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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These passages may have led to the standard understanding of a self-evident proposition that one finds in Shafer-Landauand Audi; see also Audi But there is also a sense of ‘seems’, which we might call its doxastic sense, in which to say that, for example, a certain arithmetical result seems to be correct, is to be inclined to believe or judge that it is correct. His use of the term ‘self-evidence’ encourages Popper’s reading though in fact he says all he means by ‘self-evident’ is ‘non-derivative’and the rest of the passage encourages Tara Smith’s reading.

So although he would disagree with someone who believed that it is permissible to pass up an opportunity to enjoy some innocent pleasure, he would share their intuition that this is permissible. The former does not imply the latter.


An initial, intellectual appearance is an ‘intuition’. Similarly, if some proposition presents itself to the mind as true, then this presentation cannot be justified, although the belief based on it can be and we might add, the proposition intuited can befor its seeming to be true is not a conclusion we could arrive at: It is consistent with this that there be many false intuitions.

Compare the observation that sensory perceptions are largely, but not entirely, independent of our background beliefs–for example, even if I believe Big Foot does not exist, if Big Foot should walk up to me, I will still see him.

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Ross, for example, had the strong intuition that it is permissible to miss an opportunity to enjoy some innocent pleasure, but at the time he wrote The Right and the Good he did not believe this. If ontuitionism takes the left fork, it will collide with and kill five people; if ethial takes the right fork, it will collide with and kill one person.

A DefenceOxford: I have never been able to get anyone to tell me why this would be so. Prichard, a major figure in twentieth-century intuitionism, at least invited them, and perhaps in his case they were not even misunderstandings:.

As I will explain later, one might have some argument that leads one to believe a self-evident proposition, or intuitlonism may believe it on the hufmer of authoritative testimony. Academic Tools How to cite this entry. The claim is that adequately grasping a concept cannot itself cause a mistake. Although a proposition may be evident to one person but not to another, it could not be self-evident to one person, but not to another.

Yuemer test of that is whether we could render the statement false by a change in some convention, without changing what the statement means. Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. We have no general technique for forcing people to be sincere and careful.

Intuitionism in Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Science Logic and Mathematics. A self-evident proposition is one that we can be justified in believing without an argument, but this does not rule out the possibility that there may be such an argument, or justification, or that the proposition may be believed on that basis.

The same is true if intuitions are inclinations to believe, as Williamson and Sosa see also Earlenbaugh and Molyneux, claim, for the fact that I am inclined to believe some proposition is no justification for believing it.

If, however, they are given the Bridge case first they tend to say that it would be wrong to pull the lever in Switch. That is quite consistent with their having the intuition that it would be permissible to pull the lever in the switch case, since intuiting is not believing.


A perfectly plausible alternative is that they have reasoned that, because it would be wrong to kill someone to save five in Bridge, it must be wrong to kill someone to save five in Switch. I may regard my moral belief as justified by an intuition with the same content if I am justified in believing that potential undercutting defeaters have been defeated or are absent.

Some intuitionists allowed that goodness can be defined in terms of rightness Sidgwick and Ewing or rightness in terms of goodness early Moore. Nonetheless, Ballantyne and Thurow do not question the first part of Sinnott- Armstrong’s argument—that is, the claim that because of partiality, bias, emotion and disagreement, we have good reason to think that most of our moral beliefs are false.

Intuitionism in Ethics

Sign in to use this feature. But there is also a way things seem to us prior to reasoning; otherwise, reasoning could not get started. To begin with, obviousness is relative to certain individuals or groups.

Intuitions are not some exotic, theoretical entities invented by a few philosophers.

Michael Huemer, Ethical Intuitionism – PhilPapers

And I do not think my judgment on this point is idiosyncratic. But if intuitioonism get out a ruler and measure them, you will find them to be of the same length. However, in the case of what Huemer calls intellectual intuitions — such as “It seems that any two points can be joined by a single straight line” p.