How not to test for philosophical expertise

Regina A. Rini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent empirical work appears to suggest that the moral intuitions of professional philosophers are just as vulnerable to distorting psychological factors as are those of ordinary people. This paper assesses these recent tests of the ‘expertise defense’ of philosophical intuition. I argue that the use of familiar cases and principles constitutes a methodological problem. Since these items are familiar to philosophers, but not ordinary people, the two subject groups do not confront identical cognitive tasks. Reflection on this point shows that these findings do not threaten philosophical expertise—though we can draw lessons for more effective empirical tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-452
Number of pages22
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2015


  • Expertise defense
  • Methodology
  • Moral intuition
  • Philosophical intuition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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