Ethical Intuitionism is a book (hardcover release: , paperback release: ) by University of Colorado philosophy professor Michael Huemer. Michael Huemer. University of Colorado, Boulder. Abstract. This book defends a form of ethical intuitionism, according to which (i) there are objective moral. In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in Ethical Intuitionism, ( ), Bedke (), Huemer (), Shafer-Landau (), Stratton-lake.
What determines the degree to which an intuitive belief is prima facie justified? Critics may claim that this analysis is just as plausible as Ewing’s, and leaves room for an alternative, naturalist account of the property that explains my approval. In so far as this is a concept of a natural substance, the empirical sciences are far better suited to tell us the nature of this substance than a priori reflection. A related idea in the philosophy of perception called ‘the transparency of experience’ holds that the way we determine the properties of our sensory experiences is by looking at the objects we’re perceiving; when we try to look at our experiences, we just ‘see through’ them to the objects they represent.
Moore’s argument has a great deal of intuitive force, but has been subject to various objections, and it is not clear that all of them can be answered.
Intuitionism in Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Similarly, a non-obvious naturalistic definition of good may fail the open question test even though intuitionusm is true. He should say that for some moral truths, we need no evidence, since we are directly aware of them, and that awareness takes the form of intuitions; that is, intuitions just partly constitute our awareness of moral facts.
It is conspicuously absent from his list of our ‘ordinary’ ways of knowing things. Some moral truths are known intuitively; that is, non-inferentially, but not through sense-experience.
If intuition simply followed moral belief, then it could not help us decide which moral beliefs are correct p. Why does Huemer not go for the simpler solution?
Sinnott-Armstrong claims that results from empirical psychology show that most of our moral beliefs are false, because they have been formed by an unreliable process If we take beliefs to be prima facie justified on the basis of appearances, then it is unclear why intuitive beliefs should be thought to require checking, in the absence of any positive grounds for doubting them.
First, the view that intuitions are or are caused by beliefs fails to explain the origin of our moral beliefs. The difference in people’s intuitions between Bridge and Trap Door casts serious doubt on the deontologist’s explanation of the difference in their intuitions about Switch and Bridge.
One argument for such a view is that normative practical reasons must be the sort wthical thing from which we can act. Furthermore, we saw examples intultionism section 5. Beliefs aren’t immediate apprehensions of anything, ethidal they may be based huemed such apprehensions.
But then the problem is not with the non-natural nature of moral properties, but is one within moral psychology, and involves the debate between those who endorse a Humean theory of motivation, and those who deny this.
Science does intuitionosm inform us that boiling them alive is wrong. It is worth noting that moral disagreement does not imply that people have different intuitions. Ross denied that we can ever know what we ought to do, and rejected the view that there could be strictly universal, self-evident principles specifying what we ought to do. It is the concept of a property that has certain characteristic effects on us and on other things, but does not aim to tell us about the nature of the property that has those effects.
The discussion is rather convoluted and sometimes a little hard to follow, but these are muddy waters indeed. To be sure that a proposition is self-evident it must: Paul Benacerraf originally raised it as a problem about mathematics: It is not the case that a nuclear war would be bad. Some philosophers maintain that knowledge of a thing requires some kind of interaction with it.
Rather, they believe intuition is somehow special, in a way that subjects it to a general demand for justifying grounds, a demand from which perception, memory, introspection, and reasoning are exempt. First, it is so easy to enumerate what appear on their face to be counter-examples to the thesis of empiricism, and at the same time so difficult to find arguments for the thesis, that the underlying motivation for the doctrine can only be assumed to be a prejudice.
When subjects have considered Bridge first, they are more likely to say that it would be wrong to pull the lever in Switch. I say I have simplified but not oversimplified; the existence of universals is a trivial truth. She may regard her deontological intuitions as giving her some justification for believing that it would be wrong to harvest the organs to save five, but presumably would regard the appeal of the consequentialist theory as a whole as outweighing this justification.
I note two things about this account. Of course, attempting to hueker arguments for these things would simply lead me to ask how we know the premises of those arguments. Whether this account helps intuitionists will depend on a more general metaphilosophical debate about the role of intuitions in philosophy, and whether intuitions justify.
He may, that is, fail to distinguish these two concepts. A particular event might become or cease to be good by, for example, becoming or ceasing to be pleasurable; but the abstract fact that enjoyment is good cannot cease to obtain. I might plead that it is not the moral philosopher’s job to answer this.
Critics of intuitionism may, however, object that in so far as Ross’s theory does not tell us ethidal we ought to do, it does intuitoinism give us what we want from a moral theory.
For Socrates’ sake, I think we should shift to conventions of that kind. The above was addressed to a distinct problem, the problem of why, even if true and justified, our moral beliefs would intuuitionism be merely accidentally true.
Some think that intuitions are just beliefs, and thus that ‘intuition’ does not name a way of knowing anything, 8 for we do not want to say that merely by believing something, I know it. That seems to be something that cannot be known empirically. I turn now to his moral epistemology. If coming to see that something is good is coming to see that we have reason to have a pro-attitude towards it, then it would be no surprise if rational individuals come to have a pro-attitude towards perceived goods, any more than it would be surprising if rational beings come to do what they judge they ought to do.
This definition can be understood in terms of particular instances of some property or in terms of the universal—the property itself. A more natural view is that we are first of all aware of things –that is, external things.
Moore claims that we can test any naturalistic definition of goodness by asking whether something that has those natural properties is good, and then seeing whether this ethifal is open or closed. Why do you think that agony is bad? For instance, we may have moral intuitions about concrete cases, such as various trolley cases see below and various anti-consequentialist counter-examples.
Either way it does not distinguish natural from non-natural properties as Moore thought. I am not sure how I would go about intuitioniam on the reliability of introspection by non-introspective means, and I do not believe I have ever done so.
I accept those things on intellectual grounds. Intuitionism does not hold that from ‘I have an intuition that p ‘ one may infer ‘ p ‘; nor does the principle of Phenomenal Conservatism hold that ‘It seems to me that p ‘ is a reason for ‘ p ‘.
I have a sensory experience of x. All they need do is identify what it is about certain concepts, like etical concepts of water and heat, that provides us with reasons to think that the intuitinism properties are different, and then argue that these reasons do not apply to the concept of goodness.