Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The role of intuition in philosophical theory construction
by Clevenger, John, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2011, 86; 1504440
Abstract (Summary)

In this thesis I critically examine the use of intuitions in philosophical theory construction. Philosophers often advert to people's intuitive responses as evidence for or against the truth of theories. I argue that relying on intuitions to adjudicate theories is problematic for a number of methodological and empirical reasons. Intuitive judgments often provide the sole means of access to many philosophically salient phenomena, and there is thus no independent way to verify or calibrate the reliability of these judgments. There is also no highly confirmed theory about the causal and cognitive processes underlying intuitions that justifies their use as reliable indicators of phenomena in the world. I then review empirical work on intuitions showing that they often significantly and systematically vary across individuals. Furthermore, this work indicates that intuitions are often sensitive to extra-theoretical (irrelevant) properties. I end by considering, and arguing against, responses to this empirical work.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wallis, Charles
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 50/03M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy
Publication Number: 1504440
ISBN: 9781124993720
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