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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Mirror Sites View this site from another server: But how would the occurrence of some mere subjective mental state render probable a proposition about the external world? To think that one can make such inferences is to confuse predicates or concepts with properties, [ 16 ] analytical identities with synthetic identities.

Socrates is a man.

I do not infer from my sensory experiences that there is a desk in front of me; rather experience is transparent, so that I ‘look through’ it to the real objects. Subjectivists “think that for an object to be good is for some person or group to have or be disposed to have some psychological attitude or reaction towards it” p.

We think the following inference logically valid the premises entail the conclusion, regardless of whether the premises are true: I think this would be a fair response.

An initial, intellectual appearance is an ‘intuition’. I have never been able to get anyone to tell me why this would be so. I say I have simplified but not oversimplified; the existence of universals is a trivial truth. This is chapter 5 pp. The fact is that Mackie has identified no specific feature of intuition that would render it problematic. To see why this answer is wrong, imagine someone who makes a miscalculation while multiplying 57 by 69, but then makes a second error that just happens to cancel out the first one, so that he comes to the correct answer anyway.

But moral facts have no effect on me; therefore, I do not know any moral facts.

Furthermore, we could not object to the view that heat is mean kinetic energy on the ground that this is not what we mean when we think of something as hot.

He denied, however, that the stringency, or weight, of these different prima facie duties is self-evident If one accepts those intuitions, it would seem arbitrary not to accept ethical intuitions as well, at least prima facie.


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.

It is consistent with this that there be many false intuitions. Other Internet Resources [Please contact the author with suggestions. Not all intuitions are equal–some are more credible than others.

Ethical Intuitionism (book) – Wikipedia

This is not because these things are ‘analytic’, or true by virtue of the definitions of the relevant concepts, since in my view hardly any concepts are definable in the philosophers’ sense 57 ; it is because understanding the nature of a universal inherently tends to cause one to apprehend certain basic facts about it.

These passages may have led to the standard understanding of a self-evident proposition that one finds in Shafer-Landauand Audi; see also Audi I note two things about this account.

But it is making a return, and currently has more proponents than he sometimes seems to suggest. Therefore, Socrates is inconsiderate. Since there is no king of Colorado, some would say the sentence is false; others would say it is neither true nor false.

The claim that intuition is immediate apprehension by the understanding suggests a notion of intuition in Price that is more akin to current accounts of intuitions as intellectual seemings or presentations Bealer ; Chudnoff We have no general technique for forcing people to be sincere and careful. Furthermore, although people might disagree about the permissibility of boiling lobsters alive, we may assume that they agree that pain is a bad thing, and the infliction of undeserved pain is prima facie wrong.

Be that as it may, we have already laid down in chapter 1 that general philosophical skepticism is off the table in the present discussion.

Intuitionism in Ethics

Michael Huemer’s book is a vigorous defense of ethical intuitionism. For he allows that there are simple ideas of natural properties, and that some of these, such as causality and equality, are grasped by the understanding rather than sensibility. But once we remember that one’s beliefs and judgements may conflict with one’s intuitions it is not at all clear that the subjects lack the intuition that it would be permissible to pull the lever in the switch case when they say that it would be wrong.

Huemer draws an implausible analogy between direct realism in sense-perception and awareness of moral truths.


Ethical Intuitionism // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame

Things would be alright if we could argue that, notwithstanding their logical independence, 1 renders 2 more probable. Sentence Y is of the same form, so it can be true only if ‘yellow’ refers to something–that is, only if yellow exists. Since such seemings are not intuitinoism, this does not commit intuitionists to the view that a conflict between our intuitions and beliefs entails contradictory beliefs. Similarly, consider the statements.

Indeed, I am not sure whether Huemer appreciates the distance between his view and Ross’s. Moore’s open question argument can be regarded as giving form to this intuition. If I doubt whether the table I see is real, I can test this by trying to touch it, by asking other people if they also see it, or trying to put a glass on it.

If, however, they are given the Bridge case first they intuitionlsm to say that it would be wrong to pull the lever in Switch. Some question whether intuitions exist. This objection, then, is in danger of devolving into general philosophical skepticism. An adequate understanding is necessary for one to be justified in this way, but this is not because understanding provides justification; rather, it is because it is needed to get the proposition clearly in view, and so enables a clear intuition of it.

Here is an argument for that:.


For instance, there is no possible world in which enjoyment is not intrinsically good. Undoubtedly some moral beliefs are ethiical for by inference from other moral beliefs. They could maintain that some intuitions are apprehensions, and some are intellectual seemings.

Of course, attempting to give arguments for these intiitionism would simply lead me to ask how we know the premises of those arguments. T is, however, just an uninformative tautology. An adequate grasp of a universal is a concept that is:.

Certain well-known empirical truths, for example, that if I drop a heavy object it will fall, or that the world is bigger than a football, are obvious but not self-evident.