Critical and intuitive reasoning: the moral and the social
First, there is a certain methodological similarity at work within all three philosophies. Following Sidgwick (1981, Bk. 4), who referred to common sense as ‘unconscious utilitarianism’, Hare’s (1981, p 190) consequentialism embraces what he calls a two-level theory. Reason has its limitations, he observes. We may apply the correct procedures incorrectly or it might be that the very procedures we apply are wrong...
...Moral thinking, according to Hare, embraces an intuitive level and a critical one. We cannot help being guided by intuitions, since these make the world manageable, but without critical thinking we may end up repeating our own versions of the mistakes committed by Aristotle and the Bible. That said, critical thinking requires the orientations of the intuitive (the sensible, the obvious, the everyday) if (p.91) it is to be practical. We therefore need to combine these levels as best we can – although it should be noted that Hare (1981, pp 44–6) did give some priority to the critical
There are similarities here with the methods of Rawls and MacIntyre (also Scanlon, 1998, pp 197–9).
...So Hare the consequentialist, Rawls the contractualist and MacIntyre the virtuist all treat the proximate, the consensual, the accepted, the intuitive as indispensable aspects of moral decision making. They each posit social environments as existing in some kind of comparative dynamic with critical reason, even though each offers alternative versions of what this means and what that dynamic implies. Yet the differences are less important than the fact that each is tying into modern conceptions of understanding, knowledge and reasoning as profoundly social rather than as, say, that fragment of forgotten eternity that is the soul (Plato, Christianity) or as the complex accumulation of sensory data (Aquinas, Locke).