Biting the bullet : counterintuitive conclusions vs the myth of relying on intuition in contemporary ethics

Herok, Tomasz and Clark, Sam (2024) Biting the bullet : counterintuitive conclusions vs the myth of relying on intuition in contemporary ethics. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Abstract

According to the current methodological orthodoxy, intuitions are relied on, appealed to, or used as evidence in ethics. My main point is that this claim, as commonly understood, is false – it refers to a practice that simply does not exist. In Chapter 1 I explain what the orthodoxy is, what it is not, and how to test it. In Chapter 2 I examine seven arguments in favour of the orthodoxy, and find all of them wanting. In Chapter 3 I introduce a new argument against the orthodoxy: the argument from counterintuitive conclusions. The idea behind it is that because philosophers routinely dismiss intuitions, intuitions cannot be treated as evidence. To this it can be replied that it is not impossible to dismiss intuitions and rely on them at the same time. I therefore describe eight theories that allow for such reconciliation. In Chapter 4 I examine three case studies – Michael Tooley’s defence of infanticide, David Benatar’s defence of antinatalism and John Taurek’s attack on the idea of moral quantification – to show that none of the reconciliation theories works in practice. In Chapter 5 I discuss arguably the most significant practical consequence of the orthodoxy: experimental philosophy. I argue that since intuitions are never used as evidence, the project is largely pointless. In the final chapter I explain what is new in the thesis and describe differences between myself and others who have challenged the orthodoxy before.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Research Output Funding/no_not_funded
Subjects:
?? no - not funded ??
ID Code:
219900
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
21 May 2024 11:45
Refereed?:
No
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
27 May 2024 00:30