In common usage, intuitions lead us to believe things without being able to articulate evidence or reasons for those beliefs. Wikipedia. I’m not offering you a phony seventeen-step “proof that murder is normally wrong.” Instead, I begin with concrete, specific cases where morality is obvious, and reason from there.
Apologies for necromancy, but on revisiting I noticed that the experimental philosophy blog has changed their link schema. The specific post you intended to link to is now here. I prefer the old format, where I was able to figure out which post was being referred to by comparing the url with the title of the post (along with the year and month it was posted).
Michael Shermer reviewed Blink (The Power of Thinking Without Thinking) recently on the nature and reliability of intuition that might have some bearing on this question.
@ Michael: "it is in a movie"
That was the point. It was a movie about Viet Nam, an old topic to most OB readers, but quite real to me.
@Retired: it is in a movie. http://www.youtube.com/watc...
Unit, priors are consciously held, while intuitions result from at least partially unconscious processes.
Robin: since when is morality not rules?
Isn't relying on intuition the same as relying on one's priors?
@ Doug S. re: This is my intuition. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
Doug, while I was forced to recite this mantra repeatedly during my training for the Tet Offensive, I doubt that many OB readers will recognize your reference (unless it's from a movie).
This is my intuition. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
"I'm not even sure we have much in the way of empirical data on belief accuracy of folks who rely more versus less on intuition."
most successful high-stakes no-limit hold ém professionals rely almost entirely on intuition when making decisions at the table. the number of relevant variables and the complexity of their interactions is such that deliberative reasoning is impossible. professional NLHE players can enumerate the variables they're considering, e.g., recent history, the rhythm or timing of their opponent's actions, the impact the present hand/decision node will have on future interactions, etc., but they very rarely point to several specific things and say, 'this, this, and this, therefore that, and thus i did x'. the interactions between the variables are so subtle that they can only be apprehended after hundreds of thousands of hands. 'this, this, this, this, and this, and so i feel like x would be good here'.
the high-stakes community is made up predominantly of individuals who rely more on intuitive judgment than 'deliberative' judgment. analytical types are few and far between above a certain threshold of competence. those who ''need'' or ''look for'' explanations with well-defined terms and relations between them seem to do well but not exceptionally well (they flounder in low or midstakes) on average.
the above is true for many, many games where accurate beliefs about your opponent's meta-strategy are required for success at the highest level (from rock-paper-scissors to any well-balanced real-time strategy game). we can discuss this in more depth if you're interested.
pascal essay is excellent.
All our reasoning reduces itself to yielding to feeling. (Pascal's Thoughts, 274)
Robin, et. al.,
a number of top philosophers have been turning with heated interest to precisely this issue in the past recent years. For an excellent introduction to this current discussions, here is perhaps the best place to start:
Of course, the main idea in your post is the need for a better understanding of intuitions, which I agree with. "Intuition" as a term has collected a lot of baggage from New Agers and others, so I mostly try to avoid using it, I mostly use "insight" instead, which seems to capture the epistemic characteristics of intuition. Whatever you call it, it seems to mostly be the result of an unconscious search and judgement system (all too often with unconscious goals as well).
Susan Haack discusses the problem in "Evidence and Inquiry"; she tries to develop a middle way between "foundationalism" and "coherentism". One that has the web of mutually and interdependently supporting facts/ideas but is supported by a few solid foundational facts/ideas.
My (limited) exposure to this kind of argument is from Rawls' discussions of reflective equilibrium, which seems similar to what Bryan is striving for. What possibly bothered me more about what Bryan said wasn't simply that he used an intuitive process (and I'm sure the usual cognitive pratfalls associated with this are a worthy method of poking at this approach), but that he claimed to ascribe to a strand of moral realism.. given more time to follow up, I probably would have tried to press him more on how he comes to perceive moral facts in the universe in ways that others (those who disagree with him) do not.
Robin:You may know this already, but you are recapitulating parts of Blaise Pascal's discussion, in his Pensees, of the difference between what he called geometric and intuitive modes of reasoning. By geometric, he means what we'd probably call mathematical/deductive/axiomatic. Pascal's reflection is fairly short but it is well-known and has probably nucleated further discussion that would interest you.
Here's the first English translation google provides (which translates geometric as "mathematical"):http://oregonstate.edu/inst...