Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 643–665 | Cite as

Surveying Philosophers About Philosophical Intuition



This paper addresses the definition and the operational use of intuitions in philosophical methods in the form of a research study encompassing several regions of the globe, involving 282 philosophers from a wide array of academic backgrounds and areas of specialisation. The authors tested whether philosophers agree on the conceptual definition and the operational use of intuitions, and investigated whether specific demographic variables and philosophical specialisation influence how philosophers define and use intuitions. The results obtained point to a number of significant findings, including that philosophers distinguish between intuitions used to formulate (discovery) and to test (justification) philosophical theory. The survey results suggest that strategies implemented to characterise philosophical intuition are not well motivated since, even though philosophers do not agree on a single account of intuition, they fail to capture a preferred usage of intuitions as aspects of discovery. The quantitative summary of survey findings informs the debate on this topic, and advances more defined routes for subsequent approaches to the study of intuitions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language SciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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