Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Dustin Locke

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In debates about ethics and morality, justification of belief poses a difficult problem for any would-be explanation. Even when someone believes they are justified, how can that person be certain that a justification is legitimate? This question about the legitimacy of people’s sources of knowledge is present through all realms of epistemology (the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of knowledge), but is particularly troubling with moral debates. Given that there is no obvious parallel to physical sense perception with regards to morality, and apparent disagreement about many moral issues, one must consider in what way moral believers could be justified in their belief (or if such moral beliefs can be justified at all). Through examination of Intuitionism, a school of metaethics that proposes justification of moral beliefs through intuition, this paper will seek to provide an explanation of how moral belief could be justified, in spite of widespread concerns about confirmation for such beliefs and the supposedly problematic nature of disagreement.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.