Where Philosophical Intuitions Come From

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):233-249 (2015)
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Little is known about the aetiology of philosophical intuitions, in spite of their central role in analytic philosophy. This paper provides a psychological account of the intuitions that underlie philosophical practice, with a focus on intuitions that underlie the method of cases. I argue that many philosophical intuitions originate from spontaneous, early-developing, cognitive processes that also play a role in other cognitive domains. Additionally, they have a skilled, practiced, component. Philosophers are expert elicitors of intuitions in the dialectical context of professional philosophy. If this analysis is correct, this should lead to a reassessment of experimental philosophical studies of expertise.

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Helen De Cruz
Saint Louis University


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