I think it’s safe to say that intuitions about cases tend to be taken less seriously in material-object metaphysics than they are in (e.g.) epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and ethics. Does anyone know of any explicit discussion or defense of this differential treatment in the literature? In particular, is there any discussion (even in passing) of either of the following two claims:
(i) That we should be more skeptical of particular-case intuitions about material-object metaphysics (or metaphysics generally) than we are of particular-case intuitions about other matters (e.g., in epistemology, phil language, ethics).
(ii) That we should be more skeptical of particular-case intuitions about material-object metaphysics (or metaphysics generally) than we are of general-principle intuitions about material-object metaphysics (e.g., anti-colocation intuitions).
The can only think of two discussions. The first -- bearing on question (i) -- is in Rodriguez-Pereyra’s Resemblance Nominalism (p.217) where he contrasts intuitions about metaphysics with intuitions in philosophy of language, and he suggests that the latter are reliable only because the range of facts intuited (e.g., about meanings) are themselves determined by our conceptual activities. The other -- bearing on question (ii) -- is the last couple sentences of Ted Sider’s paper “Parthood,” where he suggests that general-principle intuitions are more trustworthy because judgments about cases tend to be “infused with irrelevant linguistic intuitions.” I’ve also encountered various responses in conversation, e.g., that metaphysics is about what exists, or that it’s misguided to rely on conceptual analysis in this domain. But I’ve never seen any proposal worked out in any detail, and I have my doubts that any of them can draw the line in the right place between (on the one hand) cases and principles and (on the other hand) metaphysics and other areas.
I’d be grateful for any references, as well as any thoughts on how (i) or (ii) should be defended.