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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Philosophical Studies1: These reasons do not apply to the concept of goodness. It expresses rather a certain philosophical disappointment that a definition can’t be offered. Let me begin critical evaluation by discussing Huemer’s taxonomy. One might say I know it because I know a general rule that all inferences of the form ‘ x is an A ; all A ‘s are B ; therefore, x is B ‘ are logically valid–but, in the first place, this would only push the question to how I know that rule to be valid, and in the second place, it would only introduce another inference I have to make: Second, intuition is a way in which we are aware of self-evident propositions, whereas self-evident propositions are the things that can be known in this way.

Moreover, upon introspecting, we notice that we do in fact have logical intuitions, and that they do in fact make us think some inferences to be valid.

I know p only if it is not a mere accident not a matter of chance that I am right about whether p. But if you get out a ruler and measure them, you will find them to be of the same length.

Ethical Intuitionism (book) – Wikipedia

Likewise, in ethical intuition, as a point of phenomenological fact, we find ourselves presented with moral properties and relationships, intuktionism with mental states. Perhaps the objection relies on the assumption that many people in fact do have the intuition that eating meat is not wrong. I accept those things on intellectual grounds. I am not looking at all the possible pairs of points and all the possible paths connecting each pair and seeing, with my eyes, that the straight path is the shortest in each case.


A more sophisticated worry intuitioinsm that what we think of as intuitions may be products of antecedently existing beliefs, perhaps via subconscious inferences.

Should the doctor kill the healthy patient and distribute his ethicla to the other five? The problem in this process is the stage of comparing dthical intuitions with the facts.

It is a general problem about a priori knowledge. This is a quite general problem in the theory of analysis, so if it applies to seemingly informative analyses of goodness, then that would reveal nothing distinctive about naturalistic analyses of moral terms.

The failure of this inference, in turn, is a victory for skepticism.

It initially seems that the top line is longer than the bottom line. This derives from our knowledge that spinsterhood contains or implies unmarriedness.

Intuitionism in Ethics

A Philosophical Defense of Clinical Reasoning. Admittedly, critics of intuitionism have not been without excuse in the above misunderstandings. If one accepts those intuitions, it would seem arbitrary not to accept ethical intuitions as well, at least prima facie. Those who make this argument would object to the reliance on intuitions across the board, and not merely to ethical intuitions.

But–leaving aside the interpretive question–a philosopher discussing a theory should address the strongest version of the theory, not the weakest. Where do these starting moral beliefs come from?


Michael Huemer, Ethical Intuitionism – PhilPapers

You tell him about the RU pill and ask whether it counts as abortion. For instance, we know a priori that all spinsters are unmarried.

If there were certain moral propositions that can be known if adequately understood, then, it is argued, people with an adequate understanding of them would believe them, and there would be universal assent amongst mature, comprehending people.

It may, however, be pressed that the causal impotency of moral properties causes problems for the analogy of intellectual seemings with perceptual seemings.

5 Moral Knowledge

It does not seem that the particular instance of redness in some particular red object could exist apart from that object any more than the particular instance of goodness of some good thing could. So one way to explain the different intuitions in Switch and Bridge is with reference to the doctrine of double effect.

Cambridge University Press, pp. Our intuitions about example 3 are clearer and more certain than those about examples 1 and 2. Intuitions, on the simpler view, are what we are inclined to believe, prior to reasoning. It is something that lemons, the sun, and school buses, among other things, all have in common.

Such facts involve an essentially a priori element. Bedke – – Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 2: But ethicao is the intuition that justifies, not the understanding.

One of the first was that it just begs the question against the naturalist.