Philosophical Studies

, Volume 140, Issue 2, pp 247–262 | Cite as

A defense of intuitions

  • S. Matthew Liao


Radical experimentalists argue that we should give up using intuitions as evidence in philosophy. In this paper, I first argue that the studies presented by the radical experimentalists in fact suggest that some intuitions are reliable. I next consider and reject a different way of handling the radical experimentalists’ challenge, what I call the Argument from Robust Intuitions. I then propose a way of understanding why some intuitions can be unreliable and how intuitions can conflict, and I argue that on this understanding, both moderate experimentalism and the standard philosophical practice of using intuitions as evidence can help resolve these conflicts.


Intuitions Experimental philosophy Experimentalism Intuitionism Empirical psychology 



I would like to thank Joshua Alexander, Jonathan Weinberg, Roger Crisp, Steve Clarke, Robert Wachbroit, David Wasserman, Guy Kahane, Wibke Gruetjen, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Michael Blome-Tillmann, an anonymous reviewer at Philosophical Studies, and the audiences at the 2007 American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Meeting in San Francisco and at the Oxford University James Martin Advance Research Seminar for their very helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyOxford UniversityOxfordUK

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