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3.0 out of 5 stars I can't put my finger on it, but my intuition tells me Huemer might be wrong, 19 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Ethical Intuitionism (Paperback)
Michael Huemer's book "Ethical Intuitionism" defends a non-naturalist version of moral realism, according to which moral facts are true irrespective of what anyone might think of them, that such facts are not part of the material world accessible to empirical science, and that we have knowledge of these moral facts through intuition. This is presumably an extreme minority position within secular academe.

I'm not necessarily hostile to "moral realism" or "dualism", and I even liked the author's self-assured and arrogant style, after reading the meeker arguments for a somewhat similar position by Russ Shafer-Landau. I wonder what would happen if Michael Huemer, Richard Dawkins and Alister McGrath would be placed in the same TV studio? That would be great fun!

Still, I must admit that I found Huemer's book to be ultimately disappointing. I never understood its central point: the intuitions themselves. Huemer writes that we have intuitive knowledge of many things. Most of his examples turn out to be self-evident logical truths, such as "If A is greater than B, and B is greater than C, then C is smaller than A". But in what meaningful sense is that an "intuitive" truth? It's ultimately based on empirical observation and rational reasoning, not "intuition". It also turns out that moral truths are *not* of this kind, according to Huemer. Here, the author makes the somewhat weaker claim that moral truths might be prima facie true, while not being self-evident. Moral truths are weaker than logical truths. But if so, can we really rely on intuitions to solve our moral conundrums? What is prima facie true might not actually be true, so it seems we need something else than mere intuitions! Some form of rationalism seems to be called for here.

I can't put my finger on it, but I suspect Huemer might be wrong!

"Ethical intuitionism", while not a book for the general public, is nevertheless surprisingly easy to read for a scholarly philosophy book. I take that to mean that Huemer wants to address students. It's not uninteresting, but in the end this student remains unconvinced.
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Ethical Intuitionism
Ethical Intuitionism by Michael Huemer (Paperback - 1 Jan. 2008)
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