(i) there are objective moral truths; (ii) we know some of these truths through a kind of immediate, intellectual awareness, or “intuition”; and (iii) our knowledge of moral truths gives us reasons for action independent of our desires.
I have explained in a prior post how that my belief in ethical intuitionism relates to my de-conversion. Essentially, I see the God of the Bible violating a number of ethical principles. If the Bible is accurate in its reports, then the God of the Bible is an unethical being. He is not holy and righteous and he is not worthy of worship. I actually don't think such a God really exists. I think he is the invention of the imagination of ancient peoples. However, if one wants to retain evangelical Christianity, one has to explain how the actions of the God reported in the Bible are ethical inspite of our intuitions to the contrary.
1. What is an intuition?
Reasoning sometimes changes how things seem to us. But there is also a way things seem to us prior to reasoning; otherwise, reasoning could not get started. The way things seem prior to reasoning we may call an 'initial appearance'. An initial, intellectual appearance is an 'intuition'. . . . An ethical intuition is an intuition whose content is an evaluative proposition (p. 101).
2. What are some examples of ethical intuitions?
 Enjoyment is better than suffering.
 If A is better than B and B is better than C, then A is better than C.
 It is unjust to punish a person for a crime he did not commit.
 Courage, benevolence, and honesty are virtues.
 If a person has a right to do something, then no person has a right to forcibly prevent him from doing that thing (p. 102).
Prior to entertaining arguments for or against them, each of these propositions seems true. In each case, the appearance is intellectual; you do not perceive that these things are the case with your eyes, ears, etc. And they are evaluative. So the relevant mental states are ethical intuitions (p. 102).
3. What are examples of ethical claims that are not intuitive?
 The United States should not have gone to war in Iraq in 2003.
 We should privatize Social Security.
 Abortion is wrong (p. 102).
Huemer states: Though these propositions seem true to some, the relevant appearances do not count as 'intuitions' because they depend on other beliefs (p. 102).
4. Aren't ethical intuitions just dervied from our antecedent moral beliefs?
A more sophisticated worry is that what we think of as intuitions may be products of antecedently existing beliefs, perhaps via subconscious inferences. Perhaps 'Enjoyment is better than suffering' only seems true to me because I already believe it, or believe things from which it follows (p. 103).
Huemer gives two reasons for rejecting the idea that ethical intuitions are based on antecedent moral beliefs:
First, the view that intuitions are or are caused by beliefs fails to explain the origin of our moral beliefs. Undoubtedly some moral beliefs are accounted for by inference from other moral beliefs. But since no moral belief can be derived from wholly non-moral premises [Hume's Guillotine], we must start with some moral beliefs that are not inferred from any other beliefs. Where do these starting moral beliefs come from? Do we just adopt them entirely arbitrarily? No; this is not the phenomenology of moral belief. We adopt fundamental moral beliefs because they seem right to us; we don't select them randomly.
Second, moral intuitions are not in general caused by antecedent moral beliefs, since moral intuitions often either conflict with our antecedently held moral theories, or are simply unexplained by them. Here are two famous hypothetical examples from the ethics literature:
Example 1: A doctor in a hospital has five patients who need organ transplants; otherwise, they will die. They all need different organs. He also has one healthy patient, in for a routine checkup, who happens to be compatible with the five. Should the doctor kill the healthy patient and distribute his organs to the other five?
Example 2: A runaway trolley is heading for a fork in the track. If it takes the left fork, it will collide with and kill five people; if it takes the right fork, it will collide with and kill one person. None of the people can be moved out of the way in time. There is a switch that determines which fork the trolley takes. It is presently set to send the trolley to the left. You can flip the switch, sending the trolley to the right instead. Should you flip the switch (p. 103)?
What does your intuition tell you is the correct action in each case? Remember that your intuition is your initial "gut reaction" before reflection. Does your view of what is the correct action change upon further reflection?
We will examine this in more detail in a future post.