Michael Huemer. University of Colorado, Boulder. Abstract. This book defends a form of ethical intuitionism, according to which (i) there are objective moral. Ethical Intuitionism is a book (hardcover release: , paperback release: ) by University of Colorado philosophy professor Michael Huemer. Ethical Intuitionism was one of the dominant forces in British moral Michael Huemer, David McNaughton, and Russ Shafer-Landau, are now.

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Moral Perception in Normative Ethics. The role of conditions 13and 5 in the theory of justification is that of conditions under which certain beliefs–respectively, those expressed by 24and 6 — require no evidencerather than that of evidence supporting those beliefs. With this jargon in hand they argue that Sinnott-Armstrong’s argument conflates the belief’s justification being supported by an inference with the belief itself being supported by an inference. If one accepts Phenomenal Conservatism, the natural view to take is that the more obvious something seems, the stronger is wthical prima facie justification.

Right now I just want to use this argument to illustrate a general epistemological point. If such properties could be understood naturalistically, e. Y Yellow is a color. Ballantyne and Thurow illustrate this point with ethial following non-moral example.

So it looks like our intuitions can be distorted by a second source.

The point that intuition is often independent of belief is important, since it enables intuition to provide the sort of constraint needed for adjudicating between competing moral theories. Some philosophers the ‘nominalists’ say that the only thing multiple particulars have in common is that we apply the same word or idea to them. 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.

Ross, for example, uses the notion of apprehension, but he tends to base his moral theory largely on our considered moral convictions.

This mystery may stem from the idea that non-natural properties lack causal powers. We may cease to have any tendency to believe something intuitionixm initially found plausible, but there are other possibilities.

This derives from our knowledge that spinsterhood contains or implies unmarriedness. We cannot perform such a comparison, since we have no way of accessing physical reality without relying on sensory experience.


Such variance in degrees of clarity allows that a self-evident proposition may be imperfectly and obscurely grasped, and this may lead someone to deny its truth. But all intuitionists maintained that at least one of these moral properties is simple, or indefinable.

5 Moral Knowledge

Convictions are, however, a certain type of belief rather than an intellectual apprehension, or seeming. But the intuitionists seem to object to naturalistic accounts of moral properties in precisely this way. These points are difficult to square with the contention that both statements are justified in the same way, by the mere failure to observe a counter-example. For he allows that there are simple ideas of natural properties, and huwmer some of these, such as causality and equality, are grasped by the understanding rather than sensibility.

Michael Huemer, Ethical Intuitionism – PhilPapers

But some moral judgments are about as plausible as anything is. We need reasons for believing our ethical intuitions, or the faculty of intuition in general, to be reliable. Here are two famous hypothetical examples from the ethics literature: This is easily missed, as we tend to identify intuitions with the beliefs based on them, rather than with the intellectual seemings on which those beliefs are based.

My view of humeer priori knowledge has four main elements. Ben Eggleston – – Southwest Philosophy Review 19 2: Since all judgment and reasoning presupposes Phenomenal Conservatism, a rejection of Phenomenal Conservatism amounts to a general philosophical skepticism. If the sense of mystery of the intuitionist notion of goodness stems from its unanalysability, then this sense of mystery will not apply to these intuitionists’ concept of goodness, even though it is still a non-naturalist conception.

This is because such facts would be unlike any other facts of which we know. Intuitinoism, to come back to Intuitioniwm problem: Presumably, it more sthical seems to you that the result of measuring the lines is accurate than that the result of eyeballing them is, so you believe the measurement result this may have to do with background beliefs you have about the reliability of different procedures–which would themselves be based upon the way huemerr things seem to you.

But if intuitions are intellectual seemings, then they may be able to justify the beliefs based on them. I think similar arguments apply to all possible kinds of alleged knowledge, but I will leave it at those two examples.


One possible response to this argument is that we need not have a priori knowledge of truths of logic, such as that a given inference is valid; instead, it would be enough for us to have an innate disposition to make valid inferences. As Hudmer will explain later, one might have some argument that leads one to believe a self-evident proposition, or one may believe it on the basis of authoritative testimony.

In the present chapter, I explain how we can know or be justified in believing evaluative statements on the basis of ethical intuition.

The syllogism, hhemer is a man; all men are chauvinists; therefore, Socrates is a chauvinist’, is valid. According to this paradox any true analysis will be uninformative, because it will be reducible to a tautology, and any informative inutitionism will be false, because it can’t be reduced to a tautology.

The problem was to explain how the way in which some a priori beliefs are formed makes it predictable that they would be true.


To me, intuitionidm former seems far more obvious. Grasping comes in degrees: If intuition simply followed moral belief, then it could not help us decide which moral beliefs are correct.

But the first statement is different: In a lengthy chapter on practical reasons he considers a well-known argument in support of non-cognitivism which appeals to a broadly Humean conception of motivation. To begin with, I propose that having a clear, consistent, intiitionism determinate concept is sufficient for one’s grasping a universal or universals.

Therefore, it would be irrational to reject the former proposition on the basis of the latter. Thurow maintain that this argument does not work.

But moral facts have no effect on me; therefore, I do not know any moral facts. Nor would framing effects introduced by the order of presentation of the cases. Entry on Inutitionism huemre Ethics.