Evaluative experiences: the epistemological significance of moral phenomenology

Synthese 199 (3-4):5747-5768 (2021)
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Recently, a number of phenomenological approaches to experiential justification emerged according to which an experience's justificatory force is grounded in the experience’s distinctive phenomenology. The basic idea is that certain experiences exhibit a presentive phenomenology and that they are a source of immediate justification precisely by virtue of their presentive phenomenology. Such phenomenological approaches usually focus on perceptual experiences and mathematical intuitions. In this paper, I aim at a phenomenological approach to ethical experiences. I shall show that we need to make a distinction between evaluative experiences directed at concrete cases and ethical intuitions directed at general principles. The focus will be on evaluative experiences. I argue that evaluative experiences constitute a sui generis type of experience that gain their justificatory force by virtue of their presentive evaluative phenomenology. In Sect. 1, I introduce and motivate the phenomenological idea that certain experiences exhibit a justification-conferring phenomenology. In Sect. 4, I apply this idea to morally evaluative experiences. In Sect. 5, I suggest that certain epistemic intuitions should be considered epistemically evaluative experiences and I outline a strong parallelism between ethics and epistemology.



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Philipp Berghofer
University of Graz

Citations of this work

Husserl’s Noetics – Towards a Phenomenological Epistemology.Philipp Berghofer - 2018 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 50 (2):120-138.

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References found in this work

Philosophy Without Intuitions.Herman Cappelen - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
The Contents of Visual Experience.Susanna Siegel - 2010 - , US: Oxford University Press USA.
Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.Wilfrid Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.
Skepticism and the Veil of Perception.Michael Huemer (ed.) - 2001 - Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
The skeptic and the dogmatist.James Pryor - 2000 - Noûs 34 (4):517–549.

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