Philosophical Studies

, Volume 171, Issue 3, pp 535–544 | Cite as

Intuitions in philosophy: a minimal defense

  • David J. ChalmersEmail author

In Philosophy Without Intuitions, Herman Cappelen (2012) focuses on the metaphilosophical thesis he calls Centrality: contemporary analytic philosophers rely on intuitions as evidence for philosophical theories. Using linguistic and textual analysis, he argues that Centrality is false. He also suggests that because most philosophers accept Centrality, they have mistaken beliefs about their own methods.

To put my own views on the table: I do not have a large theoretical stake in the status of intuitions, but unreflectively I find it fairly obvious that many philosophers, including myself, appeal to intuitions. Cappelen’s arguments make a provocative challenge to this unreflective background conception. So it is interesting to work through the arguments to see what they might and might not show.

In what follows I aim to articulate a minimal (not heavily theoretical) notion of intuition that captures something of the core everyday philosophical usage of the term, and that captures the...


Epistemic Justification Intuitive Judgment Perceptual Justification Philosophical Practice Conceptual Competence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to Herman Cappelen, Dan Marshall, and an audience at the Institute of Philosophy in London for discussion.


  1. Bealer, G. (1992). The incoherence of empiricism. In Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary (Vol. 66, pp. 99–138).Google Scholar
  2. Bengson, J. (forthcoming). The intellectual given. Mind.Google Scholar
  3. Cappelen, H. (2012). Philosophy without intuitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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