R. M. Hare

in Sorting Out Ethics

Published in print February 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250326
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597602 | DOI:

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Intuitionism, the second type of descriptivism, is the theory that the truth conditions of moral statements depend on irreducible moral properties, which must be defined in moral terms. The intuitionist claims that we have knowledge of moral truths derived from moral intuition. However, because it is a subjective experience, one person's intuition may differ from another's, and the theory offers no way to decide between them. Intuitionism, Hare argues, is really a kind of Subjectivist Naturalism, or Subjectivism; and, as with Naturalism, it also leads to relativism. Therefore, because it is exhausted by these two theories, descriptivism in general must be abandoned if we are to attain the sort of objectivity that will allow us to avoid relativism.

Keywords: experience; intuition; Intuitionism; moral properties; moral truth; Naturalism; relativism; Subjectivism

Chapter.  8641 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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