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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So they must be able to motivate us to act, and they can only do that by latching onto something we care about. Subjectively we cannot tell one from the other, but they are, one might argue, very different states. S has an intuition that p. But this embodies a naive conception of the burdens of dialectic, granting a presumption to whichever argument happens to be stated first.

I think similar arguments apply to all possible kinds of alleged knowledge, but I will ethica it at those two examples.


I have discussed the principle elsewhere, so here I will be relatively brief. What I argue in this section is that the presumption against nihilism is very strong, so that the arguments for nihilism would have to be extremely powerful to justify the nihilist’s position.

In some cases there might have been better integration between the levels: Therefore, good and bad do not exist. Moderate Intuitionism and the Epistemology of Moral Judgment. 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.

I am not sure how I would go about checking on the reliability of introspection by non-introspective means, and I do not believe I have ever done so.


Although their view is about the nature of moral properties, they often put their point in terms of moral concepts or ideas, and maintained that these concepts are either unanalysable, or if analysable, not analysable wholly in terms of natural concepts. How else might it be justified?

Intuitionism in Ethics

The same is true of the concept of water. Because making one or two errors in a calculation cannot normally be expected to result in ethica, coming to the correct conclusion. It is not accidental that my moral beliefs are true, because the moral facts, in general, are necessary; they could not have been otherwise.

Bedke ethucal – Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 2: It is unjust to punish a person for a crime he hufmer not commit. So when the optician asks the patient to say whether the red spot is above or below the green line she is asking how things look to the patient; she is not asking the patient to judge how things are. Empirical psychology has recently cast doubt on the reliability of at least some of our moral intuitions.

Intuitionism in Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Given the reality of intuition in general, ethical intuition is not very different at all from other kinds of intuition. The concept of water seems superficial in the same way.

Kant huemed gets one mention in a footnote, and there is no discussion of modern Kantianism. To begin with, obviousness is relative to certain individuals or groups. Each can be rejected if reasoning, drawing on further ‘appearances’, suggests the initial appearance is misleading. Find it on Scholar. So the very idea of a moral reason may be quite mysterious and queer.

Moral Knowledge

huemdr There is a more general condition on knowledge that everyone in epistemology accepts: Appearances can be intellectual, as opposed to sensory, mnemonic, or introspective. However, I may still hold this open to revision: The following statement is true: Another factor that might explain moral disagreement is disagreement about the strength of certain moral reasons.


Huemer’s Principle of Phenomenal Conservatism is spelled out, as the name suggests, entirely in terms of the phenomenal understanding of ‘seems’ statements.

The laws of logic are thus examples of non-conventional, objective facts that are known independently of experience. There is a large intuiionism standing on the bridge over the track. Paul Benacerraf originally raised it as a problem about mathematics: Similarly, a non-obvious naturalistic definition of good may fail the open question test even though it is true.

If right and wrong are just feelings of approval or disapproval caused in us by natural properties or objects, then the idea of right and wrong will be given by our senses, for these ideas will be merely the effect that the perception of certain things has on sensibility. What is present to the mind in apprehension is the thing itself, not our representation of it.

Oxford University Press, And we cannot confirm that memories are reliable signs of past events, since we have no means independent of memory of accessing the past.

In contrast, the more natural, ‘direct realist’ view is that the primary function of sensory experience is to partly constitute our awareness of external things, rather than to be an intermediary object of awareness.

What happens if we apply the principle generally: