Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Neil Van Leeuwen
Many contemporary philosophers are committed – either implicitly or explicitly – to Propositionalism about thought-experimental intuitions. According to this view, thought-experimental intuitions are (1) phenomenally conscious, (2) spontaneous, (3) and non-theoretical; most importantly, Propositionalists claim that intuitions (4) bear consciously accessible propositional content. The negative project of this essay is a critique of (4), the rejection of which is tantamount to rejecting Propositionalism. In addition, I propose an alternative position – namely, Interpretationalism. According to Interpretationalism, intuitions possess the features ascribed in (1)-(3); however, they do not bear consciously accessible propositional content. Instead, intuitions acquire cognitive significance by virtue of being interpreted in light of a subject’s background beliefs.
McGahhey, Marcus, "Thought Experiments and the Myth of Intuitive Content." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2016.