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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 17, 1998

Philosophical Methodology

Herman Cappelen, Douglas G. Winblad
Pages 13-19


This paper examines two attempts to justify the way in which intuitions about specific cases are used as evidence for and against philosophical theories. According to the concept model, intuitions about cases are trustworthy applications of one’s typically tacit grasp of certain concepts. We argue that regardless of whether externalist or internalist accounts of conceptual content are correct, the concept model flounders. The second justification rests on the less familiar belief model, which has it that intuitions in philosophy derive from one’s (often tacit) beliefs. Although more promising than the concept model, the belief model fails to justify traditional philosophical use of intuitions because it is not clear a priori that the beliefs at issue are true. The latter model may, however, legitimize a less a prioristic approach to intuitions.

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