Hyponoetics - Glossary
Idea Individuality Individuation Infinity of Thought Information Insight Inspiration Instinct Intellect Intelligence Intention Intuition Intuitivism Involution

These are entities that exist only as contents of some mind. Ideas in this sense should be distinguished from Plato's Ideas or Forms, which are non-physical but exist apart from any conscious beings. The image of a Platonic Form that occurs in a person's mind would be an idea in our sense. Beginning in the seventeenth century all objects of consciousness were held to be ideas. For example, we are conscious of ideas when we imagine, remember, dream, or think about some concept or proposition. Ideas are subjective in that individuals can be ware only of their own ideas.
(Ted Honderich: The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press 1995)

1. (in Plato) The term 'Idea" is equivalent to the term 'eidos' (form). Both are connected with the Greek word 'idein' (to see); an idea (or Idea) is something that is seen - but seen by a kind of intellectual vision....
2. (in Cartesian philosophy) In the 17th century, Descartes gave the word 'idea' a new sense. He agreed with Plato that an idea is an idea of something, but whereas Plato insisted that an idea is something objective, quite independent of minds, Descartes said that an idea is "whatever the mind directly perceives" (Reply to Third Set of Objections to the Meditations, No. 5).
(Antony Flew: A Dictionary of Philosophy, St. Martin's Press 1979)

In contemporary cognitive psychology the term is still used in roughly this fashion. That is, an idea is a mental event, a brain state underlies it, and it is derived in some fashion from experience. In this sense it is treated as being related to the "real world" with the presumption that the idea itself is the result of some as yet unknown processing of information that yields the phenomenal experience.
(Arthur S. Reber: Dictionary of Psychology, Penguin 1985)

Originally, the Greek distinguished between knowledge as deduced from rational or scientific thinking (dianoia, intellect) and knowledge derived from pure reasoning (noesis, reason). The intellectual knowledge belongs to the lower part of the KOSMOS NOETOS, that is, to scientific and mathematical objects, while the intuitional knowledge of the NOESIS is based on the unchangeable and eternal IDEAS.

The Eternal Ideas, as I use the term, are but another expression for Platonic Ideas or Forms (see previous entry). They are the objective contents of the Universal Mind, independent of the intellective processes of Individual Minds. Similarly, Berkeley explained the ideas we have of an external world as being ideas that exist independently of the existence of our mind in the Divine Mind:

..that sensible things cannot exist otherwise than in a mind or spirit. Whence I conclude, not that they have no real existence, but that seeing they depend not on my thought, and have an existence distinct from being perceived by me, there must be some other mind wherein they exist. As sure therefore as the sensible world really exists, so sure is there an infinite, omnipresent Spirit who contains and supports it.
(Bishop Berkeley: Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, Open Court 1993, II, p. 197)

Collectively, those characteristics that distinguish an individual from all others.
(Arthur S. Reber: Dictionary of Psychology, Penguin 1985)

Die Besonderhiet des Einzelnen, insbes. die Eigenart des einzelnen Menschen, sofern sie von Natur gegeben ist (der Goethesche Dämon) und als ganzheitliche (unteilbare) Gestalt aufgefasst werden kann. Der Begriff der Individualität wurde bedeutsam im Widerspruch zur generellen Betrachtung des Menschen in der Aufklärung (Irrationalismus). So fordern Herder und die Romantiker "Sinn für die Individualität", d.h. für das Unverwechselbare, in allen Einzelzügen Zusammengehörige und Übereinstimmende, z.B. eines Menschen, eines Volkes, eines Kunstwerks.
(J. Hoffmeister: Wörterbuch der Philosophischen Begriffe, Meiner Verlag, 1955)

1. a: total character peculiar to and distinguishing an individual from others. b: personality.
2. archaic: the quality or state of being indivisible.
3. separate or distinct existence.
4. individual, person
(Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition)

The determining of what constitutes an individual: that is, one of something. Principles of individuation are the principles by which things, normally of a kind, are distinguished into single individuals, most often at some given time.
(Ted Honderich: The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press 1995)

Principle of individuation (principium individuationis A principle that uniquely identifies one individual. A scholastic dispute concerned whether individuation is effected materially or in virtue of a formal property of uniqueness or haecceity; the term most commonly occurs now in discussions of personal identity and of the way in which one individual is to be identified in relation to others.
(Antony Flew: A Dictionary of Philosophy, St. Martin's Press 1979)

1. Generally, any process in which the various elements or parts of a complex whole become differentiated from each other, progressively more distinct and "individual". The term implies development from the general to the specific.
2. In Jung's theory, the process of becoming an individual who is aware of his or her individuality.
(Arthur S. Reber: Dictionary of Psychology, Penguin 1985)

Individuation means becoming an "in-dividual", and, in so far as "individuality" embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one's own self. We could therefore translate individuation as "coming to selfhood" or "self-realization"....
Individualism means deliberately stressing and giving prominence to some supposed peculiarity rather than to collective considerations and obligations. But individuation means precisely the better and more complete fulfilment of the collective qualities of the human being...
(C.G. Jung: The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious, Part II, in The Portable Jung, Penguin Books)

In Essay The Evolution of Exonoesis the process of individuation explains the manifestation of the Universal Mind (Hyponoesis) as the multiplicity of the world and individual minds:

Since the Individual Mind (Exonoesis) is essentially the same as the Universal Mind and only differs in its existence (it has a temporal existence, since as the individuating form of the personality and the life principle of the body, it is dissolved with the dissolution of the body and brain. Therefore its existence contains constitutive limitations which characterizes the Individual Mind as a unique Personality) - we can derive from the introspective study of our own Individual Mind the essential structure of the Universal Mind.

Potentially, our mind is infinite in its capacity to think and understand. The only limitations are those set up by our own thought. There are intrinsic constraints on rational and scientific understanding, but not for philosophical understanding and transrational thought. Every great philosopher gives testimony to the infinity of our mind and the powerful intellectual faculties, most of them latent in ordinary people. Actually, there is no limit to what we are able to think, regardless of its complexity. We may not have developed the necessary faculty of thought, but since the evolution of our mind is far from complete, the future development of thought will lead us (or at least a few selected thinkers) into the infinite noetic space of the Universal Mind.

In the following excerpt from Essay The Infinity of Thought I try to demonstrate that infinity of thought is an essential feature of our mind, that by turning the very faculty of thought towards itself, we necessarily transcend any allegedly given limitations of our mind:

Reflection, however, always presupposes a standpoint outside of the reflected matter. You have to stand above the rational mind to think over the rational mind. In order to analyze the mind you must necessarily transcend the boundary of the mind, otherwise it is not possible to say something meaningful about the mind. From within the presumed boundary of the mind, you cannot define that boundary. Although I concede a boundary of the rational faculty of the mind, I declare an inherent potential infinity of thought.

1. Within information theory the term is used in a formal manner to quantify an array of items in terms of the number of choices one has in dealing with the items. (see also Communications theory, informations processing, cybernetics, etc.)
2. Rather more loosely, any material with content. This sense of the term is very close to the standard meaning of the word in non-technical usage. Information here is basically any knowledge that is received, processed and understood.
(Arthur S. Reber: Dictionary of Psychology, Penguin 1985)

1. In the theory of informations processing: Information is any kind of configuration of symbols that the relevant system is capable of differentiating, identifying, producing and transforming into other configurations.
2. In information theory: Information is either a succession of signs of which each is the result of a selective act, or information is itself a selection (of a particular message out of a repository of possible messages).
3. Generally, information is not a concrete physical property, but designates either particular structural relations between those events or - if the event is a message - the contents or meaning of the message.
(H. Schauer, M.J. Tauber: Informatik und Philosophie, 1981)

In Essay Knowledge and Information I provide a definition of the term in a more philosophical sense:

Knowing has to do with information. It is a mental activity of ordering information within a certain context and associating actual information with memory-stored information. By information I mean the original connotation of the term: in-form = to be inside the form. That which is in the form is accessible to our mind as in the form of knowledge....
So, information is the essence or form of an object, universal or particular. This definition of information includes the physical definition as a measurable unit.

Information is produced by the interaction of consciousness and the world. Information is never created ex nihil. All information in the universe is potentially available and will be actualized by conscious thinking, either by means of observation (perception) or of thinking itself.

Information can, however, never be reduced to a physical, measurable unit, since information is conceptual and not sensational or empirical. Information is actualized by the act of thinking. It is not in the object perceived or conceived, but emerges as the result of the thinking process of or about an object.

1. Most generally, an act of apprehending or sensing intuitively the inner nature of something. There are several more specialized meanings. Two relate to personal insight: 2. In standard parlance, any self-awareness, self-knowledge, or self-understanding. 3. In psychotherapy, the illumination or comprehension of one's mental condition which had previously escaped awareness (see intellectual and emotional insight).
Two additional meanings relate to situational or environmentally stimulated insight: 4. A novel, clear, compelling comprehension of the truth of something occurring without overt recourse to memories of past experiences. 5. Within Gestalt psychology, the process by which problems are solved. In this sense, insight characterizes a sudden reorganization or restructuring of the pattern or significance of events allowing one to grasp relationships relevant to the solution.
(Arthur S. Reber: Dictionary of Psychology, Penguin 1985)

from lat. in-spiro = blow into or on, inspire, excite;
1. Breathing in, inhaling. 2. A sudden apprehension of the essential nature of a thing. The latter use, of course, is derived from the former, owing to the ancient belief that such insights came on the breath of spirits.
(Arthur S. Reber: Dictionary of Psychology, Penguin 1985)

Inspiration, lat. 'Einatmung', 'Einhauchung' (gr. epípnoia), die Eingebung, die Erleuchtung, das Überfallenwerden, das scheinbar unvorbereitete Betroffen- oder Ergriffensein von einem Gedanken, einer Einsicht, einer Idee (Begeisterung, Enthusiasmus, Offenbarung). Das Un- oder Übervernünftige, Plötzliche, Ungewöhnliche dieses Zustandes, den Nietzsche eindrucksvoll schildert, veranlasste die Griechen und Römer, ihn dem Anhauch, der Einwirkung eines göttlichen Wesens zuzuschreiben.
(J. Hoffmeister: Wörterbuch der Philosophischen Begriffe, Meiner Verlag, 1955)

I make a distinction between inspiration and intuition. Inspiration is an emotive or emotionally tainted insight into the nature of a thing. It is passive, however, since an idea, an object of contemplation, has an emotional impact on our mind. An artist gets in-spired by a landscape she's studying and, in an act of creativity, produces a piece of art. People get in-spired by all sorts of things. These physical or mental objects (ideas) affect the mind in such a way as to produce a new and invigorating perspective that appears as a sudden and unexpected vision for the person who experienced this change of the inner state of awareness.

The root is Latin, instinctus meaning to instigate or impel, with the implication that such impulses are natural or innate. There are four general, distinguishable meanings of the term:
1. An unlearned response characteristic of the members of a given species.
2. A tendency or disposition to respond in a particular manner that is characteristic of a particular species.
3. A complex, coordinated set of acts found universally or nearly so within a given species that emerges under specific stimulus conditions, specific drive conditions and specific developmental conditions.
4. Any of a number of unlearned, inherited tendencies that are hypothesized to function as the motivational forces behind complex human behaviors. This sense... is that expressed by classical psychoanalysis.
(Arthur S. Reber: Dictionary of Psychology, Penguin 1985)

I understand the term 'instinct' in the following way:
Instinct embraces the biological drives of our body. Instinct is always related to matter and is the genetically based response to external or internal stimuli. Even though we think ourselves to be different from animals, most of our life is determined by instinctual responses that we have in common with the animal kingdom. These instincts regulate nature's evolution, the preservation of the species. But they do not reign over our mind or thinking unless our thought is so intricately coupled to our biological side that we come under the influence of instincts and emotions.

Instincts are a kind of precognitive or anticipatory pattern given to us by nature. Especially animals show a highly instinctual behavior that is not learned but genetically inherited. It is the nature of animals, since they have no higher thinking faculty as we humans have.

Instinct regulates the habituative behavior of animals and humans (of all living organisms). Instinct enforces the laws of nature on living beings. If instinctual responses are not observed (as it happens in humans), the natural order is violated.

1. a: the power of knowing as distinguished from the power to feel and to will: the capacity for knowledge. b: the capacity for rational or intelligent thought esp. when highely developed.
2. a person with great intellectual powers.
(Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition)

Intellekt (lat. intellectus), das Einsehen (Einsicht), das Verstehen, der Verstand. Notker übersetzte intelligere mit vernemen, Eckehart intellectus mit verstand, verstendikeit. In der antiken und der scholast. Psychologie wurde mit Intellekt das höchste Erkenntnisvermögen des Menschen in der Reihe sensatio 'Sinneswahrnehmung', ratio 'Vernunft', intellectus bezeichnet. Während die ratio der begrifflichen Bearbeitung des durch die sensatio gelieferten Stoffs diente, kam dem Intellekt die Erkenntnis der von aller Sinnlichkeit freien Ideen bis zum Schauen Gottes zu.
(J. Hoffmeister: Wörterbuch der Philosophischen Begriffe, Meiner Verlag, 1955)

I use this term in the Kantian sense, although - contrasting Kant - I do not consider the inherent limitations of the intellect as the final frontier of human knowledge, beyond which no mind will ever be able to tread. In Essay Intellectual and Paranoetic Thinking I discuss the use of intellect compared to the higher faculty of paranoetic thinking in our mind:

Thinking as understood trivially means the function of understanding, our intellect, which we use everyday as useful instrument in performing our tasks and works. Intellect is not thinking in the higher sense of philosophical thinking, which alone is genuine thinking. The intellect is an inborn biological instrument of human beings, as well as of animals (cf. Schopenhauer), that helps them master their lives and survive in the rough conditions of the environment. Although this instrument of survival is developed higher in humans than in animals, considered from the point of view of functionality, it serves the same purpose.
As the intellect is a product of nature and of evolution and dependent on the functions of the brain, it is limited in its very nature, the brain.
The intellect is of practical or pragmatical value, because it helps us survive and handle our daily affairs.
Every human being possesses the intellect from the first day he enters the world, because without the intellect, as shown excellently by Kant, we were not able to make any experiences, let alone to acquire knowledge of any kind.

A term that came into wide-spread use with the rise of the mental testing movement in the early 20th century. Intelligence was considered to be an innate general cognitive ability underlying all processes of complex reasoning.
[Piaget:] Adult intelligence is conceived not as an attribute but as a complex hierarchy of information-processing skills underlying an adaptive equilibrium between the individual and the environment.
(The Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought, Fontana Books 1983)

A family of intellectual traits, virtues, and abilities occurring in varying degrees and concentrations. An intelligent creature is one capable of coping with the unexpected. An intelligent person is one in whom memory and the capacity ot grasp relations and to solve problems with speed and originality are especially pronounced.
(Ted Honderich: The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press 1995)

Intelligenz, lat. intelligentia, Verständnis, Einsicht, die Fähigkeit des Findens, Erfindens und Sichzurechtfindens in neuen, ungewohnten Lebenslagen auf Grund von Einsicht; sie kann in gewissen Grenzen oft schon Tieren zugesprochen werden (vgl. Instinkt); auch Bezeichnung für das Wesen, das Intelligenz besitzt.
(J. Hoffmeister: Wörterbuch der Philosophischen Begriffe, Meiner Verlag, 1955)

Intentionality: Every mental phenomenon is characterized by what the scholastics of the Middle Ages called the intentional (and also mental) inexistence of an object, and what we would call, although not in entirely unambiguous terms, the reference to a content, a direction upon an object (by which we are not to understand a reality...), or an immanent objectivity. Each one includes something as an object within itself, although not always in the same way. In presentation something is presented, in judgment something is affirmed or denied, in love [something is] loved, in hate [something is] hated, in desire something desired, etc. (Franz Brentano: Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt , 1874, Vol. I, Book II, Ch. 1)
(Paul Edwards, ed.: The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Macmillan Publishing, Vol. III)

Intention: 1. Generally, any desire, plan, purpose, aim or belief that is oriented toward some goal, some end state. Used by most with the connotation that such striving is conscious, although the term occasionally creeps into psychoanalytic writings without the requirement.
2. As represented by the Act psychology school, the essential feature of all conscious processes that they involve outward references to objects.
(Arthur S. Reber: Dictionary of Psychology, Penguin 1985)

Since this term plays an important role in my discussion of Transrational Thinking and since there are various shades of meaning and a multitude of different usages, a simple glossary would have been too long. Therefore I dedicate several web pages to an elaborate definition of 'intuition'.

Intuition Definition Page.



In Essay Nature and Development of Transrational Thinking I emphasize the prominent distinction between the popular notion of "intuition" and the philosophical notion as I understand it:

Again I have to remind of the important distinction between the term " intuition" as used by most of us in its degenerated meaning with an emotive connotation, and the term Transrational Thinking, where "Transrational" has nothing to do with feeling or emotion. Intuition, as I understand it, is direct knowledge of truth. It is not an empiric experience, which is limited to the physical performance of our senses and the conceptualization of our perceptive mind.

see also Transrational Thinking

[Definition of "intuitivism" as]...the doctrine that the cognized object, even if it forms part of the external world, enters the knowing subject's consciousness directly, so to speak in person, and is therefore apprehended as it exists independently of the act of knowing. Such contemplation of other entities as they are in themselves is possible because the world is an organic whole, and the knowing subject, the individual human self, is a supertemporal and superspatial being, in-timately connected with the whole world. The subject's relation to all other entities in the world that renders intuition possible is called episte-mological coordination.
According to the Intuitive theory, there is no difference between knowledge of the inner and of the outer world. The knowledge of both is founded upon immediate apprehension (contemplation or intuition).
(Nicholas O. Lossky: Intuitivism in: Russian Philosophy, Volume III, The University of Tennesse Press, 1992, p. 317 f.)

Teilhard De Chardin's expression for the evolutionary process from initial simple entities to complex phenomena and systems throughout all spheres of nature. It's the gradual development of complexity and its correlative increase in interiorisation that finally led to consciousness.