Can Intuitions Justify Moral Claims?


  • Alison M Jaggar University of Colorado Boulder
  • Theresa W. Tobin Marquette University



intuition, moral justification, moral epistemology, epistemic injustice


In the last three decades of the twentieth century, many analytic philosophers turned to addressing questions of practical ethics, radically expanding the field of moral philosophy beyond the meta-ethical topics that had been its primary focus for most of the century. Yet addressing practical controversies quickly raised the question of how normative moral claims might be justified. Many analytic philosophers relied on intuitionism, which has a long pedigree in Anglophone moral philosophy. This paper assesses three ways in which twentieth analytic philosophers drew on intuitions to support or dispute moral claims. We argue that those methods failed in their aim of promoting trustworthy moral knowledge because they relied on assumptions that, when presumed in contexts of structural epistemic injustice, are systematically misleading. Even though intuitions are among the sources of knowledge on which moral agents should rely, moral epistemology must give careful attention to the social processes through which intuitions and other forms of evidence are gathered, refined, and assessed. Producing trustworthy moral knowledge requires democratic reasoning processes that are sensitive to the ubiquity of epistemic injustice and domination and develops strategies for countering these.


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How to Cite

Jaggar, A. M., & Tobin, T. W. (2024). Can Intuitions Justify Moral Claims?. Revista De Humanidades De Valparaíso, (24), 105–123.

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