Stewart on agency and intuition

345 PM. Marcus Stewart gives the day’s final presentation, his paper “The Role of Intuition in Agency.”  IMG_1481Marcus describes his paper:

In this paper I argue in favor of rationalist intuitionism. My aim is to illustrate where exactly one may place intuitions in the ethical decision making model and I seek to further a number of claims some intuitionists may claim. To that end, I build upon the framework set in place by Michael Huemer in an attempt to show that there is an epistemic gain to be garnered by those employing intuitionist arguments; a gain that does not currently exist within the frameworks of other meta-ethical doctrines. This, I argue, provides a platform for proponents of ethical intuitionism to rest their arguments, for it is only their claims that may provide a more authentic account of one’s experiences in certain situations (such as those of Sanford and Wood). I conclude with a call for others to explore and contrast the doctrine of intuitionism with other kinds of experiences or their own personal experiences in hopes that by doing so one may find that intuitions and intuitionism is more common than one may be initially inclined to believe.

In the ensuing Q and A, Rocky’s main question to Marcus concerned the work that intuitions actually do in the ethical decision making process. He illustrated this with the following example. If I am raised in a place where racism (for instance) is acceptable, and as a result, my intuitions tend to accord with racist attitudes, where does morality come into play? This seems to be a problem if intuitions precede beliefs as Marcus suggests. If, on the other hand, they are a result of antecedent beliefs, then it seems that those beliefs do the actual work. Marcus responded by claiming that indeed moral intuitions precede beliefs but this is so because the intuitions are much like mathematical intuitions. They point to something objectively true in the moral universe. Cristi and Foster both suggested that perhaps Marcus look to Kant in order to further develop his view since Kant treats intuitions as perceptions of the world. (Thanks to Gary Foster for this reconstruction of the Q and A).

Afterward, we moved to the Faculty Lounge to celebrate the achievements of all the MAs. A very enjoyable day.  I look forward to how the projects will develop from here over the summer!


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