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Knowing Our Own Concepts: The Role of Intuitions in Philosophy

(Original title: Knowing Our Own Concepts: The Role of Intuitions in Philosophy)
Organon F, 2011, vol. 18, No 4, pp. 488-498.
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Empirical examinations about cross-cultural variability of intuitions, the well-known publication of Stich and his colleagues criticiz-ing thought-experiments and intuitions in philosophical debates, is still a challenge that faces analytical philosophers, as any systematic investigation of the methodology of philosophy must give answers to these basic questions: What is intuition? What role should intuitions play in philosophy? I present and examine the sceptical argument of experimental philosophers, and claim that experimental philosophers misunderstand the role of evidence in philosophy. My argument will utilize Goldman’s view, according to which intuitions give reliable (though not infallible) evidence about a person’s concepts, and this knowledge is valuable for further philosophical research as well. I will argue that the sceptical conclusions of experimental philosophers are harmless against this conception of philosophy, because even from a naturalist perspective certain kind of intuitive judgments about our concepts can be warranted, and this grants the specific epistemic status of intuitions. Of course, the reliability of introspection can be challenged. However, denying self-knowledge about my internal mental states is disputable – as I will show – both from a philosophical and a scientific point of view.

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