Intuitionism and Nihilism
Intuitionism and nihilism, according to nihilists, have key features in common: the same semantics and the same phenomenology. Intuitionism is the object of nihilism’s attack. The central charge nihilism lodges against intuitionism is that its nonnatural moral properties are queer. Here I’ll examine what ‘queer’ might mean in relation to the doctrines nihilism uses to support this charge. My investigation reveals that nihilism’s queerness charge lacks substance and resembles a tautology served with a frown. There’s really nothing to it. After I show that, I’ll offer an explanation for why nihilism has gotten intuitionism wrong. It makes a central mistaken methodological assumption and doesn’t target any identifiable intuitionism in the last hundred or so years.
KeywordsIntuitionism Nihilism Queerness Moral epistemology Metaphysical explanation
I would like to thank the audience members of the 9th Annual Felician Ethics Conference at Felician College, Rutherford, NJ: April 25, 2015 for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article. I would also like to thank an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The author states that there is no conflict of interest.
- Audi, R. (2004). The good in the right: A theory of intuition and intrinsic value. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Bedke, M. S. (2014). A menagerie of duties? Normative judgments are not beliefs about non-natural properties. American Philosophical Quarterly, 51(3), 189–201.Google Scholar
- Copi, I. M., & Cohen, C. (1994). Introduction to logic (9th ed.). Englewood Cliffs: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Frankena, W. K. (1963). Ethics. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Hurley, P. J. (2012). A concise Introduction to logic (11th ed.). Boston: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
- Kaspar, D. (2012). Intuitionism. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
- Kaspar, D. (2017). Moral explanation through moral kinds. In L. Taddio (Ed.), New perspectives on realism (pp. 217–238). Mimesis International: Milan.Google Scholar
- Mackie, J. L. (1977). Ethics: Inventing right and wrong. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
- Miller, A. (2003). An Introduction to contemporary Metaethics. Oxford: Polity.Google Scholar
- Moore, G. E. (1903). Principia Ethica. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Nowell-Smith, P. H. (1954). Ethics. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Platts, M. (1980). Moral reality and the end of desire. In M. Platts. (Ed.), Reference, truth, and reality: essays on the philosophy of language (pp. 69–82). London: Routledge and Kegan Pau.Google Scholar
- Ross, W. D. (1930). The right and the good. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- Ross, W. D. (1939). Foundations of ethics. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- Timmons, M. (1999). Morality without foundations: A defense of ethical Contextualism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar