Where Philosophical Intuitions Come From

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):233-249 (2015)
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Intuitions play a central role in analytic philosophy, but their psychological basis is little understood. This paper provides an empirically-informed, psychological char- acterization of philosophical intuitions. Drawing on McCauley’s distinction between maturational and practiced naturalness, I argue that philosophical intuitions originate from several early-developed, specialized domains of core knowledge (maturational naturalness). Eliciting and deploying such intuitions in argumentative contexts is the domain of philosophical expertise, thus philosophical intuitions are also practiced nat- ural. This characterization has implications for the evidential value of philosophical intuitions, as well as for the interpretation of studies in experimental philosophy.
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