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Subject and Keywords:

intuition   intuitive proposition   concepts   conceptual analysis   analytic philosophy   evidence in philosophy   experimental philosophy   cognitive psychology


The dissertation concerns the role and the nature of intuition in contemporary analytic philosophy. It belongs therefore mainly to metaphilosophy and deals with the questions thoroughly discussed within it during recent years, such as what intuition is, how one can grasp it, how it could be defined, how – and to what extent –it can be used in philosophy, whether it can be tested empirically and if so – to what extent the results of conducted studies matter to philosophical analyses and, finally, whether the proper methodology of philosophy should be based on the extensive reliance on intuitions. All of those questions – and the like – mark out the starting point for the analyses in this dissertation.For centuries the topic of intuition was at the centre of philosophical inquiry. Indeed, the notion of ‘intuition’ in philosophy has a rich history and is substantially theory-laden. In this dissertation in a major part I ignore this tradition and instead I focus on particular area of philosophical scrutiny – contemporary analytic philosophy. It stems from the fact that intuition is discussed within analytic philosophy in a distinctive fashion, often without an overt relation to the questions posed throughout the history of philosophy. Specifically, it is claimed that intuitions on different thought experiments are used as an evidence for particular philosophical theories or claims, playing an important epistemic role.The main goal of the dissertation is thus to put under scrutiny the nature of intuition so conceived and the critical assessment of the role it plays in philosophy. The main theses of the dissertation are the following. Firstly, intuition indeed is very often used as an evidence for many philosophical theories and claims. Secondly, that evidence is constituted directly by intuitive propositions (or judgments) that can be characterized as noninferential and dispositional, while their source is an intuition understood as a kind of mental process or state that can be studied on empirical grounds, e.g. by cognitive psychologists. Thirdly, intuitions can be mentalistic evidence, that is, they can provide evidence (or be the source of evidence) about concepts, but not about the extramental entities in the world. The argumentation for those claims lasts for five chapters that are preceded by the introduction and followed by the conclusion. In the introduction I make an attempt to carefully delineate the topic of the dissertation paying particular attention to the variety of contexts in which the term ‘intuition’ is deployed. Firstly, thus, I analyze different associations of that notion within the history of philosophy, mentioning for instance the understanding of intuition in scholastic philosophy, in Plato and Aristotle, and in the modern era, among both influential rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza) and empiricists (Locke). Then I indicate the more recent conceptions of intuition in philosophy, such as in Peirce’s pragmatism, Husserl’s phenomenology and Bergson’s thought, as well as its role in logic and particular fields of science. I also consider the contexts of the use of the tern ‘intuition’ in ordinary language or the literature. In the introduction several terminological and translational decisions made in the dissertation are also discussed. Finally, the introduction ends with the treatment of the methodology, main theses of the dissertation and the detailed content of every chapter.

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University of Wroclaw

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Copyright by Kamil Cekiera

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