The Myth of the Intuitive

Max Deutsch

Published by The MIT Press

Published in print April 2015 | ISBN: 9780262028950
Published online September 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780262327374 | DOI:
The Myth of the Intuitive

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This book is a defense of the methods of analytic philosophy against a recent empirical challenge to the soundness of those methods. The challenge is raised by practitioners of “experimental philosophy” (xphi) and concerns the extent to which analytic philosophy relies on intuition—in particular, the extent to which analytic philosophers treat intuitions as evidence in arguing for philosophical conclusions. Experimental philosophers say that analytic philosophers place a great deal of evidential weight on people’s intuitions about hypothetical cases and thought experiments. This book argues that this view of traditional philosophical method is a myth, part of “metaphilosophical folklore.” Analytic philosophy makes regular use of hypothetical examples and thought experiments, but philosophers argue for their claims about what is true or not true in these examples and thought experiments. It is these arguments, not intuitions, that are treated as evidence for the claims. The book discusses xphi and some recent xphi studies; critiques a variety of other metaphilosophical claims; examines such famous arguments as Gettier’s refutation of the JTB (justified true belief) theory and Kripke’s Gödel Case argument against descriptivism about proper names, and shows that they rely on reasoning rather than intuition; and finds existing critiques of xphi, the “Multiple Concepts” and “Expertise” replies, to be severely lacking.

Keywords: Intuition; Philosophical method; Experimental philosophy; Analytic philosophy; Metaphilosophy; Evidence; Thought experiment

Book.  216 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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