One of the biggest problems with analytical ethics, as it’s usually practised, is the reliance on “moral intuitions” as data for ethical judgements. “Intuitions” themselves are not the problem, as long as we think of them as Martha Nussbaum does in The Fragility of Goodness, as “prevalent ordinary beliefs,” the relatively commonsense understandings that make up our starting point, like Gadamer’s Vorurteilen (prejudices). We have to start our enquiry where we are, making sense of the beliefs we already have, rejecting some in the light of others.
But contemporary ethicists often go further than this, giving our unreflective “intuitions” a high status they do not deserve. Continue reading