This post is a follow-up on my argument against the method of cases (i.e., the method of appealing to intuitions elicited by thought experiments).
As readers of Experimental Philosophy know, there is an ongoing debate concerning what is known as "the expertise defense." Roughly speaking, the expertise defense is the idea that only the intuitive judgments of experts, or professional philosophers, should count as evidence in philosophical arguments. As Weinberg et al. (2010) have shown, those who appeal to the expertise defense have to show that the intuitive judgments of professional philosophers are both different from and better than the intuitive judgments of ordinary folk.
Here I would like to focus on the following question: Are there good reasons to think that the intuitive judgments of professional philosophers are better than those of ordinary folk? I think there is actually a good reason to think that the intuitive judgments of professional philosophers cannot be better than those of ordinary folk. Here is why:
- Perceptual judgments are perceptual seemings (e.g., "It seems to me that the sky is blue") that cannot get better by training (e.g., the sky seems blue even to a geophysicist who is an expert on the atmosphere).
- Like perceptual judgments, intuitive judgments are intellectual seemings (e.g., "It seems to me that I would not want to be plugged into an experience machine").
- Therefore, like perceptual judgments, intuitive judgments cannot get better by training (e.g., if it seemed to me that I would not want to be plugged into the experience machine, this intuitive judgment is unlikely to change as a result of formal training in philosophy).