The instability of philosophical intuitions: Running hot and cold on truetemp

Stacey Swain, Joshua Alexander, Jonathan M. Weinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

168 Scopus citations

Abstract

A growing body of empirical literature challenges philosophers' reliance on intuitions as evidence based on the fact that intuitions vary according to factors such as cultural and educational background, and socio-economic status. Our research extends this challenge, investigating Lehrer's appeal to the Truetemp Case as evidence against reliabilism. We found that intuitions in response to this case vary according to whether, and which, other thought-experiments are considered first. Our results show that compared to subjects who receive the Truetemp Case first, subjects first presented with a clear case of knowledge are less willing to attribute knowledge in the Truetemp Case, and subjects first presented with a clear case of non-knowledge are more willing to attribute knowledge in the Truetemp Case. We contend that this instability undermines the supposed evidential status of these intuitions, such that philosophers who deal in intuitions can no longer rest comfortably in their armchairs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-155
Number of pages18
JournalPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research
Volume76
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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