Michael Huemer: Ethical Intuitionism | Who Shaves the Barber? #32

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Michael Huemer

Are there moral facts? If so, are they objective? Where do they come from? Do we have reason to think – or doubt – that our immediate ethical intuitions tell us what they are?

These are the questions I discuss this week with professor Michael Huemer. The metaethical landscape can be split up as follows: realists (those who think there are objective ethical facts) and anti-realists (those who don’t). Realists, in turn, fall into two further camps: naturalists, who think objective ethical facts can be reduced to descriptive facts about the world; and ethical intuitionists, who think ethical facts (or “evaluative” facts) are of a different sort and cannot be reduced to descriptive facts. As Huemer puts it, ethical intuitionists argue that ethical facts have a different type of ontology. We go on to discuss the reasons we should trust our ethical intuitions to reveal moral facts, why ethical intuitions seem shakier than perceptual ones, and what the source of moral facts is. Finally, Huemer gives us a teaser for his upcoming book, Paradox Lost, in which he claims to solve ten famous paradoxes, including the LiarSoritesNewcomb’s, and the Sleeping Beauty problem.

Next weekTimothy Williamson: Epistemicism



Interested in metaethics? I’ve discussed it before, with Tomasz Kaye.

Special thanks to Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.
Click here for the full list of episodes!

Topics discussed

0:57 – Metaethical landscapes: two ways to draw the map
5:24 – Reasons people dislike ethical intuitionism
9:52 – Why not doubt our ethical intuitions?
16:33 – What are moral facts?
19:25 – Is there a source of moral facts?
25:19 – Ethical versus perceptual appearances
27:30 – New book: Paradox Lost (Liar, Sorites, Newcomb’s)


Ethical Intuitionism (Michael Huemer)

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