Intuitions in Philosophy: The Use of Intuitions in Philosophy with Regards to the Study of Consciousness
Edgren, Anna J.
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In this paper I will be questioning the validity of some of the practices that are used within philosophy; I will specifically be looking at philosophical intuitions. Philosophical theories both of the nature of concepts and the nature of non-conceptual reality are often rooted in intuitions. The explicit theories and ideas that come out of philosophy can often be traced back to the intuitions from which they came. What is unique about the field of philosophy is that it is a field that often grounds itself in these generally intangible intuitions. Yet within philosophy, both the definition and role of intuitions is unclear and frequently disputed. In this paper I intend to demonstrate the essential importance of intuitions to philosophy and to define their role within the field. I will clarify four different ways that intuitions can be used within philosophy and discuss the validity of these approaches, drawing lines between hypotheses and evidence, and then between conceptual ideas and non-conceptual reality. I will ultimately conclude that intuitions cannot be seen as providing evidence within non-conceptual reality. I will then address the current practical application of intuitions within philosophy by focusing on the debate surrounding the nature of consciousness. I will use the study of consciousness and philosophy of mind as examples of the ways intuitions are currently used in philosophy, and explain potential problems that can arise when they are used improperly. I will show that the validity of intuitions in general is questionable and their theoretical application in this debate is particularly troubling. By exploring the nature of this debate, I hope to illuminate the problems that arise by using intuitions in this way and ultimately show why intuitions should not be seen as providing evidence for matters within non-conceptual reality.
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