Date of Award

Fall 8-13-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Eddy Nahmias

Second Advisor

Dan Weiskopf

Third Advisor

Andrea Scarantino


The epistemology of intuitions has become popular recently with philosophers’ increasing use of experimental methods to study intuitions. Philosophers have focused on the reliability of intuitions, as empirical studies seem to suggest that conflicting intuitions are common. One set of studies, concerning what Sinnott-Armstrong (2008) calls the abstract/concrete paradox, suggests that conflicting intuitions are common and, hence, that mistaken intuitions are common. As Goldman (2007) notes, if mistaken intuitions are sufficiently prevalent, then we might have reason to think intuitions are unreliable. I argue that mistaken intuitions are not common, since studies concerning the abstract/concrete paradox have unknowingly studied several distinct phenomena instead of the abstract/concrete paradox and, hence, that they present merely apparently conflicting intuitions. I then discuss the import of empirical studies for debates about reliability, noting that those studies can inform us about the unreliability of intuitions but we are still unclear about the conditions for reliability.