Invites you all to the final 2015 Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture
A Genealogy of Intuition Mongering
Abstract:It is in vogue to claim that philosophers don’t use intuitions as evidence. This flies in the face of common wisdom somewhat. Although we might have a hard job saying exactly what intuitions are or exactly what it means to say they play an evidential role in philosophy, if asked we can give ostensive definitions with some confidence. There are lots of things which philosophers do – lots of ‘intuition mongering’ practices – which it feels very natural to describe as involving a use of intuitions in an evidential role. But, suppose that the common wisdom is wrong. Suppose that philosophers don’t use intuitions as evidence. This leaves a puzzle hanging. What exactly is going on in these intuition mongering practices? And why does it feel so natural to describe them as involving a use of intuitions in an evidential role? In this paper, I try to address this puzzle using a genealogical approach. I explore what functions intuition mongering practices serve by asking why they would emerge in a community of proto-philosophers. I suggest intuition mongering at root serves an explanatory function rather than an evidentiary one.
James is Lecturer in Moral Philosophy in Reading. His PhD is from Nottingham. He primarily works on the place of intuitions in philosophy. For publications and so on, please see jamesandow.co.uk