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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The laws of logic are thus examples of non-conventional, objective facts that are known independently of experience. The author rebuts all the major objections to this theory and shows that the alternative theories about the nature of ethics all face grave difficulties.

One thing worthy of note is that these cases test intuitions about our overall moral judgements—that is, about what we should, or may do in certain circumstances.

So even if no empirical investigation can show that a moral and a non-moral term pick out the same property, this might still be shown by a priori husmer.

Many intuitionists, of whom I am one, prefer like Ross to eschew the term ‘intuition’ in expounding the theory, since it can be so misleading. The analogy Prichard draws with mathematics should if anything suggest to us that derivative items of ethical knowledge might far outnumber intuitive ones. 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 hueme, if Big Foot should walk up to me, I will still see him.


In delivering that verdict, it is only fair to warn the reader that I needed no persuading, being already a convinced ethical intuitionist. Secondly, even if the concept of heat were not incomplete or superficial, in so far as it is a concept of a natural property we have good reason to think that the empirical sciences are much better equipped to discover the nature of heat than a priori reflection.


So that to say that the moon looks bigger need not imply anything about one’s being inclined to believe that it is bigger.

Some moral truths are known intuitively; that is, non-inferentially, but not through sense-experience. The grounds for the second and third claims above are introspective: She may regard her deontological intuitions as giving her some justification for believing that it would be wrong to harvest the organs to save five, but presumably would regard the appeal of ehtical consequentialist theory as a whole as outweighing this justification.

Now consider in outline one of the arguments for nihilism:. This indicates in brief why I take any denial of Phenomenal Conservatism to be self-defeating. The obvious suggestion is that it would do so if we had reason to believe the mental state was a sign of the external fact–in other words, that in general, when S has an intuition that pp is usually true.

Therefore, Socrates is a platypus. Michael Huemer – – Philosophical Studies 7: Yellowness is something lemons, the sun, and so on have in common; ethicla what they have in common is not merely a word or idea. The role of conditions 13and 5 in the theory of huemeg is that of conditions under which certain beliefs–respectively, those expressed by 24and 6 — require no evidencerather than that of evidence supporting those beliefs.

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.

Nevertheless, appearances normally lead us to form beliefs. They are true when the things referred to have the moral property that is ascribed to them by the judgement. It is conspicuously absent from his list of our ‘ordinary’ ways of knowing things.


So it looks like the order in which the cases are given affects people’s intuitions about the cases. If one accepts Phenomenal Conservatism, the natural view to take is that the more obvious something seems, the stronger is its prima facie justification. Philosophers have proposed various explanations of this which remain controversial. But no one thinks it would be true.

Yet that is just what Huemer does, claiming that we can extend the phenomenal sense to the intellectual realm, so that ‘seems’ is being used in its phenomenal sense in such statements.

Intuition is immediate apprehension by the understanding. These passages may have led to the standard understanding of a self-evident proposition that one finds in Shafer-Landauand Audi; see also Audi Intuitionists may respond to this objection by drawing on a recent version of Ewing’s fitting attitude analysis of goodness.

Intuitionism in Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

That is, an intuition that p is a hiemer of its seeming to one that p that is not dependent on inference from other beliefs and that results from thinking about pas opposed to perceiving, remembering, or introspecting. So such acts are wrong according to the doctrine of double effect. Here are two famous hypothetical examples from the ethics literature: