Whose Concepts Are They, Anyway? The Role of Philosophical Intuition in Empirical Psychology
Alison Gopnik and Eric Schwitzgebel

M.R. DePaul and W. Ramsey (eds.), Rethinking Intuition (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998).


This chapter examines several ways in which philosophical attention to intuition can contribute to empirical scientific psychology. The authors then discuss one prevalent misuse of intuition. An unspoken assumption of much argumentation in the philosophy of mind has been that to articulate our folk psychological intuitions, our ordinary concepts of belief, truth, meaning, and so forth, is itself sufficient to give a theoretical account of what belief, truth, meaning, and so forth, actually are. It is believed that this assumption rests on an inadequate understanding of the nature of intuition and its appropriate applications, and that it results in errors. Three notable examples of this sort of misuse of intuition in philosophy are briefly discussed. Finally, the authors provide developmental evidence for the mutability and fallibility of everyday intuitions about the mind, evidence that undermines arguments, that depend on taking such intuitions as a final authority for substantive claims about what the mind is like.

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Whose Concepts Are They, Anyway?  The Role of Philosophical Intuition in Empirical Psychology

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