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INTUITIONISM

Intuitionism is a doctrine which states that the source of morality is found within the human personality; its basis is the person's motive, intent or will. The rightness and wrongness of an act is not determined by the act nor its consequences which are observable and are subjected to prejudices. Man's motive or intention in doing such an act should be the lone basis in judging its morality, nothing else. "The action is essentially good if the motive of the agent is good, let the consequences be what they may. o Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. "The word 'intuition' comes from the Latin word 'intueri', which is often roughly translated as meaning 'to look inside' or 'to contemplate'. Intuition provides us with beliefs that we cannot necessarily justify. For this reason, it has been the subject of study in psychology, as well as a topic of interest in the supernatural. Some scientists have contended that intuition is associated with innovation in scientific discovery. Intuition may be defined as understanding or knowing without conscious recourse to thought, observation or reason. Some see this unmediated process as somehow mystical while others describe intuition as being a response to unconscious cues or implicitly apprehended. (Jason Gallate & Ms Shannan Keen BA)

Intuitionism says that "good" is an indefinable notion. The basic moral truths are
objective; they hold independently of what anyone may think or feel. We should pick our moral principles by following our basic moral intuitions.

Good" is indefinable and objective


Intuitionism makes three claims: (1) "Good" is indefinable, (2) there are objective moral truths, and (3) the basic moral truths are self-evident to a mature mind. He explain these claims. 1. "Good" is a simple, indefinable notion. Suppose that someone defines "good" as "socially approved." We should ask, "Are socially approved things necessarily good?" The answer clearly is "no," which refutes the definition. We can refute other definitions of "good" in a similar way. Since "good" is indefinable, we can't prove moral conclusions from non-moral premises alone. 2. There are objective moral truths -- moral truths that don't depend on human thinking or feeling. "Hatred is wrong" is an example. Hatred is

wrong in itself. It would still be wrong even if everyone approved of it. It's an objective truth that hatred is wrong.

There are self-evident moral truths


3. The basic moral principles are self-evident truths -- known truths that require no further proof or justification. To apply these to concrete actions requires further information; it's never self-evident what we ought to do in a concrete situation. To arrive at the self-evident principles of morality requires reflection and intellectual maturity. The test of such principles isn't their initial plausibility, but whether a careful examination uncovers implications that clash with our intuitions.

Objections to intuitionism
Intuitionism, despite its initial plausibility, has some problems. In mathematics, principles claimed to be self-evident are precise and largely agreed on by the experts. In ethics, principles claimed to be self-evident are vague and widely disputed. Intuitionists themselves disagree widely about what is self-evident.

Intuitionism teaches three main things:


There are real objective moral truths that are independent of human beings. These are fundamental truths that can't be broken down into parts or defined by reference to anything except other moral truths. Human beings can discover these truths by using their minds in a particular, intuitive way.

Intuitionism does not mean that all moral decisions are reached by relying on intuition. Intuition enables the discovery of the basic moral truths, and everyday moral decisionmaking then involves thinking about the choices available and making moral judgments in an ordinary sort of way. A leading UK intuitionist was the Cambridge philosopher G E Moore (1873-1954) who set out his ideas in the 1902 book Principia Ethica. If I am asked, What is good? my answer is that good is good, and that is the end of the matter. Or if I am asked How is good to be defined? my answer is that it cannot be defined, and that is all I have to say about it. But disappointing as these answers may appear, they are of the very last importance.

My point is that good is a simple notion, just as yellow is a simple notion; that, just as you cannot, by any manner of means, explain to anyone who does not already know it, what yellow is, so you cannot explain what good is. G.E. Moore is famous for arguing that good can be defined no more successfully than yellow. If we are asked to define yellow, or indeed any color, we can only define it in terms of something else which possesses what we consider to be the quality or characteristics of yellow. We give examples of yellow and yellow things, but we do not define yellow itself. Even the assertion the color perceived when the retina is stimulated by electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength of between 570 and 590 nanometers is yellow does not give us the meaning of yellow, although it is a true statement. G E Moore, Principia Ethica Book Or to put it at its simplest: 'Good' means 'good' and that's all there is to say about it. Moore objected to something called 'the naturalistic fallacy', which states that moral truths can be analyzed in terms of physical or psychological things which exist in the natural world. Moral truths were moral truths, and that was that.

Bad points of intuitionism


Philosophers object to intuitionism because:

they don't think that objective moral truths exist they don't think that there is a process of moral intuition there's no way for a person to distinguish between something actually being right and it merely seeming right to that person if intuitionism worked properly, everyone would come to the same moral conclusions, but they don't

Objective moral truths don't exist Many philosophers don't think that there are such things as objective moral truths. For them, moral statements are not factual statements about how the world is. Furthermore, it might be claimed that we could never know the truth, even if it existed objectively, because knowledge requires testing in a properly scientific fashion, and that is not available for moral statements. Moral intuition doesn't exist

Intuitionism says humans can find moral truths for themselves.

The idea that human beings have something called moral intuition is superficially attractive, but doesn't easily stand up to inspection. Is it another sense like sight or hearing? Probably not, since the moral truths that moral intuition should detect don't seem to be out in the physical world. Nor is it a process of reasoning, because intuitionists usually rule that out, too. Perhaps it shows itself in moral emotions, like feelings of guilt? But although human beings certainly have such feelings, the feelings could be the result of breaking internal mental rules of conduct or breaching cultural rules, rather than of breaking objective moral rules. Seeming right may not be the same as being right When an intuitionist ponders a problem the only things they have to work with are their feelings, thoughts and attitudes. Working with these entirely subjective things the intuitionist arrives at moral intuitions, which he then puts forward as objective truths. People reach different ethical conclusions If there are real objective moral truths, then they are presumably the same for everyone. Yet different people come to different conclusions faced with the same ethical problems. Some people say that these moral truths are 'self-evident', but this just leaves the problem of different things being self-evident to different selves!

THANK YOU

ENGR. DARWIN A. DISPO Reporter