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.

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Such defeating evidence would consist either of evidence directly against the proposition that intuitively seemed true, or of evidence that our initial intuition was unreliable.

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. Robert Frazier – manuscript. This concept only picks out intuiitonism surface features of water, such as its being clear, odourless, tasteless, etc.

That is enough for me to be justified in believing there is a glass of water, in the absence of any countervailing evidence. One might doubt that there are any such reasons. Huemer’s Principle of Phenomenal Conservatism is spelled out, as the name suggests, entirely in terms of the phenomenal understanding of ‘seems’ statements.

Moral Knowledge

Doubtless Mackie would say it is intuition in general that is weird and utterly different from other means of knowing. But even these philosophers, when confronted with the example, admit that their answer is counter-intuitive, that it seems wrong to kill the healthy intuitioniem and harvest his organs.

We may cease to have any tendency to believe something we initially found plausible, but there are other possibilities.

Any kind of reasoning thus depends upon intuition, including the reasoning the reader is doing at the moment, and including any reasoning that might be deployed to impugn the reliability of intuition.

The function of sensory experiences, memory experiences, and intuitions is thus merely that of pieces of evidence from which we attempt to infer conclusions about extra-mental reality.


How to cite this entry. Philosophical Studies1: Another reason is that some intuitions have simpler contents than others, and are therefore less prone to error. Indeed, it would be hard to devise a theory less faithful to the appearances. Skeptics disagree; global skeptics will deny that there is any condition that enables a belief to be justified in the absence of reasons for it.

Some philosophers will say I have oversimplified this issue. So intuitionizm are no self-evident moral propositions. Clearas opposed to confused. This would not undermine my claim to solve Benacerraf’s problem. They don’t explain what that flaw is. What is hiemer to you may not be obvious to me. Thus, no problem for intuitionism is generated by citing examples of moral principles that rest on reasoning, nor by citing moral principles that are less than per cent certain.

There is a more general condition on knowledge that everyone in epistemology accepts: 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. Since this is such a striking omission, it is worth asking where Kantian theories would fit in Huemer’s taxonomy.

Suppose I seem to see a glass of water on the table. To begin rthical, I propose that having a clear, consistent, and determinate concept is sufficient for one’s grasping a universal or universals. Granted, this follows from my theory. Imagine someone arguing about abortion. Price concedes that certain feelings may attend our apprehension of right and wrong, but these impressions are merely the consequence of our perception of right and wrong.

The feeling that Huemer may occasionally be giving short shrift to a view about which more might be said could be reinforced by the fact that Huemer covers a great many complex issues — in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of intujtionism, philosophical psychology — in a comparatively brief compass.

As these authors view things, claiming that some at least of the propositions intuited are self-evident does not gain intuitionists anything.

We know what we mean by certain concepts by a priori reflection, ethlcal the nature of the things to which these concepts refer can only be discovered by empirical investigation. Intuittionism would be a problem for someone who wants to maintain that eating meat is wrong, just as it would be a problem for someone who thinks the sky is blue if many people looked up and saw different colors.


Subjectively we cannot tell one from the other, but they are, one might argue, very different states.

But if Intuitionism is such a plausible theory, as he and I agree, why has it until recently had such a bad press? What relevance could 1 possibly bear to 2?

That is, an intuition that p is a state of its seeming to one that p that is not dependent on inference from other beliefs and that results from thinking about pas opposed to perceiving, remembering, or introspecting. Furthermore, if intuitions are intellectual seemings, one might ask why certain moral propositions seem true whereas others do not.

5 Moral Knowledge

Enjoyment is better than suffering. When we think of something as good we do not think of it merely as having certain effects on us, or as picking out certain surface properties the property of goodness has, but think of it as having a distinctive characteristic. One thing worthy of note is that these cases test intuitions about our overall moral judgements—that is, about what we should, or may do in certain circumstances.

This belief is not obviously confused, but the examples of heat and water seem to show that it cannot be accepted as it stands. One of the most distinctive features of Ethical Intuitionism is its epistemology.

Statement B is obviously not convention-dependent in that way. Hyemer intuition simply followed moral belief, then it could not help us decide which moral beliefs are correct p.