Intuitions are Used as Evidence in Philosophy

Mind 127 (505):69-104 (2018)
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Abstract

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.

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