Philosophical Studies

, Volume 163, Issue 1, pp 271–290 | Cite as

Rational intuition and understanding

Article

Abstract

Rational intuitions involve a particular form of understanding that gives them a special epistemic status. This form of understanding and its epistemic efficacy are not explained by several current theories of rational intuition, including Phenomenal Conservatism (Huemer, Skepticism and the veil of perception, 2001; Ethical intuitionism, 2005; Philos Phenomenol Res 74:30–55, 2007), Proper Functionalism (Plantinga, Warrant and proper function, 1993), the Competency Theory (Bealer Pac Philos Q 81:1–30, 2000; Sosa, A virtue epistemology, 2007) and the Direct Awareness View (Conee, Philos Phenomenol Res 4:847–857, 1998; Bonjour, In defense of pure reason, 1998). Some overlook it; others try to account for it but fail. We can account for the role of understanding in rational intuition by returning to the view of some of the early Rationalists, e.g. Descartes and Leibniz. While that view carries a prohibitive cost, it does contain an insight that may help us solve the problem of giving understanding its due.

Keywords

Rational intuition Understanding Phenomenal conservatism Proper function Direct awareness Knowledge Justification 

Notes

Acknowledgement

I am grateful to participants in the discussion for their helpful comments. I have benefitted from discussions of this material with Matt McGrath and from the very helpful criticisms of a referee for this journal.

References

  1. Bealer, G. (1996). ‘A priori knowledge:’ Replies to William Lycan and Ernest Sosa. Philosophical Studies, 81, 163–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bealer, G. (2000). A theory of the a priori. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 81, 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergmann, M. (2006). Justification without awareness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bergmann, M. (2008). Externalist justification and the role of appearances. Unpublished.Google Scholar
  5. Bonjour, L. (1998). In defense of pure reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Chisholm, R. (1989). Theory of knowledge. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  7. Conee, E. (1998). Seeing the truth. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 4, 847–857.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Descartes, R. (1628). Rules for the direction of the mind, (J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, & D. Murdoch, Trans.). The philosophical writings of descartes. Cambridge: Cambridge (1985).Google Scholar
  9. Fales, E. (1996). A defense of the given. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  10. Fumerton, R. (1995). Metaepistemology and skepticism. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  11. Fumerton, R. (2005). Speckled hens and objects of acquaintance. Philosophical Perspectives, 19, 121–139.Google Scholar
  12. Huemer, M. (2001). Skepticism and the veil of perception. Lanham, Md: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  13. Huemer, M. (2005). Ethical intuitionism. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  14. Huemer, M. (2006). Phenomenal conservatism and the internalist intuition. American Philosophical Quarterly, 43, 147–158.Google Scholar
  15. Huemer, M. (2007). Compassionate phenomenal conservatism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 74, 30–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Leibniz, G. W. (1973). 1686 Discourse on metaphysics (G. Montgomery, Trans.) Leibniz. La Salle, IL: Open Court Publishing.Google Scholar
  17. Markie, P. (2005). The mystery of direct perceptual justification. Philosophical Studies, 126, 347–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Markie, P. (2006). Epistemically appropriate perceptual belief. Nous, 40, 118–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Plantinga, A. (1993). Warrant and proper function. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sosa, E. (1996). Rational intuition: Bealer on its nature and epistemic status. Philosophical Studies, 81, 151–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sosa, E. (2003). Epistemic justification: Internalism vs. externalism (with Laurence Bonjour). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  22. Sosa, E. (2007). A virtue epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Tucker, C. (2010). Why open minded people should endorse dogmatism. Philosophical Perspectives, 24(1), 529–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations