objects and the meaning of the term abstract in the context of a theory of the intentionality of cognition. (shrink)
This essay attempts to show why deliberation is not of ends for Aristotle, not only because deliberation is concerned with means, but because ends are grasped by wish. Such wishing, I argue, is a form of rational intuition that is non-discursive and analogous to seeing and therefore not at all like the discursive thought involved in deliberation. Such a reading also helps shed light on the nature of contemplation and therefore on happiness in Aristotle.
Today, experimental philosophers challenge traditional appeals to intu- ition; they empirically collect folk intuitions and then use their findings to attack philosophers’ intuitions. However this movement is not uniform. Radical experi- mentalists criticize the use of intuitions in philosophy altogether and they have been mostly attacked. Contrariwise, moderate experimentalists imply that laypersons’ in- tuitions are somehow relevant to philosophical problems. Sometimes they even use folk intuitions in order to advance theoretical theses. In this paper I will try to challenge the (...) so-called moderate experimental attempts to rely on intuition in order to promote philosophical theses. (shrink)
In this thesis, I investigate the nature of geometric knowledge and its relationship to spatial intuition. My goal is to rehabilitate the Kantian view that Euclid's geometry is a mathematical practice, which is grounded in spatial intuition, yet, nevertheless, yields a type of a priori knowledge about the structure of visual space. I argue for this by showing that Euclid's geometry allows us to derive knowledge from idealized visual objects, i.e., idealized diagrams by means of non-formal logical inferences. (...) By developing such an account of Euclid's geometry, I complete the "standard view" that geometry is either a formal system (pure geometry) or an empirical science (applied geometry), which was developed mainly by the logical positivists and which is currently accepted by many mathematicians and philosophers. My thesis is divided into three parts. I use Hans Reichenbach's arguments against Kant and Edmund Husserl's genetic approach to the concept of space as a means of arguing that the "standard view" has to be supplemented by a concept of a geometry whose propositions have genuine spatial content. I then develop a coherent interpretation of Euclid's method by investigating both the subject matter of Euclid's geometry and the nature of geometric inferences. In the final part of this thesis, I modify Husserl's phenomenological analysis of the constitution of visual space in order to define a concept of spatial intuition that allows me not only to explain how Euclid's practice is grounded in visual space, but also to account for the apriority of its results. (shrink)
At least since W. V. O. Quine's famous critique of the analytic/synthetic distinction, philosophers have been deeply divided over whether there are any analytic truths. One line of thought suggests that the simple fact that people have 'intuitions of analyticity' might provide an independent argument for analyticities. If defenders of analyticity can explain these intuitions and opponents cannot, then perhaps there are analyticities after all. We argue that opponents of analyticity have some unexpected resources for explaining these intuitions and that, (...) accordingly, the argument from intuition fails. (shrink)
Abstract Both parties in the active philosophical debate concerning the conceptual character of perception trace their roots back to Kant's account of sensible intuition in the Critique of Pure Reason. This striking fact can be attributed to Kant's tendency both to assert and to deny the involvement of our conceptual capacities in sensible intuition. He appears to waver between these two positions in different passages, and can thus seem thoroughly confused on this issue. But this is not, in (...) fact, the case, for, as I will argue, the appearance of contradiction in his account stems from the failure of some commentators to pay sufficient attention to Kant's developmental approach to philosophy. Although he begins by asserting the independence of intuition, Kant proceeds from this nonconceptualist starting point to reveal a deeper connection between intuitions and concepts. On this reading, Kant's seemingly conflicting claims are actually the result of a careful and deliberate strategy for gradually convincing his readers of the conceptual nature of perception. (shrink)
This paper defends the view that philosophical propositions are merely relatively true, i.e. true relative to a doxastic perspective defined at least in part by a non-inferential belief-acquiring method. Here is the strategy: first, the primary way that contemporary philosophers defend their views is through the use of rational intuition, and this method delivers non-inferential, basic beliefs which are then systematized and brought into reflective equilibrium. Second, Christian theologians use exactly the same methodology, only replacing intuition with revelation. (...) Third, intuition and revelation yield frequently inconsistent output beliefs. Fourth, there is no defensible reason to prefer the dictates of intuition to those of Christian revelation. Fifth, the resulting dilemma means that there are true philosophical propositions, but we can't know them (scepticism), or there are no philosophical propositions and the naturalists are right (nihilism), or relativism is true. I suggest that relativism is the most palatable of these alternatives. (shrink)
Mathematics is about numbers, sets, functions, etc. and, according to one prominent view, these are abstract entities lacking causal powers and spatio-temporal location. If this is so, then it is a puzzle how we come to have knowledge of such remote entities. One suggestion is intuition. But `intuition' covers a range of notions. This paper identifies and examines those varieties of intuition which are most likely to play a role in the acquisition of our mathematical knowledge, and (...) argues that none of them, singly or in combination, can plausibly account for knowledge of abstract entities. (shrink)
Hegel seeks to overturn Kant's conclusion that our knowledge is restricted, or that we cannot have knowledge of things as they are in themselves. Understanding this Hegelian ambition requires distinguishing two Kantian characterizations of our epistemic limits: First, we can have knowledge only within the "bounds of experience". Second, we cannot have knowledge of objects that would be accessible only to a divine intellectual intuition, even though the faculty of reason requires us to conceive of such objects. Hegel aims (...) to drive a wedge between these two characterizations, showing that we can have knowledge beyond Kant's bounds of experience, yet without need of divine intuition. And attention to such knowledge is supposed to show that we have no legitimate need to even conceive of divine intuition and its objects - and no need to conclude that our own knowledge is restricted by comparison, or that we cannot know things as they are in themselves. I focus here on the initial case Hegel uses to introduce this extended argument strategy: we can have more knowledge of natural kinds and laws than would be allowed by Kant's bounds of experience. (shrink)
In this paper I challenge recent externalist interpretations of Ockham’s theory of intuitive cognition. I begin by distinguishing two distinct theses that defenders of the externalist interpretation typically attribute to Ockham: a ‘direct reference thesis’, according to which intuitive cognitions are states that lack all internal, descriptive content; and a ‘causal thesis’, according to which intuitive states are wholly determined by causal connections they bear to singular objects. I then argue that neither can be plausibly credited to Ockham. In particular, (...) I claim that the causal thesis doesn’t square with Ockham’s account of supernaturally produced intuition and that the direct reference thesis sits uneasily with Ockham’s characterization of the intentional structure of intuitive states. (shrink)
Several authors have hailed intuition as one of the defining features of expertise. In particular, while disagreeing on almost anything that touches on human cognition and artificial intelligence, Hubert Dreyfus and Herbert Simon agreed on this point. However, the highly influential theories of intuition they proposed differed in major ways, especially with respect to the role given to search and as to whether intuition is holistic or analytic. Both theories suffer from empirical weaknesses. In this paper, we (...) show how, with some additions, a recent theory of expert memory (the template theory) offers a coherent and wide-ranging explanation of intuition in expert behaviour. It is shown that the theory accounts for the key features of intuition: it explains the rapid onset of intuition and its perceptual nature, provides mechanisms for learning, incorporates processes showing how perception is linked to action and emotion, and how experts capture the entirety of a situation. In doing so, the new theory addresses the issues problematic for Dreyfus’s and Simon’s theories. Implications for research and practice are discussed. (shrink)
��Is moral judgment accomplished by intuition or conscious reasoning? An answer demands a detailed account of the moral principles in question. We investigated three principles that guide moral judgments: (a) Harm caused by action is worse than harm caused by omission, (b) harm intended as the means to a goal is worse than harm foreseen as the side effect of a goal, and (c) harm involving physical contact with the victim is worse than harm involving no physical contact. Asking (...) whether these principles are invoked to explain moral judgments, we found that subjects generally appealed to the ﬁrst and third principles in their justiﬁcations, but not to the second. This ﬁnding has significance for methods and theories of moral psychology: The moral principles used in judgment must be directly compared with those articulated in justiﬁcation, and doing so shows that some moral principles are available to conscious reasoning whereas others are not. (shrink)
Abstract: This essay addresses three specific moments in the history of the role played by intuition in Kant's system. Part one develops Kant's attitude toward intuition in order to understand how ‘sensible intuition’ becomes the first step in his development of transcendental idealism and how this in turn requires him to reject the possibility of an ‘intellectual intuition’ for human cognition. Part two considers the role of Jacobi when it came to interpreting both Kant's epistemic achievement (...) and what were taken to be the outstanding problems of freedom's relation to nature; problems interpreted to be resolvable only via an appeal to ‘intellectual intuition’. Part three begins with Kant's subsequent return to the question of freedom and nature in his Critique of Judgment. With Goethe's contemporaneous Metamorphoses of Plants as a contrast case, it becomes clear that whereas Goethe can embrace the role of an intuitive understanding in his account of nature and within the logic of polarity in particular, Kant could never allow an intuition of nature that in his system would spell the very impossibility of freedom itself. (shrink)
How do business leaders make ethical decisions? Given the significant and wide-spread impact of business people’s decisions on multiple constituents (e.g., customers, employees, shareholders, competitors, and suppliers), how they make decisions matters. Unethical decisions harm the decision makers themselves as well as others, whereas ethical decisions have the opposite effect. Based on data from a study on strategic decision making by 16 effective chief executive officers (and three not-so-effective ones as contrast), I propose a model for ethical decision making in (...) business in which reasoning (conscious processing) and intuition (subconscious processing) interact through forming, recalling, and applying moral principles necessary for long-term success in business. Following the CEOs in the study, I employ a relatively new theory, rational egoism, as the substantive content of the model and argue it to be consistent with the requirements of long-term business success. Besides explaining the processes of forming and applying principles (integration by essentials and spiraling), I briefly describe rational egoism and illustrate the model with a contemporary moral dilemma of downsizing. I conclude with implications for further research and ethical decision making in business. (shrink)
This entry addresses the nature and epistemological role of intuition by considering the following questions: (1) What are intuitions?, (2) What roles do they serve in philosophical (and other “armchair”) inquiry?, (3) Ought they serve such roles?, (4) What are the implications of the empirical investigation of intuitions for their proper roles?, and (5) What is the content of intuitions prompted by the consideration of hypothetical cases?
Contextual theories of truth are motivated primarily by the resolution they provide to paradoxical reasoning about truth. The principal argument for contextual theories of truth relies on a key intuition about the truth value of the proposition expressed by a particular utterance made during paradoxical reasoning, which Anil Gupta calls “the Chrysippus intuition.” In this paper, I argue that the principal argument for contextual theories of truth is circular, and that the Chrysippus intuition is false. I conclude (...) that the philosophical motivation for contextual theories of truth fails. (shrink)
This paper provides a précis of Ernst Cassirer’s concept of art as a symbolic form. It does so, though, in a specific respect. It points to the fact that Cassirer’s concept of “symbolic form” is two-sided. On the one hand, the concept captures general cultural phenomena that are not only meaningful but also manifest the way man makes sense of the world; thus myth, religion, and art are considered general symbolic forms. On the other hand, it captures the formal structures (...) and semiotic tools thanks to which meaning is constructed within each general symbolic form (Cassirer called these structures “modes of objectivation”); thus, in art, perspective or the golden section are well-known examples of symbolic forms, now in a narrow sense, i.e. they are means to configure parts into an organized, meaningful whole. The paper will comment on art along both these two dimensions, but its main goal is to provide with concrete examples of aesthetic symbolic forms in the narrow sense in order to show how conceptual meaning can be inscribed in the space of aesthetic intuition. (shrink)
Intuitions are funny things. Intuitions would seem to be these fluid, temporary mental states that we form minute by minute. On the face of it, they would seem to have no real value. But, when we ask whether a particular theory is true, we usually turn to our intuitions. This is nowhere more prevalent than in moral theorizing. When we attempt to show that a particular moral theory is mistaken, we usually present cases that yield counterintuitive results for the theory. (...) For example, take the famous Trolley Car example. Suppose a trolley car is traveling down a steep street and is heading straight for a child. Suppose further that you have the means to push a button that will divert the trolley car to a different track thereby missing the child. But, if you push the button to save the one child, you will kill five other children standing on the other track to which the trolley car will be diverted. So the choice is do not push the button and let one child die, or push the button, saving, the one child, but killing five other children. What do you do? Such cases are common in moral theorizing and our intuitions concerning what we would do in such cases are usually taken as evidence for or against a moral theory. In the trolley car case, a utilitarian would say, ceteris paribus, you should not push the button diverting the trolley car. Since an action is morally right if and only if it produces more net good (say, pleasure), diverting the trolley car would result in more pain in the world and hence be the wrong action. But how do our intuitions evidentially fit into the case? Since our goal is to have a moral theory that coincides with our intuitions about cases, if our intuitions fit with the theory, then we have prima facie evidence for the theory. If our intuitions do not fit, then we have prima facie evidence against the theory. Concerning the trolley car case, if our intuitions are that we should not push the button, thus letting the single child die, then our intuitions count as evidence for the correctness of utilitarian moral theory. If we do not share the intuitions of the utilitarians, then it is said to count as evidence against the correctness of utilitarian moral theory. Thus, it is our intuitions that carry the evidential burden. Since most agents take their intuitions to have significant evidential weight, cases (such as the Trolley Car case) usually indicate something problematic with the theory in question. Yet, there has been considerable interest lately in the status of such a practice. This interest has in part surrounded the issue of whether the cases themselves pose a problem for moral theorizing. Such cases are sometimes called intuition pumps. These thought experiment-style cases are usually taken to elicit intuitions that count for or against a moral theory. But many have claimed that the reliance upon such intuition pumps in moral theorizing is unjustified. In this paper I will investigate this claim. First, I lay out what I take to be the problem of intuition pumps. In particular, the problem will surround (1) there always being the possibility of constructing new cases that “pump” people’s intuitions to the other side of a moral debate and (2) there being systematic and patterned disagreement as to what the “correct” intuitive response for a given case is. Next, I give an account of the structure and evidence-conferring status of intuitions. Then, given this account, I illustrate how we can and why we should appeal to the intuitions of experts to solve the problem of intuition pumps. Thus, I hope to show that the problem of intuition pumps is not a problem for moral theorizing. That is, the use of intuition pump-style cases in moral theorizing is prima facie justified. (shrink)
This collection of new essays offers a 'state-of-the-art' conspectus of major trends in the philosophy of logic and philosophy of mathematics. A distinguished group of philosophers addresses issues at the centre of contemporary debate: semantic and set-theoretic paradoxes, the set/class distinction, foundations of set theory, mathematical intuition and many others. The volume includes Hilary Putnam's 1995 Alfred Tarski lectures, published here for the first time.
Multiple realizability has recently attracted renewed attention, for example Bickle, 1998; Bechtel and Mundale, 1999; Bechtel and McCauley, 1999; Heil, 1999; and Sober, 1999. Many of these writers revisit the topic of multiple realizability in order to show that some version of a mind-brain identity theory is viable. Although there is much of value in these recent explorations, they do not address the underlying intuitions that have vexed philosophers of mind since Hilary Putnam introduced the concern (1967). I argue that (...) the standard way of construing multiple realizability is a much stronger claim than that of Putnam's intuition alone. I distinguish four interpretations of the multiple realizability intuition. Some common formulations of multiple realizability are almost certainly true, while others are not at all plausible. I argue that the plausible forms of multiple realizability do not impugn the prospects for a mind-brain Identity Theory. (shrink)
often insisted existence in mathematics means logical consistency, and formal logic is the sole guarantor of rigor. The paper joins this to his view of intuition and his own mathematics. It looks at predicativity and the infinite, Poincaré's early endorsement of the axiom of choice, and Cantor's set theory versus Zermelo's axioms. Poincaré discussed constructivism sympathetically only once, a few months before his death, and conspicuously avoided committing himself. We end with Poincaré on Couturat, Russell, and Hilbert.
Moral decision procedures such as principlism or casuistry require intuition at certain junctures, as when a principle seems indeterminate, or principles conflict, or we wonder which paradigm case is most relevantly similar to the instant case. However, intuitions are widely thought to lack epistemic justification, and many ethicists urge that such decision procedures dispense with intuition in favor of forms of reasoning that provide discursive justification. I argue that discursive justification does not eliminate or minimize the need for (...)intuition, or constrain our intuitions. However, this is not a problem, for intuitions can be justified in easy or obvious cases, and decision procedures should be understood as heuristic devices for reaching judgments about harder cases that approximate the justified intuitions we would have about cases under ideal conditions, where hard cases become easy. Similarly, the forms of reasoning which provide discursive justification help decision procedures perform this heuristic function not by avoiding intuition, but by making such heuristics more accurate. Nonetheless, it is possible to demand too much justification; many clinical ethicists lack the time and philosophical training to reach the more elaborate levels of discursive justification. We should keep moral decision procedures simple and user-friendly so that they will provide what justification can be achieved under clinical conditions, rather than trying to maximize our epistemic justification out of an overstated concern about intuition. (shrink)
Let us assume with the classical philosophers that we have a faculty of theoretical intuition, through which we intuit theoretical principles, and a faculty of practical intuition, through which we intuit practical principles. This modest assumption would allow us to distinguish conceptual intuitions from perceptual intuitions. l wish to ask how we could then know if our intuitions of practical principles are true or not. Could we justify or verify our theoretical and practical intuitions in the same way? (...) One would think not, for we assume that we have two different faculties for grasping principles of different kinds. We would thus ask what method or technique we could use to justify or to verify our practical principles. The identification of a method for this purpose would appear to be desirable, for surely we ought to have some guide for developing principles for social and political policies. All too often we find that discourse about policy abandons rationality in favor of appeals to emotion or threats of coercion. (shrink)
Note, by Sir D. Ross.--Reason and intuition.--The kinds of belief.--Religious belief.--Conflicts of belief.--The eclipse of cause.--Materialism in politics.--On the need for a social philosophy.--Can philosophy determine what is ethically and socially valuable?--The philosophy of democracy.--The principles and limitations of state action.--Leisure.--Locke's contribution to political theory.--Jeremy Bentham.--The empiricism of J. S. Mill.--Is a science of theology possible?--Will and action in ethics.
The award of the 2003 Barwise Prize to Daniel Dennett by the American Philosophical Association signifies Dennett’s importance in the developing area of philosophical inquiry into computing and information. One source of Dennett’s intellectual stature is his command of scientific and engineering ideas, which he effectively applies to philosophical debates over machine intelligence, consciousness, and intentionality. Dennett regards the computer as both a model and a tool that will transform the ways that philosophy is pursued in the 21st century. (...) In order to understand Dennett’s conception of how philosophy changes and fares, if his mechanistic and reductionist conception of the life of the mind succeeds, we turn to an examination of a central idea in Dennett’s thought: the intuition pump. (shrink)
Though logical positivism is part of Kant's complex legacy, positivists rejected both Kant's theory of intuition and his classification of mathematical knowledge as synthetic a priori. This paper considers some lingering defenses of intuition in mathematics during the early part of the twentieth century, as logical positivism was born. In particular, it focuses on the difficult and changing views of Hermann Weyl about the proper role of intuition in mathematics. I argue that it was not intuition (...) in general, but his commitment to twodifferent types of intuition, which explains his rather unusual and tormented philosophy of the mathematical continuum. I would like to thank Geoff Gorham, David McCarty, and Rosamond Rodman for reading an earlier draft of this work. I should also thank those who provided helpful comments on several distant ancestors of this paper: Emily Carson, Ulrich Majer, Erhard Scholz, John Schuerman, Stewart Shapiro, and Richard Tieszen. I am indebted to two anonymous referees for pointing out some problems and for pointing me to work on Weyl I did not previously know about. In particular, the recent articles in [Feist, 2004a] turned out to be (somewhat uncomfortably) relevant to the focus of this paper. In this last revision I have tried to show where I agree and disagree with the authors of those papers; I apologize for whatever repetition still exists, but it was tere before I read those papers. This paper has a long history, and comes out of several talks I gave some years ago. Audiences at the Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh (colloquium 1995), St Andrews University Philosophy of Mathematics Workshop (1996), the British Society for the History of Mathematics meeting (1996), the University of Mainz Mathematics Department (colloquium 1996), the Canadian Philosophical Association (1997 and 1999), and the University of British Columbia (colloquium 1998) should be thanked for their helpful comments. I also thank Neil Tennant for encouraging me to resurrect this work. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)