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Intuition is an immediate form of knowledge in which the knower is directly acquainted with the object of knowledge. Intuition differs from all forms of mediated knowledge, which generally involve conceptualizating the object of knowledge by means of rational/analytical thought processes (and, hence, placing a mediating idea or concept between the knower and the known).
Some philosophers consider human experience of raw empirical data (sometimes called "qualia") to be intuitive. For example, when a person sees a patch of yellow, that person is directly acquainted with the yellowness of the object, even if he or she has no name or concept for yellowness.
Intuition differs from opinion since intuition is a way of experiencing objects, while opinion is based on that experience. Intuition also differs from instinct, which does not necessarily have the experiential element at all. A person who has an intuitive basis for an opinion probably cannot immediately fully explain why he or she holds that view. However, a person may later rationalize an intuition by developing a chain of logic to demonstrate more structurally why the intuition is valid.
Intuition in decision making
In psychology, intuition can encompass the ability to know valid solutions to problems and decision making. For example, the Recognition Primed Decision (RPD) model was described by Gary Klein in order to explain how people can make relatively fast decisions without having to compare options. Klein found that under time pressure, high stakes, and changing parameters, experts used their base of experience to identify similar situations and intuitively choose feasible solutions. Thus, the RPD model is a blend of intuition and analysis. The intuition is the pattern-matching process that quickly suggests feasible courses of action. The analysis is the mental simulation, a conscious and deliberate review of the courses of action.
An important intuitive method for identifying options is brainstorming.
Intuition is sometimes popularly thought of as the sixth sense. Apparently there are many unconscious processes occurring within a person and when those unconscious signals become strong enough, a conscious thought is experienced. For example, a person might be walking in a dark alley and suddenly, she gets the feeling that something is wrong. Her intuition has become strong enough to warn her about the possible danger. The information that contributes to the intuition comes from different hardly noticeable observations about the environment that a person doesn't consciously register.
Intuition in philosophy
In the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, intuition is one of the basic cognitive faculties, equivalent to what might loosely be called perception. Kant held that our mind casts all of our external intuitions in the form of space, and all of our internal intuitions (memory, thought) in the form of time.
Intuitionism is a position in philosophy of mathematics derived from Kant's claim that all mathematical knowledge is knowledge of the pure forms of the intuition - that is, intuition that is not empirical (Prolegomena, p.7).
Intuitionistic logics are a class of logics, devised and advanced by Arend Heyting and Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer and more recently by Michael Dummett, to accommodate intuitionism about mathematics (as well as anti-realism more generally). These logics are characterized by rejecting the law of excluded middle: as a consequence they do not in general accept rules such as disjunctive syllogism and reductio ad absurdum. Intuitionism is a form of constructivism.
Intuition does not mean to find a solution immediately, though it does mean the solution comes inexplicably. Sometimes it helps to sleep one night. There is an old Russian maxim: "The morning is wiser than the evening" ("Утро вечера мудреннее"). However, it is up to one's own intuition to decide when to act.
This phrase is often used by men and women when a woman makes a statement or proposition that is intuitive. This phrase may be considered sexist by some, since it can be read to imply that women use intuition because they are incapable of rational thought, or read to imply that women are better than men because of the said intuition.
- Essay about the philosophical and psychological dimensions of four types of intuition
- Intuition book, essays, and links to researchers
- Intuition Exercises
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