Ethics and Intuitions

  title={Ethics and Intuitions},
  author={Peter Singer},
  journal={The Journal of Ethics},
  • P. Singer
  • Published 1 October 2005
  • Philosophy, Psychology
  • The Journal of Ethics
For millennia, philosophers have speculated about the origins of ethics. Recent research in evolutionary psychology and the neurosciences has shed light on that question. But this research also has normative significance. A standard way of arguing against a normative ethical theory is to show that in some circumstances the theory leads to judgments that are contrary to our common moral intuitions. If, however, these moral intuitions are the biological residue of our evolutionary history, it is… 

Moral Intuition in Philosophy and Psychology

Almost everyone agrees that ethical disputes cannot be resolved by appealing to empirical evidence alone. How, then, can we settle which moral principles to adopt or what to think of a particular

The Epistemology of Ethical Intuitions

Abstract Intuitions are widely assumed to play an important evidential role in ethical inquiry. In this paper I critically discuss a recently influential claim that the epistemological credentials of

A Pragmatic Method

Many arguments in ethics and bioethics, especially those in death and dying, appear to be driven by intuitions or what some authors claim is common sense. Very rarely questioned, if ever, are the

Disagreement and Doubts About Darwinian Debunking

Evolutionary debunking arguments draw on claims about the biological origins of our moral beliefs to undermine moral realism. In this paper, I argue that moral disagreement gives us reason to doubt

Moral Transformation and Duties of Beneficence

Some ideas are at the heart of the world’s great ethical and religious traditions, yet they play little or no role within certain debates in modern philosophical ethics. One such idea is that most of

Moral Intuitions And Their Reliability

Philosophers often defer to intuition when discussing ethics. It is common to evaluate an ethical theory by comparing its suggested action in a dilemma to what intuition suggests. A theory that

Philosophical Implications and Multidisciplinary Challenges of Moral Physiology

It is argued that moral physiology may indeed yield normatively relevant findings but only under the assumption of certain normative stances which cannot be justified ultimately by neuroscience experiments.

Between Facts and Norms: Ethics and Empirical Moral Psychology

This chapter traces the history of moral psychology from David Hume to modern empirical philosophy. It is argued that the progression of philosophical thinking about morality and the tensions between

Moral Psychology And Moral Intuition: A Pox On All Your Houses

Peter Singer has argued for a radical anti-intuitionism on the basis of recent empirical research into the psychological and evolutionary origins of moral intuition. There is, however, a gap between

Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics

We often make judgments about good and bad, right and wrong. Philosophical ethics is the critical examination of these and other concepts central to how we evaluate our own and each others’ behavior




The Western Australian Division of the Australian Red Cross Society is playing an important part in Civil Defence planning and training, with special emphasis on the Welfare role. In this Australian