Intuitively Rational: How We Think and How We Should

Springer Nature Switzerland (2024)
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Abstract

This book is about the respective roles of intuition and reasoning in ethics. It responds to a number of well-known philosophers and psychologists, and proposes a new perspective – radical in its moderation. It examines in depth the work of the philosopher Joshua Greene and the psychologist Jonathan Haidt. With the so-called empirical turn in ethics, much work has been done to try to isolate the role of reason and intuition in forming our moral judgements, with Haidt and Greene leading the research programmes and attracting much of the professional and public attention, and many others following. The current view – shared by both camps – is that intuition is largely the driver of our moral judgements – a view summed up in Haidt’s slogan ‘intuition first, strategic reasoning second’. Haidt believes we have to live with this and accept it. Greene does not: he contends that our intuitions, while suitable for the environments in which we evolved, are worthless in the modern, global, technological age, and to avoid ethical disaster we must learn to adopt reason as the arbiter of moral truth. This book steers a middle course between these two positions and is therefore of great interest to philosophers and psychologists alike.

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Charles Foster
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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