Traditionally, intuitions about cases have been taken as strong evidence for a philosophical position. I argue that intuitions about concept deployment have epistemic value while intuitions about matters of fact have none. I argue this by use of the explanationist criterion which contends that S is justified in believing only those propositions which are part of the best explanation of S’s making the judgements she makes. This criterion accords with scientific practice. Bealer suggests, as a defence of intuition, that naturalists (...) rely on intuition in their arguments against intuition and thus that their arguments are self-undermining. But beliefs based on intuitions about the application of concepts, like ‘justification’ and ‘theory,’ are epistemically justified by the explanationist criterion. It is only intuitions about matters of fact which are rejected. Thus, epistemically-respectable intuitions about concepts are used to undermine intuitions about metaphysics. There is nothing self-undermining about this. (shrink)
According to a popular view in philosophy, intuition is a singular propositional attitude. In this paper, I outline an opposite account on “garden-variety intuition”, i.e. intuition that people experience in their daily lives. The account is based on a distinction between intuition on the processing level, ‘intuitive belief’ and ‘intuition that p’. Immediacy and certainty prove to be the phenomenal features of intuitive beliefs and intuitions that p. Regarding the processing level, I suggest to combine dual-process theory and the theory (...) of mental models, and I claim that this results in non-propositional intuitions. Finally, I argue that non-propositional intuitions are fundamental for garden-variety intuition: They constitute inclinations to believe, possibly resulting in intuitive beliefs or intuitions that p. (shrink)
According to a bedrock assumption in the current methodology of armchair philosophy, we may refute a theory aiming at analyzing a concept by providing a counterexample in which it intuitively seems that a hypothetical or real situation does not fit with what the theory implies. In this paper, we shall argue that this assumption is at most either untenable or otherwise useless in bringing about what is commonly expected from it.
Sosa’s topic is the use of intuitions in philosophy. Much of what I have written on the issue has been critical of appeals to intuition in epistemology, though in recent years I have become increasingly skeptical of the use of intuitions in ethics and in semantic theory as well.
There is much to admire in John Pittard’s recent book on the epistemology of disagreement. But here we develop one concern about the role that rational insight plays in his project. Pittard develops and defends a view on which a party to peer disagreement can show substantial partiality to his own view, so long as he enjoys even moderate rational insight into the truth of his view or the cogency of his reasoning for his view. Pittard argues that this may (...) happen in ordinary cases of religious disagreement—cases in which it’s a live skeptical possibility that one is misdescribing his insight, or not having insight at all—and therefore one need not be strongly conciliatory even in the face of peer disagreement. Yet Pittard agrees that one should be strongly conciliatory in cases of disagreement involving, e.g., visual perception and dim rational insight, since the sort of fallible, corrigible evidence involved in such cases may be counterbalanced by symmetrical evidence on the part of one’s disagreeing peer. We worry that there’s an inconsistency here. If it’s unreasonable to show partiality to one’s visual experience (or dim rational insight) in cases like “Horse Race” and “Restaurant Check,” it’s likewise unreasonable to show partiality in religious disagreements to one’s moderate rational insight, fallible and corrigible as it is. (shrink)
When evaluating theories of causation, intuitions should not play a decisive role, not even intuitions in flawlessly-designed thought experiments. Indeed, no coherent theory of causation can respect the typical person’s intuitions in redundancy (pre-emption) thought experiments, without disrespecting their intuitions in threat-and-saviour (switching / short-circuit) thought experiments. I provide a deductively sound argument for these claims. Amazingly, this argument assumes absolutely nothing about the nature of causation. I also provide a second argument, whose conclusion is even stronger: the typical person’s (...) causal intuitions are thoroughly unreliable. This argument proceeds by raising the neglected question: in what respects is information about intermediate and enabling variables relevant to reliable causal judgment? (shrink)
The Challenge from Cognitive Diversity (CCD) states that demography-specific intuitions are unsuited to play evidential roles in philosophy. The CCD attracted much attention in recent years, in great part due to the launch of an international research effort to test for demographic variation in philosophical intuitions. In the wake of these international studies, the CCD may prove revolutionary. For, if these studies uncover demographic differences in intuitions, then, in line with the CCD, there would be good reason to challenge philosophical (...) views that rely on those intuitions for evidential support. I argue that philosophical views that rely on demography-specific intuitions for evidential support need not be threatened by such findings. I first provide a detailed analysis of the epistemological principles driving the CCD and distinguish three formulations of this challenge. I then show that there are good reasons to reject all such formulations of the CCD. (shrink)
According to Michael Bergmann’s “intuitionist particularism,” our position with respect to skeptical arguments is much the same as it was with respect to Zeno’s paradoxes of motion prior to our developing sophisticated theories of the continuum. We observed ourselves move, and that closed the case in favor of the ability to move, even if we had no general theory about that ability. We observe ourselves form justified beliefs, and that closes the case in favor of the ability to form justified (...) beliefs, even if we have no general theory about that ability. I think this is a mistake. Our position with respect to skeptical arguments is like our current position with respect to Zeno’s paradoxes. Mathematics shows where Zeno’s reasoning goes wrong and provisions explanations of the ability to move. Epistemology shows where the skeptic’s reasoning goes wrong and provisions explanations of the ability to form justified beliefs. (shrink)
Michael Bergmann's Radical Skepticism and Epistemic Intuition develops a response to radical skepticism inspired by commonsense philosophers, such as Reid and Moore. Bergmann argues against radical skepticism on the grounds of its conflicting with strongly-held "epistemic intuitions" about the "epistemic value or goodness” of our particular perceptual, recollective, introspective and a priori beliefs. I press concerns about whether Bergmann's "intuitionist particularist" response can diagnose the source of skepticism, and argue that his methodology turns out to itself be strikingly skeptical.
This work investigates intuitions' nature, demonstrating how philosophers can best use them in epistemology. First, the author considers several paradigmatic thought experiments in epistemology that depict the appeal to intuition. He then argues that the nature of thought experiment-generated intuitions is not best explained by an a priori Platonism. Second, the book instead develops and argues for a thin conception of epistemic intuitions. The account maintains that intuition is neither a priori nor a posteriori but multi-dimensional. It is an intentional (...) but non-propositional mental state that is also non-conceptual and non-phenomenal in nature. Moreover, this state is individuated by its progenitor, namely, the relevant thought experiment. Third, the author provides an argument for the evidential status of intuitions based on the correct account of the nature of epistemic intuition. The suggestion is the fitting-ness approach: intuition alone has no epistemic status. Rather, intuition has evidentiary value as long as it fits well with other pieces into a whole, namely, the pertinent thought experiment. Finally, the book addresses the key challenges raised by supporters of anti-centrality, according to which philosophers do not regard intuition as central evidence in philosophy. To that end, the author responds to them, showing that they fail to affect the account of intuition developed in this book. This text appeals to students and researchers working in epistemology. (shrink)
In a recent paper, I argued that philosophical intuitions are surprisingly robust both across demographic groups and across development. Machery and Stich reply by reviewing a series of studies that do show significant differences in philosophical intuition between different demographic groups. This is a helpful point, which gets at precisely the issues that are most relevant here. However, even when one looks at those very studies, one finds truly surprising robustness. In other words, despite the presence of statistically significant differences (...) between demographic groups, a core finding coming out of those studies is that philosophical intuitions are surprisingly robust across demographic groups. (shrink)
The assumption that philosophers rely on intuitions to justify their philosophical positions has recently come under substantial criticism. In order to protect philosophy from experimental findings that suggest that intuitions are epistemically problematic, a number of metaphilosophers have argued that intuitions play no substantial epistemic role in philosophy. This paper focuses on attempts to deny intuitions’ epistemic role through exegetical analysis of original thought experiments. Using Deutsch’s particularly well-developed exegesis of Gettier’s 10 coin case as an exemplar of this method, (...) I examine the challenges the strategy faces. I argue that intuition denial fails to provide a satisfactory account of how verdicts of thought experiments are justified. Instead, it commits intuition deniers to the conclusion that the arguments of Gettier, Kripke, Thomson, and others are bad arguments. As a result, rather than defusing challenges to the case method raised by experimental philosophers, intuition denial ultimately leads to the same troubling conclusion – that philosophers hold their positions on bad grounds. (shrink)
This article presents a theory of intuitive skill in terms of three constitutive elements: getting things right intuitively, not getting things wrong intuitively, and sceptical ability. The theory draws on work from a range of psychological approaches to intuition and expertise in various domains, including arts, business, science, and sport. It provides a general framework that will help to further integrate research on these topics, for example building bridges between practical and theoretical domains or between such apparently conflicting methodologies as (...) a heuristics and biases approach on the one hand and one based on naturalistic decision-making on the other. In addition, the theory provides a clearer and more precise account of relevant concepts, which will help to inspire new directions for future research. Intuitive skill is defined as a high level of intuitive ability, that is, the ability to make good use of intuition; specifically, a high level of ability at either getting things right intuitively, not getting things wrong intuitively, or sceptical ability, where the latter is the ability to detect instances of getting things wrong intuitively so as to avoid forming incorrect intuitive judgements, which may itself be partly intuitive. (shrink)
In this paper, we report the results of three high-powered replication studies in experimental philosophy, which bear on an alleged instability of folk philosophical intuitions: the purported susceptibility of epistemic intuitions about the Truetemp case (Lehrer, Theory of knowledge. Westview Press, Boulder, 1990) to order effects. Evidence for this susceptibility was first reported by Swain et al. (Philos Phenomenol Res 76(1):138–155, 2008); further evidence was then found in two studies by Wright (Cognition 115(3):491–503, 2010) and Weinberg et al. (Monist 95(2):200–222, (...) 2012). These empirical results have been quite influential in the recent metaphilosophical debate about the method of cases. However, none of Swain et al.’s ( 2008 ) predictions concerning order effects with Truetemp cases could be consistently and robustly replicated in our three experiments, and it is thus at best unclear whether Truetemp intuitions are in fact unstable. So, if proponents of the negative program in experimental philosophy still want to use order effects to challenge the reliability of philosophical case judgments, they would be well advised to look elsewhere instead. In any case, given the more robust empirical evidence that we present in this paper, the metaphilosophical flurry created by Swain et al. ( 2008 ) and Wright’s ( 2010 ) influential studies looks like mere alarmism in hindsight. (shrink)
Recent metaphilosophical debates have focused on the methods/epistemology of philosophy, and the structure of the discipline. The paper reports the results of an exploratory study examining the relationship between personality and both kinds of metaphilosophical view. The findings reported are No important link between personality and attitudes to intuitions, Apparent differences between experts and non-experts as to which subfields are considered central, Only limited evidence that perceptions of centrality are related to personality in minor ways. Although no dramatic relationships between (...) personality and metaphilosophical view are found, the results nonetheless prompt some reflection about the role played by judgements about the centrality of subfields within the discipline. (shrink)
Strevens’s Thinking Off Your Feet promises to vindicate philosophical analysis. My comments take a narrow, critical focus. I argue that Strevens doesn’t deliver on this promise. Given my understanding of (i) what is required from a vindication of philosophical analysis and (ii) Strevens’s grounds for ‘optimism’ about philosophical analysis, Strevens hasn’t done enough to vindicate philosophical analysis. Indeed, Strevens’s supposed grounds for optimism about armchair philosophy in fact provide motivation for philosophical analysis to give up some ground to experimental philosophy. (...) Although my comments are critical, my overall view of the book is not. Strevens does important and interesting work presenting and analysing various models of how armchair philosophy might work and what it might achieve. The book deserves a central place in future discussions about these issues. (shrink)
According to the ‘expertise defence’, experimental findings suggesting that intuitive judgments about hypothetical cases are influenced by philosophically irrelevant factors do not undermine their evidential use in (moral) philosophy. This defence assumes that philosophical experts are unlikely to be influenced by irrelevant factors. We discuss relevant findings from experimental metaphilosophy that largely tell against this assumption. To advance the debate, we present the most comprehensive experimental study of intuitive expertise in ethics to date, which tests five well- known biases of (...) judgment and decision-making among expert ethicists and laypeople. We found that even expert ethicists are affected by some of these biases, but also that they enjoy a slight advantage over laypeople in some cases. We discuss the implications of these results for the expertise defence, and conclude that they still do not support the defence as it is typically presented in (moral) philosophy. (shrink)
In recent years, two competing methodological frameworks have developed in the study of the epistemology of philosophy. The traditional camp, led by experimental philosophy and its allies, has made inferences about the epistemology of philosophy based on the reactions, or intuitions, people have to works of philosophy. In contrast, multiple authors have followed the lead of Deutsch and Cappelen by setting aside experimental data in favor of inferences based on careful examination of the text of notable works of philosophy. In (...) other words, the debate is split between authors focusing on philosophy’s consumption and those focusing on philosophy’s production. This paper examines the motivation for focusing on original texts and other evidence of philosophy’s production and finds it lacking. Drawing upon Hills’ distinction between propagation and transmission, I argue that the social epistemology of philosophy does not justify the recent focus on original texts of philosophy. Because the philosophical knowledge of consumers of philosophy is likely inspired by producers of philosophy, as opposed to epistemically grounded in the producers’ epistemic states, experimental philosophy had it right all along—if we want to know the epistemic standing of philosophy, we need to look to philosophy’s consumers. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition in Analytic Philosophy are not compelling arguments because intuitions are not the sort of thing that has the power to rationally persuade other professional analytic philosophers. This conclusion follows from reasonable premises about the goal of Analytic Philosophy, which is rational persuasion by means of arguments, and the requirement that evidence for and/or against philosophical theses used by professional analytic philosophers be public (or transparent) in order to have the power to (...) rationally persuade other professional analytic philosophers. Since intuitions are not public (or transparent) evidence, it follows that appeals to intuition are not compelling arguments for and/or against philosophical theses because they lack the power to rationally persuade other professional analytic philosophers. (shrink)
In some domains experts perform better than novices, and in other domains experts do not generally perform better than novices. According to empirical studies of expert performance, this is because the former but not the latter domains make available to training practitioners a direct form of learning feedback. Several philosophers resource this empirical literature to cast doubt on the quality of philosophical expertise. They claim that philosophy is like the dubious domains in that it does not make available the good, (...) direct kind of learning feedback, and thus there are empirical grounds for doubting the epistemic quality of philosophical expertise. I examine the empirical studies that are purportedly bad news for professional philosophers. On the basis of that examination, I provide three reasons why the empirical study of non-philosophical expertise does not undermine the status of philosophical expertise. First, the non-philosophical task-types from which the critics generalize are unrepresentative of relevant philosophical task-types. Second, empirical critiques of non-philosophical experts are often made relative to the performance of linear models—a comparison that is inapt in a philosophical context. Third, the critics fail to discuss findings from the empirical study of non-philosophical expertise that have more favorable implications for the epistemic status of philosophical expertise. In addition to discussing implications for philosophical expertise, this article makes progress in the philosophical analysis of the science of expertise and expert development. (shrink)
In philosophical thought experiments, as in ordinary discourse, our understanding of verbal case descriptions is enriched by automatic comprehension inferences. Such inferences have us routinely infer what else is also true of the cases described. We consider how such routine inferences from polysemous words can generate zombie intuitions: intuitions that are ‘killed’ (defeated) by contextual information but kept cognitively alive by the psycholinguistic phenomenon of linguistic salience bias. Extending ‘evidentiary’ experimental philosophy, this paper examines whether the ‘zombie argument’ against materialism (...) is built on zombie intuitions. We examine the hypothesis that contextually defeated stereotypical inferences from the noun ‘zombie’ influence intuitions about ‘philosophical zombies’. We document framing effects (‘zombie’ vs ‘duplicate’) predicted by the hypothesis. Findings undermine intuitions about the conceivability of ‘philosophical zombies’ and address the philosophical ‘hard problem of consciousness’. Findings support a deflationary response: The impression that principled obstacles prevent scientific explanation of how physical processes give rise to conscious experience is generated by philosophical arguments that rely on epistemically deficient intuitions. (shrink)
The present paper deals with the diachronic evolution of the Cartesian concept of intuitus, focusing particularly on the reasons for its (at least lexical) dismissal in Descartes's mature elaborations of his metaphysics. In section 1, I address the notion of intuitus presented in the Rules, showing that this concept is pivotal in Descartes' early epistemology of evidence. In section 2, I argue that such a concept can be traced back to certain distinctive elements of the Late Scholastic debate on angels (...) and human knowledge, from which Descartes could have drawn some of his early ideas. In section 3, I analyze the reasons behind Descartes' dismissal of the notion of intuitus, arguing for a deliberate choice, due both to epistemologico-metaphysical and theological reasons, on which I dwell focusing especially on Descartes' letters. -/- . (shrink)
Tässä artikkelissa käsittelen Henri Bergsonin (1859–1941) intuition käsitettä ja sen suhdetta hänen filosofiseen menetelmäänsä. Bergsonin on nähty tarkoittavan intuitiolla yhtäältä filosofian metodia ja toisaalta tiettyä älyyn verrattavaa filosofialle ainutlaatuista tiedon muotoa. Esitän, että Bergsonille intuitio on samanaikaisesti näitä molempia. Se on todellisuuden ajattelemista kestona, sisäistä jatkuvuuttamme muistuttavana liikkeenä. Intuitiossa tavoitetaan todellisuuden luonne sikäli kuin se on läsnä myös meissä itsessämme tällaisena jatkuvuutena. Metodologisesti se on todellisuuden tarkastelua ajallisuuden ja muutoksen perspektiivistä. Tiedon muotona se on välitöntä ymmärrystä tarkastelun kohteesta itsestään.
Experimental philosophy has focused attention on the role that intuitive responses to philosophical cases play in philosophical argumentation. The method of appealing to such cases has been dubbed the “method of cases,” and, in recent work, Edouard Machery has both defended its prevalence and uniformity in philosophical practice, and criticized its epistemic value. In this paper, I argue that there is no single method of cases, but rather a set of methods of cases. To defend this claim, I distinguish and (...) articulate these different methods and argue that they better explain several paradigmatic appeals to cases. This result not only challenges the homogeneity of the method of cases; it also stocks our methodological toolbox with additional interpretive tools which help us to not only better understand philosophical arguments, but to better understand the significance of experimental work. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This essay examines a particular rhetorical strategy Nietzsche uses to supply prima facie epistemic justification: appeals to intuition. I first investigate what Nietzsche thinks intuitions are, given that he never uses the term ‘intuition’ as we do in contemporary philosophy. I then examine how Nietzsche can simultaneously endorse naturalism and intuitive appeals. I finish by looking at why and how Nietzsche uses appeals to intuition to further his philosophical agenda. Answering these questions should provide a new and deeper understanding (...) of how Nietzsche does philosophy. (shrink)
In the present work, we will analyze the concept of intuition mainly in relation to the epistemological and the metaphysical theses of Schopenhauerian theory. In the first section, we will discuss the central axes of Schopenhauer’s metaphysical system, especially regarding the concept of will (Wille) and the relationship that this entails with his theory of knowledge. Then, we will examine the difference that the German philosopher establishes between representative —or mediated— rational knowledge and direct —or immediate— intuitive knowledge. Likewise, we (...) will trace at first the theses and the fundamental problems of the dualism of representation and we will furtherly establish the problem of the intuition of one’s own body. Finally, we will consider the scope and the limits of intuition, as well as its different variants: mainly aesthetic intuition and its culmination in mystical intuition. (shrink)
Perception and intuition are our basic sources of knowledge. They are also capacities we deliberately improve in ways that draw on our knowledge. Elijah Chudnoff explores how this happens, developing an account of the epistemology of expert perception and expert intuition, and a rationalist view of the role of intuition in philosophy.
Caracterizando a existência como um processo de escolha e decisão que converge para a constituição do sujeito como tal, Kierkegaard atribui à existência a condição de um projeto em uma construção que encerra três possibilidades existenciais fundamentais, a saber, o estético, o ético e o religioso. Dessa forma, o artigo assinala que, constituindo-se uma dimensão em cujo estádio a procura do sentido ou a busca do absoluto circunscreve-se à imanência, o modo existencial estético caracteriza-se como a fruição da subjetividade consigo (...) própria através do instante do prazer sensual em um movimento que implica a sedução como esforço de conquista de si que, contudo, escapa ao seu poder em uma relação que converge para o desespero, haja vista que a renovação de forma indefinida da condição originária do amor esgota-se na generalização. E se o estágio ético encerra a integração na comunidade social através da institucionalização da repetição como um modo de vida baseado na objetividade e na racionalidade, a conformação do sujeito ao modus vivendi e ao modus essendi do geral implica a harmonização da sua subjetividade com a generalidade do bem e do mal por meio de um processo que torna-se incapaz de resolver a questão da sua desordem existencial. Assim sendo, o artigo mostra que, se a virtude moral que o ético impõe converge para a impossibilidade de superação do desespero que caracteriza a busca do absoluto na imanência, a atitude religiosa, abdicando da realidade em sua totalidade finita em função da relação absoluta com o Absoluto, demanda a suspensão teleológica do ético e tende a instaurar a autenticidade existencial através de um movimento que mantém correspondência com a fé como o “salto” que implica a consciência de si em sua singularidade e a espiritualidade individual. (shrink)
It seems that intuitions are indispensable in philosophical theorizing. Yet, there is evidence that our intuitions are heavily influenced by biases. This generates a puzzle: we must use our intuitions, but we seemingly cannot fully trust those very intuitions. In this paper, I develop a methodology for philosophical theorizing which attempts to avoid this puzzle. Specifically, I develop and defend a methodology that I call Extra-Wide Reflective Equilibrium. I argue that this method allows us to use intuitions, while also providing (...) a mechanism to check the influence of bias on our intuitions. In section I, defend the claim that intuitions are indispensable in philosophical theorizing. In section II, I outline recent arguments against the reliability of intuitions. In section III, I explain and defend my account of Extra-Wide Reflective Equilibrium. (shrink)
Recent experimental studies indicate that epistemically irrelevant factors can skew our intuitions, and that some degree of scepticism about appealing to intuition in philosophy is warranted. In response, some have claimed that philosophers are experts in such a way as to vindicate their reliance on intuitions—this has become known as the ‘expertise defence’. This paper explores the viability of the expertise defence, and suggests that it can be partially vindicated. Arguing that extant discussion is problematically imprecise, we will finesse the (...) notion of ‘philosophical expertise’ in order to better reflect the complex reality of the different practices involved in philosophical inquiry. On this basis, we offer a new version of the expertise defence that allows for distinct types of philosophical expertise. The upshot of our approach is that wholesale vindications or rejections of the expertise defence are shown to be unwarranted; we must instead turn to local, piecemeal investigations of philosophical expertise. Lastly, in the spirit of taking our own advice, we exemplify how recent developments from experimental philosophy lend themselves to this approach, and can empirically support one instance of a successful expertise defence. (shrink)
One of the hallmarks of virtue is reliably acting well. Such reliable success presupposes that an agent is able to recognize the morally salient features of a situation, and the appropriate response to those features and is motivated to act on this knowledge without internal conflict. Furthermore, it is often claimed that the virtuous person can do this in a spontaneous or intuitive manner. While these claims represent an ideal of what it is to have a virtue, it is less (...) clear how to make good on them. That is, how is it actually possible to spontaneously and reliably act well? In this paper, we will lay out a framework for understanding how it is that one could reliably act well in an intuitive manner. We will do this by developing the concept of an action schema, which draws on the philosophical and psychological literature on skill acquisition and self-regulation. In short, we will give an account of how self-regulation, grounded in skillful structures, can allow for the accurate intuitions and flexible expertise required for virtue. While our primary goal in this paper is to provide a positive theory of how virtuous intuitions might be accounted for, we also take ourselves to be raising the bar for what counts as an explanation of reliable and intuitive action in general. (shrink)
Was ist Intuition? Gibt es intuitive Erkenntnis? Intuition beschäftigt Philosophie, Psychologie und Alltagsdenken. Einschätzungen reichen dabei von "höchste Erkenntnisart" bis "höchst unzuverlässig." Cyrill Mamin zeichnet zentrale Bestimmungen der Intuition in Philosophie und Psychologie nach. Wesentliche Fragen sind dabei: Wie ist es, eine Intuition zu haben? Wie kommt eine Intuition zustande? Auf dieser Grundlage bestimmt Mamin Intuition als massgeblich nicht-propositionale Erkenntnisart, welche unsere intuitiven Überzeugungen rechtfertigen kann. Im Zentrum steht ein neuartiges Modell der intuitiven Rechtfertigung, das psychologische mit erkenntnistheoretischen Elementen verbindet. (...) Dadurch lässt sich Intuition im Verhältnis zu anderen mentalen Akten (u.a. Wahrnehmung, Imagination, Delusion) näher bestimmen sowie ein kritischer Blick auf die philosophische Intuitionsdebatte werfen. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to document Laudan's rejection of the appeal to intuition in the context of his development of normative naturalism. At one point in the development of his methodological thinking, Laudan appealed to pre-analytic intuitions, which might be employed to identify episodes in the history of science against which theories of scientific methodology are to be tested. However, Laudan came to reject this appeal to intuitions, and rejected this entire approach to the evaluation of a theory (...) of method. This is an important stage in the development of his normative naturalist meta-methodology. (shrink)
In this essay, we reconsider two themes particularly discussed by the interpreters of Ockham: that of divine omnipotence and the hypothesis of the intuitive cognition of non-existent things. The purpose is to show that the hypothetical case considered by Ockham was subjected to opposite interpretations. For theological reasons, Ockham attributes not only to God but also to human beings the possibility of having acts of intuitive cognition of things that do not exist; nonetheless, he holds that it is contradictory for (...) God to give us the evident cognition of things that appear to be present when they are actually absent. Walter Chatton opposes this conclusion, arguing that no contradiction ensues from that hypothesis. Instead, he believes that it is impossible for God to give us the intuition of things that absolutely do not exist or are in no way present to us. Ockham’s arguments include some difficulties that Chatton acutely sees and discusses. In particular, Chatton calls into question Ockham’s missed distinction between the existence and the presence of the intuited thing. (shrink)
I bet you don’t practice your philosophical intuitions. What’s your excuse? If you think philosophical training improves the reliability of philosophical intuitions, then practicing intuitions should improve them even further. I argue that philosophers’ reluctance to practice their intuitions highlights a tension in the way that they think about the role of intuitions in philosophy.
A surge of empirical research demonstrating flexible cognition in animals and young infants has raised interest in the possibility of rational decision‐making in the absence of language. A venerable position, which I here call “Classical Inferentialism”, holds that nonlinguistic agents are incapable of rational inferences. Against this position, I defend a model of nonlinguistic inferences that shows how they could be practically rational. This model vindicates the Lockean idea that we can intuitively grasp rational connections between thoughts by developing the (...) Davidsonian idea that practical inferences are at bottom categorization judgments. From this perspective, we can see how similarity‐based categorization processes widely studied in human and animal psychology might count as practically rational. The solution involves a novel hybrid of internalism and externalism: intuitive inferences are psychologically rational (in the explanatory sense) given the intensional sensitivity of the similarity assessment to the internal structure of the agent's reasons for acting, but epistemically rational (in the justificatory sense) given an ecological fit between the features matched by that assessment and the structure of the agent's environment. The essay concludes by exploring empirical results that show how nonlinguistic agents can be sensitive to these similarity assessments in a way that grants them control over their opaque judgments. (shrink)
Recent empirical studies raise methodological concerns about the use of intuitions in philosophy. According to one prominent line of reply, these concerns are unwarranted since the empirical studies motivating them do not control for the putatively characteristic phenomenology of intuitions. This paper makes use of research on metacognitive states that have precisely this phenomenology to argue that the above reply fails. Furthermore, it shows that empirical findings about these metacognitive states can help philosophers make better informed assessments of their warrant (...) for relying on intuitions in inquiry. (shrink)
Many philosophical thought experiments and arguments involve unusual cases. We present empirical reasons to doubt the reliability of intuitive judgments and conclusions about such cases. Inferences and intuitions prompted by verbal case descriptions are influenced by routine comprehension processes which invoke stereotypes. We build on psycholinguistic findings to determine conditions under which the stereotype associated with the most salient sense of a word predictably supports inappropriate inferences from descriptions of unusual (stereotype-divergent) cases. We conduct an experiment that combines plausibility ratings (...) with pupillometry to document this “salience bias.” We find that under certain conditions, competent speakers automatically make stereotypical inferences they know to be inappropriate. (shrink)
This article identifies empirical, conceptual and normative avenues to advance the speciesism debate. First, I highlight the application of Evolutionary Debunking Arguments (EDAs) as one such avenue: especially where (anti-)speciesist positions heavily rely on appeals to moral intuition, and EDAs have potential to move the debate forward. Second, an avenue for conceptual progress is the delineation of speciesism from other views in its vicinity, specifically from the view that biological differences between species are sometimes morally relevant (‘species-relativism’). Third, if we (...) adopt Singer’s definition of speciesism, then a limitation of the current debate is that it is not obvious whether the core ethical principle that underlies anti-speciesist positions—the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests—is widely applicable. Arguably, the interests of animals are often too dissimilar to establish what equal consideration amounts to. I underscore the need for integrating philosophical and empirical research, to come to terms with the extent to which the interests of members of different species are alike, and with the question of whether any dissimilarities might be morally relevant. (shrink)
The founding text for the new current in modern philosophy—experi-mental philosophy—can be seen in Jonathan Weinberg, Shaun Nichols and Ste-phen Stich’s “Normativity and Epistemic Intuitions” (2001). The authors describe in this article a study to prove cross-cultural differences in epistemic intuitions. On the basis of their results, they argue that since epistemic intuitions seem to serve a crucial role in the use of thought experiments, contemporary philosophical methodology is highly unjustified. That study has brought about at least three replication attempts (...) (Seyedsayam-dost 2015; Kim, Yuan 2015; Nagel, San Juan, Mar 2013). None of them confirmed the original results. The aim of this article is to critically analyze in detail Weinberg, Nichols and Stich’s methodology and the three replications mentioned. Regarding the results of my analysis, I will try to examine what conclusions can be drawn with regard to the outcomes of analized studies. In particular I will refer to far-reaching con-clusions about the universality of epistemic intuitions or universality of folk epis-temology, which are sometimes—hastily, as I will argue—extrapolated from the results of such kind of studies (e.g., Kim, Yuan 2015; Kim Yuan 2016). (shrink)
What is the role of phenomenal consciousness in grounding epistemic justification? This paper explores the prospects for a global version of phenomenal conservatism inspired by the work of Michael Huemer, according to which all epistemic justification is grounded in phenomenal seemings. I’m interested in this view because of its global ambitions: it seeks to explain all epistemic justification in terms of a single epistemic principle, which says that you have epistemic justification to believe whatever seems to you strongly enough on (...) balance to be true. One of the attractions of phenomenal conservatism is that it offers such a simple and unified framework for explaining the epistemic role of phenomenal consciousness. I will argue, however, that the simplicity of phenomenal conservatism is not a theoretical virtue, but a theoretical vice, since it distorts the epistemological phenomena it is supposed to explain. In effect, phenomenal conservatism seeks to explain all epistemic justification on the same model as perception. But this has the predictable effect of distorting the epistemology of other domains, including introspection, inference, and a priori justification. (shrink)
What is going on under the hood in philosophical analysis, that familiar process that attempts to uncover the nature of such philosophically interesting kinds as knowledge, causation, and justice by the method of posit and counterexample? How, in particular, do intuitions tell us about philosophical reality? The standard, if unappealing, answer is that philosophical analysis is conceptual analysis—that what we learn about when we do philosophy is in the first instance facts about our own minds. Drawing on recent work on (...) the psychology of concepts, this book proposes a new understanding of philosophical analysis, which I call inductive analysis. The thesis that philosophical analysis is inductive analysis explains how novel, substantive philosophical knowledge can be generated in the armchair. It also explains why attempts at philosophical analysis tend to fall short of providing a complete and uncontroversial definition, and supplies reasons not to lament this apparent shortcoming. (shrink)
Disagreement is a hot topic right now in epistemology, where there is spirited debate between epistemologists who argue that we should be moved by the fact that we disagree and those who argue that we need not. Both sides to this debate often use what is commonly called “the method of cases,” designing hypothetical cases involving peer disagreement and using what we think about those cases as evidence that specific normative theories are true or false, and as reasons for believing (...) as such. With so much weight being given in the epistemology of disagreement to what people think about cases of peer disagreement, our goal in this paper is to examine what kinds of things might shape how people think about these kinds of cases. We will show that two different kinds of framing effect shape how people think about cases of peer disagreement, and examine both what this means for how the method of cases is used in the epistemology of disagreement and what this might tell us about the role that motivated cognition is playing in debates about which normative positions about peer disagreement are right and wrong. (shrink)
In recent years a growing number of philosophers writing about the methodology of philosophy have defended the surprising claim that philosophers do not use intuitions as evidence. In this paper I defend the contrary view that philosophers do use intuitions as evidence. I argue that this thesis is the best explanation of several salient facts about philosophical practice. First, philosophers tend to believe propositions which they find intuitive. Second, philosophers offer error theories for intuitions that conflict with their theories. Finally, (...) philosophers are more confident in rejecting theories to the extent that they have several counter examples involving diverse cases. I argue that these facts are better explained by philosophers' using intuitions as evidence than by any plausible contrary explanations. I further argue that aspects of philosophical practice that my thesis may initially seem ill-suited to explain are in fact unsurprising whether or not my thesis is true. (shrink)
The method of thought experiments or possible cases is widespread in philosophy and elsewhere. Thought experiments come with variegated theoretical commitments. These commitments are risky. They may turn out to be false or at least controversial. Other things being equal, it seems preferable to do with minimal commitments. I explore exemplary ways of minimising commitments, focusing on modal ones. There is a near-consensus to treat the scenarios considered in thought experiments as metaphysical possibilities. I challenge this consensus. Paradigmatic thought experiments (...) do not have to come with a commitment to metaphysical possibilities. In the first section, I point out difficulties with the prevailing focus on metaphysical possibilities. In the second section, I present alternative formalisations of a paradigmatic thought experiment, the Gettier experiment. Gettier’s words leave open the kind of possibilities under consideration. The standard way of spelling out Gettier’s argument uses metaphysical possibilities. One alternative proposal uses nomological possibilities. A second one uses epistemic possibilities. My modest conclusion: as long as it is not established that a thought experiment requires a commitment to metaphysical modality, one should avoid such a commitment. My preferred way of doing so is to replace the commitment to one particular formalisation by a commitment to a disjunction of alternative formalisations. (shrink)