Philosophers’ Use of ‘Intuitive’ (I): A Defective Practice and the Verbal Virus Theory

Herman Cappelen

in Philosophy without Intuitions

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644865
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739026 | DOI:
Philosophers’ Use of ‘Intuitive’ (I): A Defective Practice and the Verbal Virus Theory

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After introducing a distinction between constructive and defective theoretical terms, it is suggested that ‘intuition’ and cognate terms are defective theoretical terms in philosophy. It does so by canvassing relevant factors such as the lack of consensus about how to define intuitions or even about what to count as a paradigm instance. This is in part due to the disunity of traditions about intuitions that trace back to Gödel, Moore, Chomsky and Rawls—all this in addition to a current metaphilosophical trend involving Bealer and BonJour, among others. Further considerations include the absence of deference to a subcommunity of experts to help secure a meaning for ‘intuition’. Whether ‘intuition’-talk is defective or only borderline defective, we will have to engage in charitable reinterpretation of its usage, which is undertaken in the subsequent chapter.

Keywords: theoretical term; technical term; ‘intuitive’; intuition; Gödel; Moore; Chomsky; Rawls; Bealer; BonJour; Ernie Sosa

Chapter.  4599 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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