The Intellectual Given

Mind 124 (495):707-760 (2015)
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Abstract

Intuition is sometimes derided as an abstruse or esoteric phenomenon akin to crystal-ball gazing. Such derision appears to be fuelled primarily by the suggestion, evidently endorsed by traditional rationalists such as Plato and Descartes, that intuition is a kind of direct, immediate apprehension akin to perception. This paper suggests that although the perceptual analogy has often been dismissed as encouraging a theoretically useless metaphor, a quasi-perceptualist view of intuition may enable rationalists to begin to meet the challenge of supplying a theoretically satisfying treatment of their favoured epistemic source. It is argued, first, that intuitions and perceptual experiences are at a certain level of abstraction the same type of mental state, presentations, which are distinct from beliefs, hunches, inclinations, attractions, and seemings. The notion of a presentation is given a positive explication, which identifies its characteristic features, accounts for several of its substantive psychological roles, and systematically locates it in a threefold division among types of contentful states. Subsequently, it is argued that presentations, intuitive no less than sensory, are by their nature poised to play a distinctive epistemic role. Specifically, in the case of intuition, we encounter an intellectual state that is so structured as to provide justification without requiring justification in turn—something which may, thus, be thought of as ‘given’

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John Bengson
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Citations of this work

The Epistemic Role of Core Cognition.Zoe Jenkin - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (2):251-298.
Intuition.Joel Pust - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A Perceptual Theory of Hope.Michael Milona & Katie Stockdale - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
What Intuitions Are Like.Elijah Chudnoff - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (3):625-654.
Acquaintance.Matt Duncan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3):e12727.

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The Structure of Empirical Knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1985 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Philosophy Without Intuitions.Herman Cappelen - 2012 - Oxford University Press UK.

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