Date of Award

7-18-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Eddy Nahmias - Chair

Second Advisor

Andrew Altman

Third Advisor

Stephen Jacobson

Fourth Advisor

Andrea Scarantino

Abstract

Against moral intuitionism, which holds that moral intuitions can be non-inferentially justified, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong argues that moral intuitions are unreliable and must be confirmed to be justified (i.e. must be justified inferentially) because they are subject to cognitive biases. However, I suggest this is merely a renewed version of the argument from disagreement against intuitionism. As such, I attempt to show that the renewed argument is subject to an analogous objection as the old one; many cognitive biases of moral intuitions result from biases of non-moral judgments. Thus, the unreliability of moral intuitions due to biases (and the reason inferential justification was required) can be removed by clearing up the non-moral biases. Accordingly, biases of moral intuitions do not threaten a slightly qualified version intuitionism which posits non-inferential justification of intuitions when non-moral biases are not present. I also present an empirical study that lends initial support to my argument.

Included in

Philosophy Commons

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