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Title: Sidgwick’s Philosophical Intuitions
Authors: Skelton, Anthony
Keywords: Sidgwickutilitarianismintuition
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Anthony Skelton, "Sidgwick’s Philosophical Intuitions", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, X (2008) 2, pp. 185-209.
Series/Report no.: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
X (2008) 2
Sidgwick famously claimed that an argument in favour of utilitarianism might be provided
by demonstrating that a set of defensible philosophical intuitions undergird it. This paper
focuses on those philosophical intuitions. It aims to show which specific intuitions Sidgwick
endorsed, and to shed light on their mutual connections. It argues against many rival
interpretations that Sidgwick maintained that six philosophical intuitions constitute the selfevident
grounds for utilitarianism, and that those intuitions appear to be specifications of a
negative principle of universalization (according to which differential treatments must be
based on reasonable grounds alone). In addition, this paper attempts to show how the
intuitions function in the overall argument for utilitarianism. The suggestion is that the
intuitions are the main positive part of the argument for the view, which includes Sidgwick's
rejection of common-sense morality and its philosophical counterpart, dogmatic intuitionism.
The paper concludes by arguing that some of Sidgwick's intuitions fail to meet the conditions
for self-evidence which Sidgwick himself established and applied to the rules of common-sense
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2008) X/2

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