Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors
Intuition, Epistemology, Phenomenology, Knowledge, A Priori
The topic of this paper is an investigation of intellectual intuition as a faculty of the human mind. The aim of this investigation is to draw a strong analogy between the faculty of intuition and the various faculties of empirical sense (vision, hearing, and so on). I begin by examining the phenomenology of intuition, highlighting the similarities between the subjective experience of intuition and empirical sense. I explain these similarities by arguing that both activities are alike in being presentational mental activities. Developing the concept of a presentational activity in general, I examine the relationship between presentations and beliefs formed on the basis thereof. I argue that beliefs based on intuition and sense perception enjoy prima facie justification proportional to the quality of that presentation. After explaining how beliefs formed on the basis of intuition can err, I spend some time distinguishing intuition-based beliefs from sense-based beliefs by underscoring the a priori and immaterial nature of intuitions. It turns out that this difference is key to explaining how intuition serves an exalted role in the production of philosophical knowledge. In particular, I argue for a modest epistemic foundationalism in which intuition and sense perception both provide non-inferential justification. After explaining why philosophical knowledge is especially concerned with a priori knowledge, I concur that intuition, in being the only immediate ground for a priori knowledge, must serve as the foundation of all philosophy. Finally, I argue that this theory of intuition is capable of protecting philosophy from certain skeptical scenarios in which knowledge might be thought impossible.
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Waite, Oliver P., "On the Faculty of Intuition" (2020). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 377.