I'll start us off with a meaty topic.
I am often baffled by the heavy reliance on intuitions in ethics. An unnamed professor in class (let's call him Shmoriarty) recently said "it's all we have!" Yet this concerns me. I understand that we all have intuitions that affect our opinions on ethical matters, but why should an intuition JUSTIFY an ethical conclusion?
I have seen philosophers scoff at ethical relativism, yet defend their intuitions as sensible justification for moral beliefs. It seems to me that intuitionism (and lesser degrees of the reliance on intuitions) boils down to relativism pretty quickly unless we think that everyone has the same intuitions. A brief look back at history (slavery, subjugation of women) informs us that intuitions about a lot of things have changed over time. Why should one's current intuitions have such a sturdy claim on our morals? Shouldn't we all be willing to say that I have intuition X, but in light of argument Y it appears intuition X could be false?
I don't think I am arguing that ethics can be done without a single reference to an intuition (though I suspect it might be possible). I'm wondering what the proper role for intuitions should be. Assuming full blown intuitionism is mistaken, most ethicists rely on intuitions far more than I am comfortable with.
What say the newly assembled BG bloggers?
(webmaster addition)Relevant Articles:
Moral Epistemology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)