Institut Jean Nicod

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Soutenance de thèse - Slawa LOEV - "Affectivisme Intellectuel : les Expériences Intuitives sont des Sentiments Épistémiques""

Loev’s thesis which will take place on Wednesday 18 th December 2019 from 3.00pm , at École Normale Supérieure, 29 Rue d’Ulm, salle Ribot (ground level, across of Espace Curie ).


Le jury sera composé de :

François RECANATI (Collège de France, Président du Jury)
Bénédicte VEILLET (University of Michigan – Flint)
Fabrice TERONI (Université de Genève)
Kathrin GLÜER-PAGIN (Stockholm University)
John BENGSON (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
Elisabeth PACHERIE (CNRS, Directrice)
Jérôme DOKIC (EHESS, Co-Directeur)


Titre de la soutenance : Intellectual Affetivism : Intuition Experiences are Epistemic Feelings

Thesis Abstract :

The guiding question of the present thesis is : “What kind of states are intuitions ?” The answer developed here is Intellectual Affectivism or Affectivism (about intuitions). Affectivism claims that intuitions are affective experiences, or more precisely : they are specific instances of epistemic feelings, feelings of truth and feelings of falsity. First, the target state of which Affectivism is a theory is delineated from other things we call “intuition”. Then the feature profile of “intuitions” in the target sense of intuition experiences is outlined : Intuition experiences are occurrent conscious mental states that are (partially) characterised by their characteristic (but not necessarily sui generis ) phenomenology. They are furthermore 1) intentional, 2) assertive, 3) motivational, 4) noncommittal, 5) gradable in 5.1) content and 5.2) pushiness, 6) phenomenally epistemically valenced (i.e. there are positive intuitions concerning truth and negative intuitions concerning falsity) and 7) nonvoluntary. It is argued that this feature profile needs to be accommodated by a good theory of intuition experiences, i.e. a good answer to the guiding question should be able to acknowledge and explain these features. Extant intuition theories provide the following answers : Eliminativism claims the term “intuition” has no extension — intuitions do not exist. Doxasticism claims intuitions are doxastic states. Perceptualism claims intuitions are similar to perceptual experiences. It is shown that all the existing answers are unsatisfactory. Either they cannot acknowledge the features of intuitions or they cannot explain them (or both). The rest of the thesis is dedicated to the development of a new intuition theory : Intellectual Affectivism . The answer it gives to the guiding question is the following : intuitions are affective experiences, or more precisely : they are specific instances of epistemic feelings, feelings of truth and feelings of falsity. To motivate this answer, the psychological kind of feelings or affective experiences is introduced and characterised : affective experiences, of which bodily feelings such as bodily pain or pleasure and emotional feelings such as fear or joy are paradigmatic subclasses, are valenced, arousing, motivational and richly intentional by engaging in a division of representational labour with other mental states. Then the class of epistemic feelings is introduced and characterised. The thesis proceeds to make a case for epistemic feelings being affective experiences. Having established that, it goes on to identify and analyse specific epistemic feelings as promising candidates for an identification with intuition experiences : feelings of rightness and feelings of wrongness. It turns out that a propositional variety of these feelings, feelings of truth and feelings of falsity, has the same feature profile as intuition experiences. Thus, the claim goes, positive intuitions are to be identified with feelings of truth and negative intuitions are to be identified with feelings of falsity. In virtue of these feelings being affective experiences, Affectivism cannot only acknowledge the features of intuitions but also explain them. Intuitions have the features they have for essentially the same reasons as bodily and emotional feelings have them —because they are (specific) affective experiences. Before concluding on the implications of Affectivism, the remainder of this thesis makes a first exploration of the relationship between feelings of truth and falsity and actual truth and falsity.