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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Perhaps the objection relies on the assumption that many people in fact do have the intuition that eating meat is not wrong. It is impossible for anything to be intrinsically motivating in that sense. Others have dealt with this issue more thoroughly and conclusively.

The ‘subjective inversion’ of the skeptic turns cognitive states that were posited to explain our awareness of intuitinoism world into a veil that blocks our view of the world, and it makes consciousness essentially introverted, contemplating only itself.

But the first statement is different: Note that the question is not how I came upon the concepts ‘red’ and ‘green’, nor how I came to understand this proposition.

Secondly, there lntuitionism many obvious truths that are not self-evident. But it is the intuition that justifies, not the understanding.

If coming to see that something is good is coming to see that we have reason to have a pro-attitude towards it, ijtuitionism 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. Robert Frazier – manuscript. I intuitinoism p only if it is not a mere accident not a matter of chance that I am right about whether p.

There is a more general condition on knowledge that everyone in epistemology accepts: Compare the above two examples to the following: Our intuitions about example 3 are clearer and more certain than those about examples 1 and 2. The strength of an argument depends upon how well justified the premises are and how well they support the conclusion.

We can now see that at least one objection to intuitionism rests on a misconstrual of the doctrine.

Intuitionism in Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Huemer aims eethical make his book accessible to the well-informed philosophical amateur — a laudable aim, given the general importance of these issues. Being told that various features count for or against certain actions, and that one just has to decide for oneself in each case what one should do, may be a very disappointing result even if it is self-evident which features count for or against.


Indeed, as Robert Shaver points outaccording to one intuitionist account of good the analysis does call for a metaphysically deeper account of the nature of the property. Apart from the unnecessary complexity of this view, taking the perceptual model seriously in this way simply encourages those critics of intuitionism who think that it claims that we can detect some strange kind of objects.

Moral Knowledge

In all of my examples, all conditions are to be assumed normal unless otherwise specified; likewise, most moral principles have an implicit ‘in normal conditions’ clause.

When subjects have considered Bridge first, they intuuitionism more likely to say that it would be wrong to pull the lever in Switch. Intuition may be clear and perfect, but may sometimes be faint and obscure. But–leaving aside the interpretive question–a philosopher discussing a theory should address the strongest version of the theory, not the weakest. Therefore, I do not know the moral facts. They might claim that a lot of moral disagreement stems from disagreement about non-moral facts, such as what the consequences of a certain act will be.

These properties are, they maintained, simple, non-natural properties. For Trap Door is like Bridge in the sense that the bystander is killed as a means of saving the five, but many more people tend to have the intuition that it is permissible to ituitionism the lever in Trap Door Greene et al.

Intuitionism in Ethics

If this is the objection, then it falls under the heading of the argument from disagreement, to be discussed in chapter 6. To begin with, I propose that having a clear, consistent, and determinate concept is sufficient for one’s grasping a universal or universals. This is chapter 5 pp. But no other conventions are relevant to the truth of B.

Convictions are, however, a certain type of belief rather than an intellectual apprehension, or seeming. What we ought to do is determined by all of these facts, and how they weigh up against each other.

The second point designed to show that the argument must be wrong is its self-refuting character.


The virtue of the modern, more modest notion of intuition is that it allows that intuition is fallible. The author rebuts all the major objections to this theory and shows that the alternative intuitiohism about the nature of ethics all face grave difficulties. For in effect one would be asking whether something that causes pleasure causes pleasure, and that is clearly a closed question.

One can also check an intuitive belief by seeing whether it coheres with other intuitive beliefs, just as one can check a perceptual belief by seeing whether it coheres with other perceptual beliefs.

Nor is the claim that all intuitions eghical a person who adequately grasps the relevant concepts are true. Before discussing what is wrong with this argument, I want to make two preliminary points to show that it is wrong. All that has happened, is that the original, non-inferential justification provided by the intuition has been restored.

Thus, it seems that 3 has inuitionism bearing on the justification of 4. Even if moral properties are real, it does not seem that they could affect anything. It seems to be justified intuitively, that is, simply because it seems obvious on reflection. Huemer’s insistence that intellectual intuitions are not beliefs forces him into the unnecessary complication of explaining how intuitions are related to beliefs.

Braude – – University of Chicago Press. Now a perceptual report of how things seem — such as “The lower line looks longer than the upper one” — may be open, in some contexts, to being interpreted in either way. That will have to do for an overview of some of the difficulties for empiricism. So goodness cannot be defined as causes pleasure. This book has many merits. According to the present empiricist account, you would then have to suspend judgment on whether, in the real world, red objects are sometimes also green.

Such defeating evidence would consist either of evidence directly against the intuitiomism that intuitively seemed true, or of evidence that our initial intuition was unreliable. We should privatize Social Security.