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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the philosophical methodology of intuitions beginning with an argument developed by Max Deutsch and Herman Cappelen over the descriptive adequacy of what Cappelen calls “methodological rationalism”, and their own preferred view, “intuition nihilism”. Based on inadequacies in both accounts, it offers a descriptive take on intuition-deploying philosophical practice today via what it calls “Protean Crypto-Rationalism”. It then describes the epistemic profile of the appeal to intuition, listing four key aspects of the basic shape of intuition-deploying philosophical practice: primacy of cases, flexibility of report format, freedom of stipulation, and interpretation-hungry. It also considers several sources of error for intuitions featured in at least the informal methodological lore of philosophy, namely: misconstruals, modal confusions, pragmatics/semantics confusion, and “tin ear”. Finally, it explores the problem of methodological ignorance and inferential demand, particularly the typical practices of philosophical inference that operate on the premises delivered by appeal to intuitions.

Keywords: philosophical methodology, intuition, Max Deutsch, Herman Cappelen, methodological rationalism, intuition nihilism, Protean Crypto-Rationalism, pragmatics, semantics, philosophical inference

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