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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Suppose I seem to see a glass of water on the table. David Enoch – – Philosophical Studies 3: To see why this answer is wrong, imagine someone etical makes a miscalculation while multiplying 57 by 69, but then makes a second error that just happens to intuifionism out the first one, so that he comes to the correct answer anyway.

But there is also a way things seem to us prior to reasoning; otherwise, reasoning could not get started. This derives from our knowledge that spinsterhood contains or implies unmarriedness.

As we shall see in chapter 6, there are many ways we can go wrong. We cannot know in advance that every naturalistic definition will fail this test.

Michael Huemer, Ethical Intuitionism – PhilPapers

It does not follow intuitiknism this that any arbitrarily chosen claim about the physical world is justified. Suppose p is the proposition that the shortest path between two points is a straight line. So a separate argument is needed for the non-natural nature of moral properties. Moore only considers a few very crude naturalistic definitions of goodness, and concludes from these that all naturalistic definitions will fail the open question argument. But it is not enough just to make this kind of claim; to make good on it, the empiricist must produce the definitions of ‘red’ and ‘green’ together with the actual derivationfrom those definitions, of the statement ‘Nothing can be both red and green’.


Even if the presentation should be false as in a hallucinationwe would still not be aware of a mental state; we would then merely fail to be aware of anything real, though it seemed as though we were. For instance, yellow is a universal.

Other Internet Resources [Please contact the author with suggestions. But because they have persuaded themselves of the truth of act consequentialism, they would not believe this act is wrong. Take a perceptual seeming, such as it’s seeming that the wall is green.

Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPaperswith links to its database. But, Moore argues, all such definitions must fail, for it is always an open question whether the thing that has the relevant intuitiionism property is good.

These internal states should not be allowed to supplant the real objects in our philosophy; their central function is that of vehicles of the awareness of external things. An open question is one that is not closed, and a closed ethixal is one the asking of which betrays a lack of understanding of the concepts involved.

Likewise, it is unclear how I might go about checking on the general reliability of memory, without relying on memory; on the reliability of inductive reasoning, without relying on induction; or on the reliability of reason in general, without relying on reason. Once the process of reflective intujtionism is under way some adjustments will intuitionims to be made.

In his view, and in mine, many of the sophisticated variants of these theories are, at bottom, vulnerable to versions of the rather obvious objections that one might raise against simpler statements of the theories.

Intuitionism in Ethics

Therefore, it would be irrational to reject the former proposition on the basis of the latter. There is no obvious obstacle to holding intuitive beliefs to be justified similarly.


Here it looks like by pulling the lever we would be using the large man merely as a means to saving the five, for unless he stops the trolley it will loop round and kill the five from the other direction.

Compare the above two examples to the following: Perhaps those who resist intuitionism have something like this in mind; 40 perhaps this is what really underlies the fallacious objections of section 5.

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 pull the lever in Trap Door Greene et al.

If intuition simply followed moral belief, then it could not help us decide which moral beliefs are correct p.

5 Moral Knowledge

He may check on this by a seeing whether his intuition coheres with the intuitions of others, and b seeing whether his intuition about abortion coheres with his intuition about, say, Thomson’s violinist intuitinoism. Therefore, Socrates is a platypus. Critics of intuitionism may, however, object that in so far as Ross’s theory does not tell us what we ought to do, it does not give us what we want huemed a moral theory. The way things seem prior to reasoning we may call an ‘initial appearance’.

These passages may have led to the standard understanding of a self-evident proposition that one finds in Shafer-Landauand Audi; see also Audi ,