New moral intuitionism.
its possibilities and challenges

GDAŃSK, 6-7 june 2014

The idea that our moral intuitions deserve epistemic credibility have been rejected by a number philosophers (ex. Richard M. Hare, Gilbert Harman, John Mackie, Peter Singer, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong,). They take moral intuitions to be either dogmatic, merely reflecting our cultural backgrounds, expressing our prejudice or, even if evolutionarily evolved, unfitted to today’s conditions of social life. Despite this criticism, however, or maybe, should we say, thanks to this criticism, more sophisticated and moderate versions of intuitionism have been offered by a considerable number of authors (ex. Robert Audi, Michael Huemer, Sabine Roeser, Philip Stratton Lake, or David Kaspar, to mention just a few). What makes new intuitionism differ from its traditional forms is being less dogmatic in ascribing epistemic value to moral intuitions. The core epistemological thesis of this moderate version of ethical intuitionism is the claim that moral intuitions give us prima facie reasons to consider the intuitive moral beliefs to be true.

This new moderate ethical intuitionism seems to be a promising (if not most promising) metaethical theory. It explains our everyday moral discourse in simplest terms without resorting to very complicated (and dubious) deflationary theories of truth, fictionalism, or quasi-realism; it takes our moral expressions to be what we mean them to be: expressions of our moral beliefs about moral facts. It also provides a number of interesting arguments for the credibility of moral intuitions (for example Huemer’s phenomenal conservatism argument); how we can understand moral facts (Kaspar’s idea of moral kinds); and their relation to the natural world (the idea of moral supervenience).

Despite intuitionism’s promising features, however, there are still a lot of questions to be asked, as well as criticism to be faced. We can still ask about the nature of understanding that underlies our recognition of self-evident moral propositions, about its relation to moral emotions, about the nature of moral perception, or about the physiological basis of moral intuitions. There are still critical arguments to be answered: are moral intuitions merely the result of some heuristics, unconscious brain processes, or blind emotions which determine our moral thinking but do not allow us to claim moral knowledge? With these observations and questions in mind we want to organize our conference and invite you to share your views and arguments. Our invited speakers.

Robert Audi

Notre Dame University, USA.More...

Robert Cowan

University of Warwick, UK.More...

Christopher Kulp

Santa Clara University, USA. More...

Sabine Roeser

Delft University of Technology, Holland.More...

Russ Shafer-Landau

University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.More...

Philip Stratton-Lake

University of Reading, UK.More...