This book is concerned with the role of intuitions in the justification of philosophical theory. The author begins by demonstrating how contemporary philosophers, whether engaged in case-driven analysis or seeking reflective equilibrium, rely on intuitions as evidence for their theories. The author then provides an account of the nature of philosophical intuitions and distinguishes them from other psychological states. Finally, the author defends the use of intuitions as evidence by demonstrating that arguments for skepticism about their evidential value are either (...) self-defeating or guilty of arbitrary and unjustified partiality towards non-intuitive modes of knowledge. (shrink)
Humans have a tendency to reason teleologically. This tendency is more pronounced under time pressure, in people with little formal schooling and in patients with Alzheimer’s. This has led some cognitive scientists of religion, notably Kelemen, to call intuitive teleological reasoning promiscuous, by which they mean teleology is applied to domains where it is unwarranted. We examine these claims using Kant’s idea of the transcendental illusion in the first Critique and his views on the regulative function of teleological reasoning in (...) the third Critique. We examine whether a Kantian framework can help resolve the tension between the apparent promiscuity of intuitive teleology and its role in human reasoning about biological organisms and natural kinds. (shrink)
The phenomenology of a priori intuition is explored at length (where a priori intuition is taken to be not a form of belief but rather a form of seeming, specifically intellectual as opposed to sensory seeming). Various reductive accounts of intuition are criticized, and Humean empiricism (which, unlike radical empiricism, does admit analyticity intuitions as evidence) is shown to be epistemically self-defeating. This paper also recapitulates the defense of the thesis of the Autonomy and Authority of Philosophy (...) given in the author’s “A Priori Knowledge and the Scope of Philosophy” (Philosophical Studies, 1996). (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)
Intuition in medical and moral reasoning -- Moral intuitionism -- The place of Aristotelian phronesis in clinical reasoning -- Aristotle's practical syllogism: accounting for the individual through a theory of action and cognition -- Individual and statistical physiognomy: the art and science of making the invisible visible -- Clinical intuition versus statistical reasoning -- Contingency and correlation: the significance of modeling clinical reasoning on statistics -- Abduction: the intuitive support of clinical induction -- Conclusion: medical ethics beyond ontology.
Elijah Chudnoff elaborates and defends a view of intuition according to which intuition purports to, and reveals, how matters stand in abstract reality by making us aware of that reality through the intellect. He explores the experience of having an intuition; justification for beliefs that derives from intuition; and contact with abstract reality.
In this thesis I seek to advance our understanding of what intuitions are. I argue that intuitions are experiences of a certain kind. In particular, they are experiences with representational content, and with a certain phenomenal character. -/- In Chapter 1 I identify our target and provide some important reliminaries. Intuitions are mental states, but which ones? Giving examples helps: a person has an intuition when it seems to her that torturing the innocent is wrong, or that if something (...) is red it is coloured. We can also provide an initial characterisation of the state by saying that it has representational content, often causes belief, and appears to justify belief. In addition, there is something it is like to have an intuition: intuition has a certain phenomenal character. -/- Some argue that intuition does not explain anything which cannot be explained by other mental states. One version of this view takes intuition to reduce to belief. In Chapter 2 I argue that this entails that agents are rationally criticisable in situations where we know they are not, and that such views are therefore untenable. A parallel argument shows that the corresponding approach to perception fails. This suggests a similarity in nature: both intuition and perception are experiences. -/- Others take intuition to reduce to a disposition to have a belief. In Chapter 3 I consider a line of argument against such views, find it unsuccessful, and present two new arguments. One is likely to be dialectically ineffective. The other suffers no such weakness: it shows that the proposed reduction fails. As before, the argument also applies to perception, and suggests that intuition and perception are both experiences. -/- In the remainder of the thesis I develop an account of intuition as an experience. I distinguish between content-specific and attitude-specific phenomenology, and argue that intuition lacks the former (Chapter 4), but has the latter (Chapter 5). This allows us to say what intuition is: it is is an experience with representational content and with attitude-specific phenomenology of a certain kind. -/- In Chapter 6 I put this account of intuition to use. When a person has a perceptual or intuitional experience, I argue that simply having the experience is what makes the subject justified in believing what the experience represents. Moreover, what explains that intuition and perception can justify belief in this way is precisely their phenomenal character. (shrink)
Linguistic intuitions are a central source of evidence across a variety of linguistic domains. They have also long been a source of controversy. This chapter aims to illuminate the etiology and evidential status of at least some linguistic intuitions by relating them to error signals of the sort posited by accounts of on-line monitoring of speech production and comprehension. The suggestion is framed as a novel reply to Michael Devitt’s claim that linguistic intuitions are theory-laden “central systems” responses, rather than (...) endorsed outputs of a modularized language faculty (the “Voice of Competence”). Along the way, it is argued that linguistic intuitions may not constitute a natural kind with a common etiology; and that, for a range of cases, the process by which intuitions used in linguistics are generated amounts to little more than comprehension. (shrink)
Ancients and moderns alike have constructed arguments and assessed theories on the basis of common sense and intuitive judgments. Yet, despite the important role intuitions play in philosophy, there has been little reflection on fundamental questions concerning the sort of data intuitions provide, how they are supposed to lead us to the truth, and why we should treat them as important. In addition, recent psychological research seems to pose serious challenges to traditional intuition-driven philosophical inquiry. Rethinking Intuition brings (...) together a distinguished group of philosophers and psychologists to discuss these important issues. Students and scholars in both fields will find this book to be of great value. (shrink)
Much recent work on philosophical methodology has focused on whether we should accept evidence: the claim that philosophers use intuitive judgments about cases as evidence for/against philosophical theories. This paper outlines a new way of thinking about the philosophical method of appealing to cases such that evidence is true but not as it is typically understood. The idea proposed is that, when philosophers appeal to cases, they are engaged in a project of conceptual engineering and that, within that project, intuitions (...) about cases provide evidence as to the normative constraints which are relevant within that project. The paper demonstrates that this is a feasible interpretation of the way that cases are appealed to in recent journal issues, and makes the case that this would be a better way to think of what philosophers are doing when they appeal to cases. (shrink)
We argue that many intuitions do not have conscious propositional contents. In particular, many of the intuitions had in response to philosophical thought experiments, like Gettier cases, do not have such contents. They are more like hunches, urgings, murky feelings, and twinges. Our view thus goes against the received view of intuitions in philosophy, which we call Mainstream Propositionalism. Our positive view is that many thought-experimental intuitions are conscious, spontaneous, non-theoretical, non-propositional psychological states that often motivate belief revision, but they (...) require interpretation, in light of background beliefs, before a subject can form a propositional judgment as a consequence of them. We call our view Interpretationalism. We argue (i) that Interpretationalism avoids the problems that beset Mainstream Propositionalism and (ii) that our view meshes well with empirical results in contemporary cognitive science. (shrink)
Modal intuitions are not only the primary source of modal knowledge but also the primary source of modal error. An explanation of how modal error arises — and, in particular, how erroneous modal intuitions arise — is an essential part of a comprehensive theory of knowledge and evidence. This chapter begins with a summary of certain preliminaries: the phenomenology of intuitions, their fallibility, the nature of concept-understanding and its relationship to the reliability of intuitions, and so forth. It then identifies (...) two sources of modal error: the first has to do with the failure to distinguish between metaphysical possibility and various kinds of epistemic possibility; the second, with the local misunderstanding of one's concepts. The first source of error is widely misunderstood; the second source has not been discussed in philosophical literature. This source of modal error, and the potential to overcome it, has wide-ranging implications for philosophical method. The failure to understand these sources of modal error has recently led to sceptical accounts of intuition and modal error, which are, ultimately self-defeating. (shrink)
There are ways that ethical intuitions might be, and the various possibilities have epistemic ramifications. This paper criticizes some extant accounts of what ethical intuitions are and how they justify, and it offers an alternative account. Roughly, an ethical intuition that p is a kind of seeming state constituted by a consideration whether p, attended by positive phenomenological qualities that count as evidence for p, and so a reason to believe that p. They are distinguished from other kinds of (...) seemings, such as those which are content driven (e.g., the sensory experience that a stick in water seems bent) and those which are competence driven (e.g., the intellectual seeming that XYZ is not water, or that one of DeMorgan’s laws is true). One important conclusion is this: when crafting a positive theory of justification ethical intuitionists have fewer resources than intuitionists in other domains, not because of the subject matter of ethical intuitions, but because of the their structure. A second conclusion is that the seemings featured in substantive ethical intuitions deliver relatively weak justification as compared to other seeming states. (shrink)
What are intuitions? According to doxastic views, they are doxastic attitudes or dispositions, such as judgments or inclinations to make judgments. According to perceptualist views, they are—like perceptual experiences—pre-doxastic experiences that—unlike perceptual experiences—represent abstract matters as being a certain way. In this paper I argue against doxasticism and in favor of perceptualism. I describe two features that militate against doxasticist views of perception itself: perception is belief-independent and perception is presentational. Then I argue that intuitions also have both features. The (...) upshot is that intuitions are importantly similar to perceptual experiences, and so should not be identified with doxastic attitudes or dispositions. I consider a popular argument from the introspective absence of sui generis intuition experiences in favor of doxasticism. I develop a conception of intuition experiences that helps to defuse this argument. (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)
In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition are strong arguments just in case there is an agreement among the relevant philosophers concerning the intuition in question. Otherwise, appeals to intuition are weak arguments.
This paper pioneers the use of methods and findings from psycholinguistics in experimental philosophy’s ‘sources project’. On this basis, it clarifies the epistemological relevance of empirical findings about intuitions – a key methodological challenge to experimental philosophy. The sources project (aka ‘cognitive epistemology of intuitions’) seeks to develop psychological explanations of philosophically relevant intuitions, which help us assess their evidentiary value. One approach seeks explanations which trace relevant intuitions back to automatic cognitive processes that are generally reliable but predictably generate (...) cognitive illusions under specific vitiating circumstances. The paper develops and experimentally tests such an explanation for intuitions at the root of a historically influential paradox about perception (‘argument from illusion’). The explanation traces these intuitions to stereotype-driven amplification, an automatic process routinely involved in language comprehension (e.g., understanding philosophical case-descriptions). Distributional semantics analysis and a forced-choice plausibility ranking task are employed to establish the relevant verb-associated stereotypes. The paper argues that the inferences facilitated by these stereotypes are generally reliable, but shows that vitiating circumstances obtain in the formulation of the targeted paradox. On this basis, the paper explores two complementary strategies for assessing the evidentiary value of intuitive judgments. (shrink)
Some approaches to the assessment of moral intuitions are discussed. The controlled ethical trial isolates a moral issue from confounding factors and thereby clarifies what a person's intuition actually is. Casuistic reasoning from situations, where intuitions are clear, suggests or modifies principles, which can then help to make decisions in situations where intuitions are unclear. When intuitions are defended by a supporting principle, that principle can be tested by finding extreme cases, in which it is counterintuitive to follow the (...) principle. An approach to the resolution of conflict between valid moral principles, specifically the utilitarian and justice principles, is considered. It is argued that even those who justify intuitions by a priori principles are often obliged to modify or support their principles by resort to the consideration of consequences. (shrink)
The literature on mathematics suggests that intuition plays a role in it as a ground of belief. This article explores the nature of intuition as it occurs in mathematical thinking. Section 1 suggests that intuitions should be understood by analogy with perceptions. Section 2 explains what fleshing out such an analogy requires. Section 3 discusses Kantian ways of fleshing it out. Section 4 discusses Platonist ways of fleshing it out. Section 5 sketches a proposal for resolving the main (...) problem facing Platonists—the problem of explaining how our experiences make contact with mathematical reality. (shrink)
Concerns about philosophical methodology have emerged as a central issue in contemporary philosophical discussions. In this volume, Tamar Gendler draws together fourteen essays that together illuminate this topic. Three intertwined themes connect the essays. First, each of the chapters focuses, in one way or another, on how we engage with subject matter that we take to be imaginary. This theme is explored in a wide range of cases, including scientific thought experiments, early childhood pretense, thought experiments concerning personal identity, fictional (...) emotions, self-deception, Gettier and fake barn cases, the relation of belief to other attitudes, and the connection between conceivability and possibility. Second, each of the chapters explores, in one way or another, the implications of this for how thought experiments and appeals to intuition can serve as mechanisms for supporting or refuting scientific or philosophical claims. Third, each of the chapters self-consciously exhibits a particular philosophical methodology: that of drawing both on empirical findings from contemporary psychology, and on classic texts in the philosophical tradition By exploring and exhibiting the fruitfulness of these interactions, Gendler promotes the value of engaging in such cross-disciplinary conversations to illuminate philosophical questions. (shrink)
This entry addresses the nature and epistemological role of intuition by considering the following questions: (1) What are intuitions?, (2) What roles do they serve in philosophical (and other “armchair”) inquiry?, (3) Ought they serve such roles?, (4) What are the implications of the empirical investigation of intuitions for their proper roles?, and (5) What is the content of intuitions prompted by the consideration of hypothetical cases?
Linguists take the intuitive judgments of speakers to be good evidence for a grammar. Why? The Chomskian answer is that they are derived by a rational process from a representation of linguistic rules in the language faculty. The paper takes a different view. It argues for a naturalistic and non-Cartesian view of intuitions in general. They are empirical central-processor responses to phenomena differing from other such responses only in being immediate and fairly unreflective. Applying this to linguistic intuitions yields an (...) explanation of their evidential role without any appeal to the representation of rules. Introduction The evidence for linguistic theories A tension in the linguists' view of intuitions Intuitions in general Linguistic intuitions Comparison of the modest explanation with the standard Cartesian explanation A nonstandard Cartesian explanation of the role of intuitions? Must linguistics explain intuitions? Conclusion. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that appeals to intuition are weak arguments because intellectual intuition is an unreliable belief-forming process, since it yields incompatible verdicts in response to the same cases, and since the inference from 'It seems to S that p' to 'p' is unreliable. Since the reliability of intellectual intuition is a necessary condition for strong appeals to intuition, it follows that appeals to intuition are weak arguments.
Moral intuitions are strong, stable, immediate moral beliefs. Moral philosophers ask when they are justified. This question cannot be answered separately from a psychological question: How do moral intuitions arise? Their reliability depends upon their source. This chapter develops and argues for a new theory of how moral intuitions arise—that they arise through heuristic processes best understood as unconscious attribute substitutions. That is, when asked whether something has the attribute of moral wrongness, people unconsciously substitute a different question about a (...) separate but related heuristic attribute (such as emotional impact). Evidence for this view is drawn from psychology and neuroscience, and competing views of moral heuristics are contrasted. It is argued that moral intuitions are not direct perceptions and, in many cases, are unreliable sources of evidence for moral claims. (shrink)
In this paper I explicate the notion of “presence” [Gegenwart] as it pertains to intuition. Specifically, I examine two central problems for the position that an empirical intuition is an immediate relation to an existing particular in one’s environment. The first stems from Kant’s description of the faculty of imagination, while the second stems from Kant’s discussion of hallucination. I shall suggest that Kant’s writings indicate at least one possible means of reconciling our two problems with a conception (...) of “presence” such that perceptual and hallucinatory states might be understood as different kinds of intuition. This may not be sufficient to secure the relationalist’s claim that intuition is an immediate relation to an existing particular in one’s environment, but it does show that opposition to this claim will require further argument. (shrink)
Many epistemologists use intuitive responses to particular cases as evidence for their theories. Recently, experimental philosophers have challenged the evidential value of intuitions, suggesting that our responses to particular cases are unstable, inconsistent with the responses of the untrained, and swayed by factors such as ethnicity and gender. This paper presents evidence that neither gender nor ethnicity influence epistemic intuitions, and that the standard responses to Gettier cases and the like are widely shared. It argues that epistemic intuitions are produced (...) by the natural ‘mindreading’ capacity that underpins ordinary attributions of belief and knowledge in everyday social interaction. Although this capacity is fallible, its weaknesses are similar to the weaknesses of natural capacities such as sensory perception. Experimentalists who do not wish to be skeptical about ordinary empirical methods have no good reason to be skeptical about epistemic intuitions. (shrink)
Advocates of the use of intuitions in philosophy argue that they are treated as evidence because they are evidential. Their opponents agree that they are treated as evidence, but argue that they should not be so used, since they are the wrong kinds of things. In contrast to both, we argue that, despite appearances, intuitions are not treated as evidence in philosophy whether or not they should be. Our positive account is that intuitions are a subclass of inclinations to believe. (...) Our thesis explains why intuitions play a role in persuasion and inquiry, without conceding that they are evidential. The account also makes predictions about the structure of intuitions that are confirmed by independent arguments. (shrink)
It is often called “the problem of free will and determinism,” as if the only thing that might challenge free will is determinism and as if determinism is obviously a problem. The traditional debates about free will have proceeded accordingly. Typically, incompatibilists about free will and determinism suggest that their position is intuitive or commonsensical, such that compatibilists have the burden of showing how, despite appearances, the problem of determinism is not really a problem. Compatibilists, in turn, tend to proceed (...) as if showing that determinism is not a problem thereby shows that we have free will, as if determinism is the only thing that might threaten free will. In this chapter, I reject both of these elements of the traditional debate; the question of whether we have free will should neither begin nor end with the so-called problem of determinism. I present and discuss evidence from a variety of studies that suggests that incompatibilism is not particularly intuitive. Most people do not have to be talked out of incompatibilism but rather talked into it. This provides some reasons—though certainly not decisive reasons—to think that compatibilism is true. I conclude by pointing out that, even if compatibilism were true, it would not dissolve the problem of free will, because there are problems other than determinism that need to be confronted—namely, challenges to free will suggested by current and “future science,” including neuroscience and psychology. The threats to free will suggested by these sciences are distinct from the traditional threat of determinism, and they are the ones that “ordinary persons” find intuitively threatening to free will. In fact, I will argue that the reason incompatibilism about free will and determinism appears to be intuitive is that determinism is often and easily misunderstood to involve these distinct threats to free will—threats that suggest that our rational, conscious mental activity is bypassed in the process of our making decisions and coming to act. (shrink)
In epistemology, fake-barn thought experiments are often taken to be intuitively clear cases in which a justified true belief does not qualify as knowledge. We report a study designed to determine whether non-philosophers share this intuition. The data suggest that while participants are less inclined to attribute knowledge in fake-barn cases than in unproblematic cases of knowledge, they nonetheless do attribute knowledge to protagonists in fake-barn cases. Moreover, the intuition that fake-barn cases do count as knowledge is negatively (...) correlated with age; older participants are less likely than younger participants to attribute knowledge in fake-barn cases. We also found that increasing the number of defeaters (fakes) does not decrease the inclination to attribute knowledge. (shrink)
In Philosophy Without Intuitions Herman Cappelen argues that unlike what is commonly thought, contemporary analytic philosophers do not typically rely on intuitions as evidence. If they do indeed rely on intuitions, that should be evident from their written works, either explicitly in the form of ‘intuition’ talk or by means of other indicators. However, Cappelen argues, while philosophers do engage in ‘intuition’ talk, that is not a good indicator that they rely on intuitions, as ‘intuition’ and its (...) cognates have many meanings that are irrelevant to this particular question. He identifies three other indicators and argues by appeal to case studies that these indicators are not present. I argue here that an account of intuitions as intellectual seemings draws attention to intuition features that Cappelen does not consider. These intuition features appear to be regularly present in the works of contemporary analytic philosophers. (shrink)
The standard view of philosophical methodology is that philosophers rely on intuitions as evidence. Herman Cappelen argues that this claim is false: it is not true that philosophers rely extensively on intuitions as evidence. At worst, analytic philosophers are guilty of engaging in somewhat irresponsible use of 'intuition'-vocabulary. While this irresponsibility has had little effect on first order philosophy, it has fundamentally misled meta-philosophers: it has encouraged meta-philosophical pseudo-problems and misleading pictures of what philosophy is.
It seems to many that moral opinions must make a difference to what we’re motivated to do, at least in suitable conditions. For others, it seems that it is possible to have genuine moral opinions that make no motivational difference. Both sides – internalists and externalists about moral motivation – can tell persuasive stories of actual and hypothetical cases. My proposal for a kind of reconciliation is to distinguish between two kinds of psychological states with moral content. There are both (...) moral thoughts or opinions that intrinsically motivate, and moral thoughts or opinions that don’t. The thoughts that intrinsically motivate are moral intuitions – spontaneous and compelling non-doxastic appearances of right or wrong that both attract assent and incline us to act or react. I argue that there is good reason to think that these intuitions, but not moral judgments, are constituted by manifestations of moral sentiments. The moral thoughts that do not intrinsically motivate are moral beliefs, which are in themselves as inert as any ordinary beliefs. Thus, roughly, internalism is true about intuitions and externalism is true about beliefs or judgments. (shrink)
Here I criticise Audi's account of self-evidece. I deny that understanding of a proposition can justify belief in it and offfer an account of intuition that can take the place of understanding in an account of self-evidence.
Psychologists and philosophers use the term 'intuition' for a variety of different phenomena. In this paper, I try to provide a kind of a roadmap of the debates, point to some confusions and problems, and give a brief sketch of an empirically respectable philosophical approach.
Intuitive judgments elicited by verbal case-descriptions play key roles in philosophical problem-setting and argument. Experimental philosophy's ‘sources project’ seeks to develop psychological explanations of philosophically relevant intuitions which help us assess our warrant for accepting them. This article develops a psycholinguistic explanation of intuitions prompted by philosophical case-descriptions. For proof of concept, we target intuitions underlying a classic paradox about perception, trace them to stereotype-driven inferences automatically executed in verb comprehension, and employ a forced-choice plausibility-ranking task to elicit the relevant (...) stereotypical associations of perception- and appearance-verbs. We obtain a debunking explanation that resolves the philosophical paradox. (shrink)
According to a widely held view, a Kantian intuition functions like a singular term. I argue that this view is false. Its apparent plausibility, both textual and philosophical, rests on attributing to Kant a Fregean conception of judgment. I show that Kant does not hold a Fregean conception of judgment and argue that, as a consequence, intuition cannot be understood on analogy with singular terms.
Experimental restrictionists have challenged philosophers’ reliance on intuitions about thought experiment cases based on experimental findings. According to the expertise defense, only the intuitions of philosophical experts count—yet the bulk of experimental philosophy consists in studies with lay people. In this paper, we argue that direct strategies for assessing the expertise defense are preferable to indirect strategies. A direct argument in support of the expertise defense would have to show: first, that there is a significant difference between expert and lay (...) intuitions; second, that expert intuitions are superior to lay intuitions; and third, that expert intuitions accord with the relevant philosophical consensus. At present, there is only little experimental evidence that bears on these issues. To advance the debate, we conducted two new experiments on intuitions about knowledge with experts and lay people. Our results suggest that the intuitions of epistemological experts are superior in some respects, but they also pose an unexpected challenge to the expertise defense. Most strikingly, we found that even epistemological experts tend to ascribe knowledge in fake-barn-style cases. This suggests that philosophy, as a discipline, might fail to adequately map the intuitions of its expert practitioners onto a disciplinary consensus. (shrink)
Epistemic invariantism is the view that the truth conditions of knowledge ascriptions don’t vary across contexts. Epistemic purism is the view that purely practical factors can’t directly affect the strength of your epistemic position. The combination of purism and invariantism, pure invariantism, is the received view in contemporary epistemology. It has lately been criticized by contextualists, who deny invariantism, and impurists, who deny purism. A central charge against pure invariantism is that it poorly accommodates linguistic intuitions about certain cases. In (...) this paper I develop a new response to this charge. I propose that pure invariantists can explain the relevant linguistic intuitions on the grounds that they track the propriety of indirect speech acts, in particular indirect requests and denials. [Note: this paper was written in 2010-11.]. (shrink)
Moral intuitions are generally understood as automatic strong responses to moral facts. In this paper, I offer a metacognitive account according to which the strength of moral intuitions denotes the level of confidence of a subject. Confidence is a metacognitive appraisal of the fluency with which a subject processes information from a morally salient stimulus. I show that this account is supported by some empirical evidence, explains the main features of moral intuition, and is preferable to emotional or quasi-perceptual (...) views of moral intuition. (shrink)
This book examines the evidential status and use of linguistic intuitions, a topic that has seen increased interest in recent years. Linguists use native speakers' intuitions - such as whether or not an utterance sounds acceptable - as evidence for theories about language, but this approach is not uncontroversial. The two parts of this volume draw on the most recent work in both philosophy and linguistics to explore the two major issues at the heart of the debate. Chapters in the (...) first part address the 'justification question', critically analysing and evaluating the theoretical rationale for the evidential use of linguistic intuitions. The second part discusses recent developments in the domain of experimental syntax, focusing on the question of whether formal and systematic models of gathering intuitions are epistemically and methodologically superior to the informal methods that have traditionally been used. -/- The volume provides valuable insights into whether and how linguistic intuitions can be used in theorizing about language, and will be of interest to graduate students and researchers in linguistics, philosophy, and cognitive science. (shrink)
In this paper I assume that we have some intuitive knowledge—i.e. beliefs that amount to knowledge because they are based on intuitions. The question I take up is this: given that some intuition makes a belief based on it amount to knowledge, in virtue of what does it do so? We can ask a similar question about perception. That is: given that some perception makes a belief based on it amount to knowledge, in virtue of what does it do (...) so? A natural idea about perception is that a perception makes a belief amount to knowledge in part by making you sensorily aware of the concrete objects it is about. The analogous idea about intuition is that an intuition makes a belief amount to knowledge in part by making you intellectually aware of the abstract objects it is about. I expand both ideas into fuller accounts of perceptual and intuitive knowledge, explain the main challenge to this sort of account of intuitive knowledge (i.e. the challenge of making sense of intellectual awareness), and develop a response to it. (shrink)
Experimental philosophers have empirically challenged the connection between intuition and philosophical expertise. This paper reviews these challenges alongside other research findings in cognitive science on expert performance and argues for three claims. First, evidence taken to challenge philosophical expertise may also be explained by the well-researched failures and limitations of genuine expertise. Second, studying the failures and limitations of experts across many fields provides a promising research program upon which to base a new model of philosophical expertise. Third, a (...) model of philosophical expertise based on the limitations of genuine experts may suggest a series of constraints on the reliability of professional philosophical intuition. Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken. — Bertrand Russell, On the Value of Scepticism. (shrink)
"Intuition" has perhaps been the least understood and the most abused term in philosophy. It is often the term used when one has no plausible explanation for the source of a given belief or opinion. According to some sceptics, it is understood only in terms of what it is not, and it is not any of the better understood means for acquiring knowledge. In mathematics the term has also unfortunately been used in this way. Thus, intuition is sometimes (...) portrayed as if it were the Third Eye, something only mathematical "mystics", like Ramanujan, possess. In mathematics the notion has also been used in a host of other senses: by "intuitive" one might mean informal, or non-rigourous, or visual, or holistic, or incomplete, or perhaps even convincing in spite of lack of proof. My aim in this book is to sweep all of this aside, to argue that there is a perfectly coherent, philosophically respectable notion of mathematical intuition according to which intuition is a condition necessary for mathemati cal knowledge. I shall argue that mathematical intuition is not any special or mysterious kind of faculty, and that it is possible to make progress in the philosophical analysis of this notion. This kind of undertaking has a precedent in the philosophy of Kant. While I shall be mostly developing ideas about intuition due to Edmund Husser! there will be a kind of Kantian argument underlying the entire book. (shrink)
Intuitions play a critical role in analytical philosophical activity. But do they qualify as genuine evidence for the sorts of conclusions philosophers seek? Skeptical arguments against intuitions are reviewed, and a variety of ways of trying to legitimate them are considered. A defense is offered of their evidential status by showing how their evidential status can be embedded in a naturalistic framework.
: Psychological explanations of philosophical intuitions can help us assess their evidentiary value, and our warrant for accepting them. To explain and assess conceptual or classificatory intuitions about specific situations, some philosophers have suggested explanations which invoke heuristic rules proposed by cognitive psychologists. The present paper extends this approach of intuition assessment by heuristics-based explanation, in two ways: It motivates the proposal of a new heuristic, and shows that this metaphor heuristic helps explain important but neglected intuitions: general factual (...) intuitions which have been highly influential in the philosophies of mind and perception but neglected in on-going debates in the epistemology of philosophy. To do so, the paper integrates results from three philosophically pertinent but hitherto largely unconnected strands of psychological research: research on intuitive judgement, analogy and metaphor, and memory-based processing, respectively. The paper shows that the heuristics-based explanation thus obtained satisfies the key requirements cognitive psychologists impose on such explanations, that it can explain the philosophical intuitions targeted, and that this explanation supports normative assessment of the intuitions' evidentiary value: It reveals whether particular intuitions are due to proper exercise of cognitive competencies or constitute cognitive illusions. (shrink)