Digest of terms


an inner sense or 'gut feeling' about someone or something. It is found alongside conclusions that are arrived at by public criteria and logic. The experience is more strongly developed in some people than others, but evidence for a preponderant gender base ('female intuition') is questionable. It is sometimes associated with the sense of guilt or shame, which may be hallmarks of conscience. Rather than relegating it to a second division aspect of human response and moral judgement, it may be wiser to see it as a complementary mode of understanding and reasoning. Indeed in current evolutionary psychology a strong case is made for regarding moral intuitions as a default mode of ethical thinking bred by millennia of conditioning. Whether and if so to what extent intuitions precede and shape rational judgment, or their validity needs to be called in question and countered by moral reflection, remains a matter of lively academic debate. (moral foundations theory, feminist ethics).

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