Sunday, September 09, 2007

Not all intuitions are created equal or ""What is the thesis of this paper?"

Fortwith, an abstract from the "Experimental Epistemology Laboratory" at Indiana.

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 what, other thought experiments are considered first. Our results show that: 1) willingness to attribute knowledge in the Truetemp Case increases after being presented with a clear case of non-knowledge, and 2) willingness to attribute knowledge in the Truetemp Case decreases after being presented with a clear case of knowledge. We contend that this instability undermines the supposed evidential status of these intuitions. After considering several objections and replies, we conclude that our results strengthen the empirical case against intuitions, such that philosophers who deal in intuitions can no longer rest comfortably in their armchairs. (LINK)

Hmmm, did they say "clear cases". As in cases where even the subjects' intuitions are clear. Mmmhmmm.

I'll take non-sequiturs for $700 Alex:
"Some intuitions vary, thus intuitions aren't good evidence."

And as usual my enemy's enemy is *not* my friend because I do think that empirical research into the solidity of intuitions is a good idea (though I suppose an ideal agent could know a priori that this was an unclear intuition, the rest of us aren't so lucky).

In particular, I'd love to have some empirical research aimed at the "intuitions" typically claimed to be associated with the famed Bank Case and other cases pragmatic encroachers use to sully our pure epistemology. 0:-I

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