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Title:The nature of intuitions and their role in material object metaphysics
Author(s):Higgins, Andrew
Director of Research:Waskan, Jonathan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Waskan, Jonathan
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Korman, Daniel Z.; Baillargeon, Renée; Alexander, Joshua
Department / Program:Philosophy
Discipline:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):intuition
meta-philosophy
metaphysics
philosophy of mind
Abstract:I argue for three central theses: ‘intuition’ is ambiguous, in material object metaphysics ‘intuition’ refers to pre-theoretical beliefs, and these pre-theoretical beliefs are generated by an innate physical reasoning system. I begin by outlining the relevant background discussions on the nature of intuitions and their role in philosophy to motivate the need for a more careful investigation of the meaning of ‘intuition’ and the role of intuitions in specific sub-disciplines of philosophy. In chapters one and two I argue that ‘intuition’ is ambiguous between an inflationary and deflationary sense. In the inflationary sense, ‘intuition’ refers to a priori intellectual seemings with a special phenomenology, conceptual etiology, and modal content. In the deflationary sense, ‘intuition’ refers to beliefs or inclinations to believe. In chapter three I specifically examine the use of intuitions in material object metaphysics and conclude that in this sub-community ‘intuition’ is used in the deflationary sense to refer to pre-theoretical beliefs. Drawing from research on infant cognition, in the final chapter I argue that intuitions regarding material object metaphysics are those judgments that arise from an innate physical reasoning system. Based on this empirical observation, I argue that metaphysicians ought to give preference to abstract intuitions over intuitions regarding concrete cases because these abstract intuitions reflect the innate structure of our physical reasoning mechanisms.
Issue Date:2015-01-21
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/72936
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Andrew Higgins
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-01-21
Date Deposited:2014-12


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