Hyponoetics - Glossary

Theories and Definitions of Intuition

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition

From Latin intuitio = act of contemplating, fr. intueri = to look at, contemplate, fr. in-+ tueri = to look at, look after (protection - tuitio ).

  1. immediate apprehension or cognition
  2. knowledge or conviction gained by intuition
  3. the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference
  4. quick and ready insight

adj: intuitional


  1. known or perceived by intuition: directly apprehended
  2. knowable by intuition
  3. knowing or perceiving by intuition
  4. possessing or given to intuition or insight

intuit: to apprehend by intuition

The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Volume IV (Paul Edwards, ed.)

Intuition: The broadest definition of the term "intuition" is "immediate apprehension". "Apprehension" is used to cover such disparate states as sensation, knowledge, and mystical rapport. "Immediate" has as many senses as their are kinds of mediation: it may be used to signify:

  • the absence of inference
  • the absence of causes
  • the absence of the ability to define a term
  • the absence of justification
  • the absence of symbols
  • the absence of thought

Four principal meanings of "intuition":

  1. intuition as unjustified true belief not preceded by inference ("a hunch")
  2. intuition as as immediate (= not preceded by inference) knowledge of truth of a proposition.
  3. intuition as immediate knowledge of a concept (knowledge which does not entail ability to define the concept)
  4. intuition as nonpropositional knowledge of an entity. This sense of intuition is exemplified by:
    1. sense perceptions, considered as products of a cognitive faculty
    2. distinct from the faculty of forming judgments concerning the entity sensed
    3. intuitions of universals (as time and space)(intuitive knowledge of a priori truths)
    4. mystical or inexpressible intuitions (as Bergon's duration, Fichte's Transcendental Ego, the mystic's intuition of God).

- noninferential knowledge

- faculty theory (two intuitive faculties: sensory and nonsensory intuition = our knowledge of the particular)(comp. Descartes's extreme rationalism only recognized the nonsensory faculty).

- linguistic theory: process of acquiring knowledge is identical with the process of learning the conventions of one's language. The use of language is a necessary condition of the possession of any piece of knowledge.

- behaviorist analysis: we acquire intuitive knowledge simply by reflecting upon our own linguistic behavior (psychological conditioning).

- unconscious inference: nonintuitive, noninferential knowledge. The knower is not aware of having performed the appropriate inference.

- intuitive acquaintance: a person is said to have intuitive acquaintance with a concept if he is able to understand a large range of propositions that employ a term signifying this concept and is unable to explain the significance of this term.

- nonpropositional knowledge: Kant defined intuition as knowledge that is in immediate relation to objects (Critique of Pure Reason, A19-B34, A320-B377). By "immediate" he here meant "without the mediation of concepts". The knowledge gained in sense perception is expressed by judgments concerning the objects sensed but exists prior to the formation of these judgments. (see Russell: knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description).
We have an intuition of a certain object O even though we do not know the truth of any proposition of the form "O is Q". Conceptual thought (or language) is inadequate to capture the essence of X (comp. Bergson).
(see also: Fichte, contemporary Thomists)

- intuition of the inexpressible: language is inadequate to express one's intuitive knowledge of reality.
The problem of justification of private experience. (Thomists' intuition of Being, Bergson's intuition of duration).
The medievals used "intuitive cognition" as we would use "sensory intuition" to refer to knowledge about objects present to the senses. The term was opposed to "abstractive cognition", which included memory and imagination.
They also used "intuition" to refer to a vision of God.
Descartes, Spinoza (Ethics II, Prop. 40, Note 2), and Locke used the term "intuition" as we would use "nonsensory intuition" - to refer to our noninferential knowledge of, for instance, mathematical axioms and analytic truths, and of the validity of valid inferences.
Since Kant "intuition" has been nonpropositional perceptual knowledge of a particular and the propositional knowledge derived from this nonpropositional knowledge.

intellectual intuition: nonpropositional knowledge of insensible objects (see Fichte's Transcendental Ego, Neo-Thomists, Bergson)

nonrational(or suprarational) cognition: Schelling evolved an elaborate system in which intuition of a mystical or quasi-religious character was accorded a central place and was held to provide access to the ultimate nature of reality. "The nature of the Absolute itself, which as ideal is also immediately real, cannot be known through explanations, but only through intuition" (see Philsophie und Religion ).

See Bergson's distinction between intellect and intuition.

A.R. Lacey: A Dictionary of Philosophy

Generally a direct relation between the mind and some object, analogous to what common sense thinks is the relation between us and something we see unambiguously in a clear light.

Bergson: contrast intuition as a means of knowing reality as it is in itself with intellect as a means by which we manipulate reality for purposes of action.

What we are said to intuit may be objects not accessible to the senses (numbers, universals, God etc.), or truths. The emphasis is on the directness of the relation, free from any influence of the environment or interpretation.

Kant: used intuition for our relation to sensible objects too, so far as this was considered as abstracted from anything contributed by the mind.

Russell: Kant's use of intuition has something in common with Russell's acquaintance.

Intuition of truths may take the form of knowledge which we cannot account for, simply because we are unconscious of the reasons which led us to it (the intuition attributed to women and bank managers). In the case of such "hunches" investigation will often uncover the reasons.
More philosophically important are cases where, allegedly, there are no reasons to be uncovered, and no means of checking the truth of apparent intuitions, except by their coherence with further intuitions.

Intuitions of this kind have been important especially in philosophy of mathematics (intuitionism) and ethics, and also in logic and metaphysics.

Arthur S. Reber: Dictionary of Psychology

A mode of understanding or knowing characterized as direct and immediate and occurring without conscious thought or judgment. There are two distinct connotations which often accompany this term:
a) that the process is unmediated and somehow mystical;
b) that it is a response to subtle cues and relationships apprehended implicitly, unconsciously.

The former borders on the unscientific and is not recommended, although it is certainly common enough in the nontechnical literature; the latter hints at a number of difficult but fascinating problems in the study of human behavior in the presence of complex situations.

Jung: intuitive type = one of Jung's hypothesized personality types.

function types: classification of personality types based on four functions:

  1. feeling
  2. thinking
  3. sensing
  4. intuiting

Feeling and thinking were considered rational, sensing and intuiting irrational. All persons were assumed to possess all four functions, the typing was a reflection of which style dominated in the individual's overall makeup.

The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Ted Honderich, ed.)

Originally an alleged direct relation, analogous to visual seeing, between the mind and something abstract and so not accessible to the senses. What are intuited (which can be derivatively called 'intuitions') may be abstract objects, like numbers or properties, or certain truths regarded as not accessible to investigation through the senses or calculation; the mere short-circuiting of such processes in 'bank manager's intuition' would not count as intuition for philosophy.

Kant talks of our intuiting space and time, in a way which is direct and entirely free from any mediation by the intellect - but this must be distinguished from an alleged pure reception of 'raw data' from the senses; the intuiting is presupposed by , and so cannot depend upon, sensory experience.

Intuitions or alleged intuitions have been important in logic, metaphysics, and ethics, as well as in epistemology. Recently, however, the term 'intuition' has been used for pre-philosophical thoughts or feelings, e.g. on morality, which emerge in thought experiments and are then used philosophically.

Antony Flew: A Dictionary of Philosophy

A form of uninferred or immediate knowledge. Two principal philosophical uses of the term may be distinguished:

  1. uninferred knowledge of the truth of a proposition
  2. immediate knowledge of a nonpropositional object.

In the latter sense, four kinds of nonpropositional objects have been claimed as intuitable:

  1. universals
  2. concepts, as in the case of correctly applying a concept without being able to state its rule of application
  3. sensible objects, as in Kant's account of our immediate, nonconceptual relation to sensible objects
  4. ineffable objects, as in Bergson's account of the inexpressible awareness of duration, or in certain religious accounts of our awareness of God.


  1. (in ethics) The view that (at least some) moral judgments are known to be true by intuition.
  2. The view that there are several distinct moral duties, that cannot be reduced to one basic duty, in contrast, for example, to utilitarianism. While both views can be, and are, held separately, they often go together.
  3. (in mathematics) A system propounded by L.E.J. Brouwer, identifying truth with being known to be true, that is, proven. The main theses of intuitionism are:
    • that a mathematical entity exists only if a constructive existence proof can be given
    • that a (mathematical) statement is true only if there is a proof of it, and false only if a proof of its denial can be given.

Brouwer's idealist inclinations led him to describe mathematics as investigation of the (ideal) mathematician's "mental constructions". The view is notable for its rejection of classical (or realist) logic, in particular the law of double negation, the law of excluded middle, and classical reductio.

Michael Inwood: A Hegel Dictionary

intuition: Anschauung ('intuition') is by origin a visual word, from anschauen ('to intuit, look, view') and schauen ('to see, view, look'). It often means a 'view' or 'conception' (hence Weltanschauung, 'world-view'). But it entered philosophical German with Eckhart for the Latin contemplatio, in the sense of the activity or result of contemplating something, especially the eternal and divine. Anschauung implies immediate, non-discursive contact with the object, and the total absorption of the subject in it.

In later philosophy, Anschauung has two broad senses: first, intellectual contemplation, e.g. of Platonic Ideas (the Greek theoria, 'contemplation, speculation'); second, sensory impression or sensation. Kant argued that all human Anschauung is sensory (sinnlich): thought requires objects, and objects can be given only by intuitions. But the understanding with its concepts can only 'think' intuitions and objects, not provide them. They can be given only by objects' affecting our senses. Kant allowed the possibility of an intellektuelle Anschauung, which supplies an object without sensory assistance. But intellectual intuition, which amounts to creating an object simply by thinking of it, is, on Kant's view, reserved for God alone.

Kant's attempt to confine Anschauung to the sensory was challenged from two directions. First, critics such as Hamann and Herder attacked his sharp separation of intuition and concepts. Goethe speaks of an 'intuition (Anschauen) of inner creative nature' which attains to the 'prototype' or the Idea (Intuitive Judgment, 1817). Such intuition apprehends a phenomenon as a whole together with the interrelations of its parts. It does not dispense with concepts, but it is contrasted with analytical conceptual thought. Second, Fichte argued that the philosopher becomes aware of the pure I by an act of intellectual intuition. Schelling adopted this idea, and when his Absolute ceased to be the I and became a neutral Identity, that too, he held, is grasped by intellectual intuition.

Sensory intuition, on Hegel's view, involves the transformation of what is sensed (das Empfundene) into an external object (Enc. III §448A.). Art presents the absolute in the Form of sensory intuition, in contrast to Conception ( Vorstellung), the form of Religion and to Thought, the form of Philosophy. In early works, especially DFS, Hegel espoused Schelling's idea of a 'transcendental' intuition that unites opposites, such as Nature and Spirit. But later he criticized intellectual intuition, because it is immediate, and, unlike conceptual cognition, does not display the logical presuppositions and structure of the object. Intuition, even of Goethe's type, though it enables us to see things as a whole, rather than piecemeal, can only be a prelude to cognition (e.g. Enc. III §449A.). Nevertheless, Hegel's logic, since it is non-empirical thought about thoughts, somewhat resembles intellectual intuition in Kant's sense. Unlike Kant, Hegel has no qualms about assimilating man to God.

(Abbreviation: DFS = Difference between the Systems of Fichte and Schelling)

John Cottingham: A Descartes Dictionary

intuition: Descartes' account of human knowledge is indebted to a long philosophical tradition which draws a comparison between mental cognition and ordinary ocular vision. The notion goes back as far as Plato (Republic [c. 380 BC], 514-8), and plays a prominent role in the writings of Plotinus (Enneads [c. AD 250], III, viii, 11 and V, iii, 17) and Augustine (De Trinitate [AD 400-16], XII, xv, 24). Augustine puts the matter as follows: 'The mind, when directed towards intelligible things in the natural order, according to the disposition of the creator, sees them in a certain incorporeal light which is sui generis, just as the physical eye sees nearby objects in corporeal light' (loc. cit.). This is the background which informs Descartes' use of the term 'intuition' (Latin intuitus) - the word being derived from the verb intueri, which in classical Latin means simply to look at or inspect. His claim is that the mind, when freed from interference from sensory stimuli, has the innate power to 'see', or directly apprehend, the truths which God has implanted within it. 'By intuition, I do not mean the fluctuating testimony of the senses, or the deceptive judgement of the imagination as it botches things together, but the conception of a clear and attentive mind which is so easy and distinct that there can be no room for doubt about what we are understanding. Alternatively, and this comes to the same thing, intuition is the conception of a clear and attentive mind which proceeds solely from the light of reason.... Thus everyone can mentally intuit that he exists, that he is thinking, that a triangle is bounded by just three sides and a sphere by a single surface, and the like' (AT X 368: CSM I 14). In the Regulae (Rules for the Direction of our Native Intelligence), from which this last quotation comes, intuition is put forward as the fundamental basis of all reliable knowledge; and although a finite mind will often be unable to 'see a whole series of interconnected truths at a single glance, the ideal remains that it should attempt to survey the series 'in a single and uninterrupted sweep of thought', so that the process of Deduction is reduced, as far as possible, to direct intuition.

(Abbreviations: CSM = J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, D. Murdoch: The Philosophical Writings of Descartes; AT = C. Adam, P. Tannery: Îuvres de Descartes)

John W. Yolton: A Locke Dictionary

intuition: In the language of ideas which Locke uses to characterize knowledge, we are said to have intuitive knowledge when the mind perceives the relations of two ideas immediately, without the help of other ideas (Essay, 4.2.1; cf. 4.3.2). Another formulation has the ideas themselves disclosing their agreement or disagreement (4.1.9). It is truths that we acquire in this way. Intuitive knowledge is certain; the mind has no doubts about the truths (4.2.5). In a later passage, intuition, immediate viewing. is linked with self-evidence (4.18.5). None of these terms is, it may be felt, clear or self-evident. Descartes had also identified intuition and demonstration as two sources of knowledge. He explained his use of intuition in this way: 'By "intuition" I do not mean the fluctuating testimony of the senses or the deceptive judgment of the imagination as it botches things together, but the conception of a clear and attentive mind, which is so easy and distinct that there can be no room for doubt about what we are understanding' (Rules for the Direction of the Mind, rule 3).

In his effort to explicate what he means by 'intuitive' knowledge, Locke employs a number of analogies. He also gives a variety of examples. He compares it to bright sunshine which 'forces it self immediately to be perceived' (4.2.1), unlike demonstrative knowledge which requires a series of steps and which Locke compares to reflections in a series of mirrors (4.2.6). The mind is compared with the eye. A properly working eye 'will at first glimpse, without Hesitation, perceive the Words printed n this Paper, different from the Colour of the Paper' (4.2.5). Similarly for the mind, 'it will perceive the Agreement or Disagreement of those ideas that produce intuitive Knowledge.' Thus, the mind perceives that white is not black; that a circle is not a triangle (4.2.1); that 'the Ideas of an obtuse, and an acute angled Triangle, both drawn from equal bases', are different (4.3.3); that certain numbers are equal or proportional (4.3.19); that the arc of a circle is less than the whole circle (4.17.14), that non-entity is incapable of producing anything (4.10.3). We also have an intuitive knowledge of our own existence (4.9.3). Another example is 'that the Idea we receive from an external Object is in our Minds' (4.2.14).

Howard Caygill: A Kant Dictionary

Intuition [Anschauung]: In the Aristotelian tradition there was considerable perplexity concerning the relationship between Aristotle's account of intuitive and demonstrative knowledge in the Posterior Analytics and the account of intelligible and sensible perception (noesis and aisthesis) in De anima. In the Posterior Analytics Aristotle claims that the 'primary premises' of scientific knowledge are apprehended intuitively, and that intuition is the 'originative source of scientific knowledge' (Aristotle, 1941, 100b). Intuitive apprehension is thus immediate as opposed to the mediated, discursive knowledge of scientific demonstration. According to De anima, knowledge arises out of the abstraction of noeta from aistheta, but with the proviso that the sensible and intelligible elements thought separately do not exist separately, or in Aristotle's words, 'that the mind which is actively thinking is the objects which it thinks' (Aristotle, 1941, 431b, 18).

The perplexity facing the tradition was whether to unite these two accounts of knowledge, and if so, in what way. Apart from denying any relationship between them, there were basically three available options. One was to emphasize the Platonic elements in Aristotle, and to identify immediate intuitive knowledge with the noeta; another was to identify intuitive knowledge with sense perception or aistheta; while a third was to postulate a group of objects occupying an intermediate position between noeta and aistheta (see Wolfson, 1962, Vol. II. p. 156). In formal terms, Kant's doctrine of intuition adumbrated in ID and developed in CPR may be situated within the terms of the third option, but emphasizing the paradoxical character of such intermediate objects.

Prior to Kant, Descartes and Spinoza distinguished radically between intuitive and other forms of knowledge. Although Descartes makes great play in the Rules for the Direction of the Mind (1628) of 'paying no attention' to the 'way in which particular terms have of late been employed in the schools', his professedly 'new use of the term intuition.' departs little from the Aristotelian tradition. He distinguishes it from the 'testimony of the senses' and defines it as an Undoubting conception of an unclouded and attentive mind [which] springs from the light of reason alone' (Rule III). Unlike deductive knowledge it is immediate and simple, and is exemplified by the individual's 'intuition of the fact that they exist, and that they think'. Spinoza in Ethics (1677) followed Descartes in distinguishing between three forms of knowing: knowledge of opinion grounded in the senses and imagination (broadly Aristotle's aistheta), knowledge of reason grounded in common notions or concepts (noeta) and, finally, immediate, intuitive knowledge of the formal essence of the attributes of God and things in general (1985, pp. 475-8).

Both Descartes and Spinoza lean towards a Platonic view of intuitive knowledge which prefers the immediate knowledge of the intelligible realm to the mediated knowledge of the senses. Locke in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding agreed that intuitive knowledge was not only immediate, but also 'the clearest and most certain that human frailty is capable of' (Locke, 1690, p. 272). Yet for him this knowledge is not derived from the intelligible noeta, as it was with Descartes and Spinoza, but from the objects of external perception: 'there can be nothing more certain than that the idea we receive from an external object is in our minds: this is intuitive knowledge' (p. 277). This knowledge is immediate, but oriented more towards aistheta than to noeta. Leibniz, in his critique of Locke in the New Essays on Human Understanding (completed 1705 but published in 1765), attempted to reconcile and Locke by proposing intuitive truths of both fact and reason (Leibniz, 1765, pp. 361-7), but his follower and popularizer Christian Wolff confined intuitive knowledge to the direct intuition of rational perfection. This view in its turn was criticized by the heretical Wolffian A.G. Baumgarten, who argued for the intuitive knowledge of rational perfection by way of sensible perception, a form of knowledge he christened 'aesthetic'.

Kant's doctrine of intuition must be situated within the agenda established by Aristotle. He remained consistent with the Aristotelian tradition in respect of the direct, unmediated character of intuition, but established his own variant of it which refused the opposition of direct knowledge between the rationalists' noeta or the empiricists' aistheta. While Kant situates intuition at the level of sensibility or aisthesis in the 'Transcendental Aesthetic' of CPR (that is, below the understanding and the reason), he also accords it an a priori formal character, managing in this way to stress the immediate, sensible element in knowledge without being Lockean, and the a priori, formal element without being Cartesian. It was essential to establish this balance in order to satisfy one of the major conditions required 'for solution of the general problem of transcendental philosophy: how are synthetic a priori judgements possible?' (CPR B 73). Such judgements synthesize concepts with sensible intuitions which, while heterogeneous to them, nevertheless possess an a priori, intelligible character.

Most of the elements of Kant's doctrine of intuition are present in (section) 10 of ID. He begins by claiming that 'There is (for man) no intuition of what belongs to the understanding . . . thinking is only possible for us by means of universal concepts in the abstract, not by means of a singular concept in the concrete'. Here he subscribes to the orthodox distinction between the immediate knowledge of intuition, and the mediated knowledge of the understanding. The human understanding can only function 'discursively by means of general concepts', but for Kant this does not exclude the possibility of other, differently constituted, understandings and intuitions. The ones which he considers in (section) 10 are intellectual and divine intuition, both of which return in CPR. Intellectual intuition consists in a direct, intellectual knowledge of things in themselves rather than as appearances in space and time (CPR B 307) while divine intuition is productive, producing the objects which it thinks rather than being passively affected by given objects in the manner of human intuition (ibid.).

In the second sentence of (section) 10 Kant writes that 'all our intuition is bound to a certain principle of form, and it is only under- this form that anything can be apprehended by the mind immediately or as singular, and not merely conceived discursively by means of general concepts'. With this he converts intuition from an adjectival characteristic of knowledge into a faculty of knowledge. The faculty of intuition possesses a 'certain principle of form' through which the mind may directly apprehend the concrete singularity of things and not subsume them as instances of abstract and general concepts. In this sentence Kant presents the central paradox of his account of intuition: that it directly apprehends objects yet does so by means of formal principles. This quality of intuition recurs repeatedly in CPR where intuition is both the 'immediate relation' (sic) to objects and takes place 'only in so far as the object is given to us' (CPR A 20/B 34).

In the third sentence of ID (section) 10 the formal principles of intuition are revealed as space and time, which are further specified as the conditions under which something can be an object of our senses'. Although in ID Kant lists the properties space and time possess as pure intuitions - they are 'singular', neither 'innate' nor 'acquired', both the conditions of sensations and excited into action by them - he does not venture a proof of why they are the conditions for the objects of our senses. This he supplies in CPR and P by means of the analytic and synthetic methods. In the 'Transcendental Aesthetic' of CPR Kant analyzes or breaks sensibility down into its elements. He proposes first to 'isolate sensibility, by taking away from it everything which the understanding thinks through its concepts' (CPR A22/B 36). This leaves nothing 'save empirical intuition' from which is separated 'everything which belongs to sensation, so that nothing may remain save pure intuition and the mere form of appearances'. These are then found to be 'the forms of sensible intuition' namely space and time. In P Kant argues synthetically from the forms of intuition to sense objects. He argues that intuitions of present things are not possible without a 'ground of relation between my representation and the object' ((section) 9) which 'precedes all the actual impressions through which I am affected by, objects'; without the a priori forms of intuition to relate the I and its objects, there would be no experience of objects (see also CPR B 132).

In CPR Kant offers proofs for why only space and time qualify as forms of intuition. The one he seems to find most compelling holds that while all concepts except space and time presuppose 'something empirical', space and time are pure and a priori: space does not occupy space and time does not suffer alteration in time (CPR A 41/B 58). This argument also validates the transcendental status of space and time, namely that they arc conditions of spatio-temporal experience and cannot be abstracted from sensation or the nature of thinking substance. This accords with the view stated in ID (section) 1 that the forms of intuition provide 'the condition of sensitive cognition' and are prior to sensitive cognition and not derived from it. But this claim sits uneasily with the view that intuition is passive, that the 'matter of cognition' is given through the senses, and that intuition is 'only possible in so far as it is possible for something to affect our sense' (ibid.). Intuition here seems both to provide conditions for something to affect our sensibility, and to be conditioned by, something affecting it.

The paradoxical character of intuition as both condition of and conditioned by objects of sense is used in ID to prevent nonn1ena being 'conceived by means of representations drawn from sensations'. It is further employed in CPR to underpin the critique of claims that space and time are more than the forms which structure our intuition. The latter development is already implied in the distinction between representation and sensation mentioned in ID (section) 10, which anticipates the crucial critical distinction between appearance and sensation in CPR. Appearances are divided into sensation, or 'matter of appearance', and the 'form of appearance', or space and time. The latter are in a state of potentiality, or in Kant's words 'lie ready for the sensations a priori in the mind' (CPR A 20/B 34), and are activated by sensation. In this way the notion of appearance makes it possible for the forms of intuition to be regarded as potentially prior to (but in actuality posterior to) sensation or the matter of intuition. A further complexity arises here, which is that the matter of intuition which is directly intuited cannot be considered as objects in themselves, but are already constituted as appearances, since it is axiomatic for Kant That the things we intuit are not in themselves what we intuit them as being' (CPR A 42/B 59). This is again paradoxical since it requires that we consider intuition both as direct knowledge of objects, namely 'the things we intuit', and as a mediated appearance or 'what we intuit them as being' (ibid.).

When the perspective on intuition shifts from the relationship between intuition and objects of sense to that between intuition and understanding, an analogous set of paradoxes manifest themselves. It is vital for the critical project that the concepts of the understanding and the forms of intuition be generically distinguished. Intuition corresponds to the 'passive' or 'receptive' aspect of human experience and the understanding to the part played in it by the active, spontaneous synthesis of apperception. While the two must be rigorously distinguished from each other, they must also be related in synthetic a priori judgements. Kant noted this in the lapidary sentence 'Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind' (CPR A 51/B 75), from which he concluded that concepts must be made sensible and intuitions intelligible without either exchanging their proper function and domain.

The results presented in the 'Transcendental Logic' of CPR show how the aistheta and the noeta of the tradition may be brought into relation without either being subordinated to the other. In this way the critical philosophy both respects the received Aristotelian distinction, while reconfiguring it in accordance with a doctrine of inuition which combines sensible and intelligible aspects.

(Abbreviations: CPR = Critique of Pure Reason, P = Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics that will be able to come forward as Science, ID = Inaugural Dissertation, On the Form and Principles of the Sensible and the Intelligible World)

Arnold, Eysenck, Meili: Lexikon der Psychologie

Eine Handlungsweise der Intelligenz und deren Produkt. Als Handlungsweise bezeichnet die Intuition eine Form der direkten Erkenntnis, die durch ihre Unmittelbarkeit und ihre Plötzlichkeit charakterisiert ist. Sie beruht auf einer spontanen innerlichen Organisation, auf einer Wahrnehmung oder auf einer Vorstellung. Die Intuition kann, als "Sympathie" zum Gegenstand (H. Bergson), begrifflose Erkenntnis sein, sie kann aber auch ein schnelles analytisches Begreifen eines Bezugssystems sein, dessen tatsächliche Analyse lange diskursive Entwicklungen erforden würde (E. Brunswik).

Gegenstand der Intuition ist eine äusserliche (empirische) oder innerliche (metaph. Wesen) empfindbare Erscheing. In jedem Fall ist der Gegenstand in seiner Seinsweise dem Geiste gegenwärtig. Der Wert der Intuition besteht in ihrer Offensichtlichkeit (Evidenz).

J. Hoffmeister: Wörterbuch der Philosophischen Begriffe

Intuition, lat. "Anschauung", von intueri "anschauen", 1. die Anschauung im Sinne unmittelbarer ganzheitlicher Sinneswahrnhehmung im Gegensatz zu einem wandernden Beobachten oder abstrahierenden Betrachten, 2. im Gegensatz zur Reflextion die Fähigkeit, ein Ganzes mit seinen Gliedern in einem Akt einsichtig zu erfassen, das Wesen eines Gegen-standes, das Wesentliche eines Sachverhaltes, die Struktur eines Zusammenhanges, die Idee einer Sache zu durchschauen und zu überschauen.
Dazu intuitiv, durch unmittelbare Anschauung erkennbar oder erkannt; Gegensatz: diskursiv.

Die Vieldeutigkeit des Begriffs spiegelt sich in der Bedeutungsgeschichte des Wortes widerÖ Es wird gebraucht für das geistige Schauen der Ideen bei Plato, bei Descartes für die Erkenntnis einsichtiger Wahrheiten ("die intuitive Erkenntnis is das einfache, über jeden Zweifel erhabene Begreifen, das allein dem Licht der Vernunft entspringt." Reg. III).

Bei Locke heisst intuitive Erkenntnis die Einsichtigkeit der Axiome. Vielfach wird Intuition gleichbedeutend gebraucht mit "intellektueller Anschauung", z.B. bei Fichte und Schelling; nach Schopenhauer ist Intuition "lebendige Anschauung". In der neueren, bes. in der geisteswissenschaftlichen Psychologie wird die intuitive Erkenntnis der induktiv gewonnenen gegenübergestellt. Für Klages gehört die Intuition im Gegensatz zum Verstand auf die "Seelenseite", auch bei C.G.Jung wird sie vom Denken unterschieden. Eine grosse Rolle spielt sie in der Lebensphilosophie.

Intuitionismus, die Lehre, die der Intuition, dem intuitiven Denken, den Vorrang gibt vor der Reflexion, dem diskursiven Denken; in der Ethik die Lehre von der ursprünglichen Gewissheit des Unterschieds von Gut und Böse in der Vorstellung oder im Gefühl; in der Mathematik die Theorie, nach der die mathematischen Gegenstände ideal, d.h. durch reine Konstruktion des menschlichen Verstandes entstanden sind, oder in neuerer Zeit die von Brouwer aufgestellte Forderung, nur die Existenzsätze gelten zu lassen, die durch wirklich ausführbare Konstruktionen zu beweisen sind. Die Benutzung des tertium non datur wird für unendliche Mengen nicht zugelassen und auch im Falle der Widerspruchsfreiheit als sinnlos abgelehnt. Der Intuitionismus entstand als Reaktion auf die Entdeckung der Paradoxien der axiomatischen Mengenlehre.

Rowohlt Philosophie Lexikon

Intuition (von lat. intuitio oder intuitus , Anblick, Anschauung; engl. intuition ; franz. intuition ), unmittelbare Erfassung von Gegebenheiten und Sachverhalten. Innerhalb der Geschichte der Philosophie dient Intuition zur Bezeichnung recht unterschiedlicher Erkenntnisformen, denen aber die drei folgenden Elemente gemeinsam sind:
a) die intuitive Erkenntnis steht im Gegensatz zur sog. diskursiven Erkenntnis, d.h. einer Erkenntnis, die durch Zwischenglieder, Schlussfolgerungen erreicht wird, während die intuitive Erkenntnis unmittelbar und direkt erfolgt.
b) die intuitive Erkenntnis wird durch eine eigentümliche Anwesenheit des Erkannten charakterisiert; der Abstand zwischen Erkenntnis und Erkanntem ist in der Intuition überwunden. Einige Philosophen verstehen die Rede von solcher "Anwesenheit" in einem übertragenen, andere sogar in einem buchstäblichen Sinn.
c) der intuitiven Erkenntnis wird zumeist ein besonderes Mass an Sicherheit zugesprochen (Evidenz). Abgesehen von diesen gemeinsamen Merkmalen werden Intuition innerhalb der einzelnen philos. Theorien sehr unterschiedliche Erklärungsleistungen aufgebürdet, so dass auch deren Stellung innerhalb der Theorien alles andere als einheitlich ist.

Folgende Bedeutungen lassen sich unterscheiden:

1. Intuition als sog. geistige Einsicht in das Wesen oder die Idee der Welt. Sie ist im Gegensatz zu Wahrnehmung und Verstand nicht an die sinnlich erfahrbaren Phänomene gebunden, die als mehr oder weniger zufällige Erscheinungsformen des Wesen (der Idee) gelten. Dieses Verständnis von Intuition findet sich vorallem im Platonismus. Es ist dort Teil der Lehre von den verschiedenen Erkenntnisstufen, die verschiedenen ontologischen Stufen entsprechen. Als höchste Erkenntnisform entspricht die Intuition ontologisch der Idee des Guten, dem Sein oder dem Einen. Der Neuplatoniker Plotin verdeutlicht die Intuition durch eine Analogie mit dem Sehen (sinnlichen Schauen): Wie beim Sehen ist in der Intuition das Erkannte anwesend. Allerdings handelt es sich nur um eine Analogie; denn während im Sehen der Unterschied zwischen der Erkenntnis und ihrem Gegenstand (Objekt) bestehen bleibt, wird in der Intuition dieser Unterschied gerade aufgehoben. Von der platonischen Tradition ist auch Spinozas Unterscheidung zwischen unbestimmter (vager), adäquater und intuitiver Erkenntnis beeinflusst. Dasselbe gilt für Schellings Begriff der intellektuellen Anschauung.

2. Intuition als Einsicht in das Unzusammenhängende und Einfache. Diese Bedeutung von Intuition verwendet Descartes in seiner erkenntnistheoretischen Methodik: Aufgabe der Wissenschaft ist das Analysieren eines Problems, so dass es in immer einfachere Teile zerlegt wird. Am Ende der Analyse stehen simple, selbsteinleuchtende Wahrheiten, die durch Intuition erkannt werden. Die menschliche Erkenntnis ist deswegen in solcher Intuition fundiert. Auch für Leibniz leistet die Intuition die Erkenntnis der ursprünglichen einfachen Begriffe oder einfachen Urteile, bzw. Wahrheiten, die für alle komplexen Begriffe und Urteile die Grundlage bilden. Locke zufolge beruht jede Erkenntnis auf einer Verknüpfung der sog. Ideen. Durch Intuition lassen sich nun die einfachsten Beziehungen zwischen diesen Ideen erkennen wie die von Identität und Verschiedenheit. Die Erkenntnis komplexer Ideen und der Verbindung zwischen ihnen erfordert dagegen diskursive Beweise. Entsprechend versteht Hume unter Intuition die unmittelbare Einsicht in einfache, rein logische und mathematische Axiome wie die Einsicht in die Gültigkeit des Kontradiktionsprinzips.

3. Intuition als Erfahrung des hier und jetzt Wahrgenommenen im Gegensatz zur Vernunft, die Abstraktionen benutzt. Diese Bedeutung der Intuition verwendet u.a. Schopenhauer in seiner Kritik am begrifflichen Denken. Gleichzeitig ist für ihn die direkte Einsicht, dass das Wesen des eigenen Ich und der Welt reiner Wille ist, Intuition.

4. Intuition als das in der Anschauung oder Erfahrung des direkt Gegebenen Anwesende. In diesem Sinn verwenden Husserl und andere Phänomenologen Intuition als erweiterten phänomenologischen Begriff; er ermöglicht es, von einer intuitiven Erkenntnis des Wesens oder von Wesensschau zu sprechen.

5. Intuition als Erfahrung (Einsicht in oder Erfassen) des Gegenstands (Objekt) in seiner Ganzheit - im Gegensatz zu den bloss auf diesen oder jenen Teil bezogenen Einzelerfahrungen und ihrer nachträglichen Zusammenfügung.
Intuition als methodische Erfahrung des direkt oder unmittelbar Gegebenen in seiner Ganzheit - im Gegensatz zum abstrakten, diskursiven Denken (z.B. bei Bergson).
Intuition als mehr oder weniger unbegründete Einfälle, die der Aufstellung wissenschaft. Hypothesen zugrunde liegen. Der Intuition in dieser Bedeutung, wie moderne Wissenschafts-theoretiker den Begriff verstehen, wird keine besondere Sicherheit zugeschrieben.

D.J. Shallcross, D.A. Sisk: What is Intuition?

There are some things that you just know that you know. We experience reality within our own minds; this phenomenon isn't new to humankind. In fact, our ancestors paid much more heed to the inner knowing that today we call intuition. This inner way of knowing, or intuition, is different from the knowledge gained through experience or from phenomena outside of ourselves.

In the minds of ancient people, there was a clear-cut division between the external stimulus and the internal impression. That is, knowledge that came from inside ourselves was considered of equal importance to knowledge gained through outside sources. As Nel Noddings and Paul Shore (1984) report in Awakening the Inner Eye: Intuition in Education, visions or insights among ancient people were looked upon as functions of great importance. The seer or oracle was always a prominent member of the community. Intuitive insights or experiences were regarded as sources of knowledge, as messages from the gods, or as evidence of the seer's exceptional power.

To the classical Greeks and Romans, both rational (analytical, logical reasoning) and intuitive knowledge were valid. In fact, intuition was believed to be special; it frequently superseded rational conclusions. Noddings and Shore (1984) suggest that the entire philosophical school of idealism flowing from Plato is based on the notion that intuition is a reliable source of knowledge. Idealism contends that only mental reasoning is knowable; therefore, reality is essentially spiritual or mental.

Aristotle believed that thought consists of images. images have the power to evoke emotions that reveal inner knowing. He stated that intuitive reasoning graphs the first principles. He termed intuition a leap of understanding, a grasping of a larger concept unreachable by other intellectual means, yet fundamentally an intellectual process.

Buddha taught that intuition, not reason, is the source of ultimate truth and wisdom. It follows then that, in Zen meditation, the discriminating conscious mind is quieted and the intuitive mind is liberated, as the meditator seeks truth and wisdom. In Eastern philosophy, intuition is considered a faculty of the mind which develops during the course of spiritual growth.

In the Meditation Schools of China and Japan - "Ch'an" in China, "Zen" in Japan - emphasis is placed on candid searching. Competent instruction awakens into an experience and insight that defy explanation through rational speech. To the aspiring Buddhist monks, this awakening is a revelation of their inner truth and wisdom.

For the Hindu, intuitive insights are achieved through meditation and disciplined control of the mind. Intuition usually illuminates universal cosmic issues, not concrete problems. Intuitive experience is linked closely with spirituality and aesthetics. One aim of Yoga, as practiced by the Hindu, is the systematic development of intuition. Intuition is considered a stable, reliable function of higher levels of consciousness from which a wide range of information is accessible.

Carl Jung, one of the more influential psychologists of modern times, drew attention to the role of intuition in intellectual functioning. He stated that information is received in two ways: (1) externally, through the five senses and (2) internally, through intuition. To help in understanding the difference, it can be put this way:

When sensing, you
- perceive with the five senses
- attend to practical and factual details
- are in touch with the physical realities
- attend to the present moment
- confirm attention to what is said and done
- see "little things in everyday life"
- attend to step-by-step experience
- let your eyes tell your mind

When using intuition, you
- perceive with memory and association
- see patterns and meaning
- project possibilities for the future
- imagine or read between the lines
- look for the big picture
- have hunches or ideas out of nowhere
- let the mind tell the eyes (Sisk Or Shallcross, 1986)

Levels of Intuitive Awareness

Frances E. Vaughan (1979), in Awakening Intuition, provides an overview of intuition. She says that the broad range of intuitive human experience falls into four distinct levels of awareness: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Although these levels of experience often overlap, they are usually easy to categorize according to the level at which they are consciously perceived. Mystical experiences, for example, are intuitive experiences at the spiritual level; as such, they don't depend on sensory, emotional, or mental cues for their validity. Intuition at the physical level is associated with bodily sensations, at the emotional level with feelings, and at the mental level with images and ideas.

The Physical Level

Intuitive experiences at the physical level produce bodily sensations similar to the "jungle awareness" that alert primitive people to possible danger. This awareness is different from instinct, which is unconscious. Jungle awareness can be experienced in a city when certain situations cause you to shiver or to have a stomachache or a headache. Such bodily responses, or cues, reveal information concerning yourself and your environment. Vaughan suggests that tuning in to what the body is telling us can help us make decisions about the situations in which we find ourselves. If, for example, a specific situation consistently makes you tense, you can choose to avoid the situation or make appropriate changes to ease the tension. Paying attention to physical intuitive cues can make a significant difference in how you relate to your environment. Make a list of physical reactions that you have experienced, while driving, or at work, for instance. Are there some that occur over and over again in similar circumstances? Are such circumstances tension producing? If so, what changes might you make to ease these situations?

The Emotional

On the emotional level, intuition becomes conscious through feelings. Vaughan describes the emotional level of intuition as being sensitive to other people's "vibes" (vibrations of energy), such as immediately liking or disliking someone or something with no apparent justification, or having an inexplicable and vague sense that you should be doing something. Jot down experiences where you felt sensitive to other people's vibrations of energy. If possible, check this out with the others involved as to whether or not they experienced the same thing.

Intuitive cues on the emotional level often involve relations with other people and seem to take on an almost telepathic quality. Have you ever telephoned a friend or relative who was just about to call you? (One co-author frequently experiences this with her mother who lives a few hundred miles from her.) "Woman's intuition" (discussed later at length), is on the emotional level of intuitive awareness. Traditionally, society was tolerant of women openly expressing emotions but not of men doing the same. This allowed women more freedom to experience self-awareness.

The Mental Level

The mental level of intuitive awareness often becomes apparent through images, or through what might be called "inner vision." Because intuition on the mental level is associated with thinking (although all types of intuition are rooted in the mind), it is most often linked with problem-solving, mathematics and science (but not limited to those fields). Intuition on this level can be recognized when suddenly there is order where there had been chaos. This can occur in a flash or after long, arduous work. Western cultures tend to value the latter approach. First there occurs an exhaustive application of logic and reasoning, followed by a subsequent intuitive flash. This approach is associated with the discovery and invention involved in technological progress. Remember the times when you worked long and hard on something and the solution seemed to come to you "out of the blue?"

Educated guesses that we make, or the formulation of hypotheses and new theories, fall into the category of intuition on the mental level. Einstein was an advocate of taking "intuitive leaps" in the formulation of new theories. In The Universe Within, Morton Hunt (1982) quotes psychologist Donald Norman on the subject of intuitive leaps:

We leap to correct answers before there are sufficient data, we intuit, we grasp, we jump to conclusions despite the lack of convincing evidence. That we are right more often than wrong is the miracle of human intellect.
Fritjof Capra (1977) in The Tao of Physics notes the important part that intuition plays in scientific thought and discovery:

The rational part of research would, in fact, be useless if it were not complemented by the intuition that gives scientists new insights and makes them creative.

Capra speaks of "spontaneous insight" as being analogous to "getting" a joke.
We can take an intuitive leap; we can work long and hard with rational processes and then experience a solution in a flash of insight; or we can choose to "sit on it" (or sleep on it). Incubation con be a valuable asset to an intuitive process. Incubation gives the mind time to let a chaotic disarray fall into a pattern of order. Sid Parnes, a researcher and consultant in creative problem-solving, calls it "letting it happen."
Whatever path or paths you follow for utilizing the mental level of intuitive awareness, it is important to continue its nurture to insure that we do not lose one of our most precious assets. In The Intuitive Edge, Phillip Goldberg (1983) states:

When we mistrust (intuition) or let it atrophy by persisting with exclusively rational-empirical thought patterns we end up tuning in with mono to a stereo world.

The Spiritual Level

The spiritual level of intuitive awareness is associated with mystical experience and, at this level, is "pure." According to Vaughan, "Pure, spiritual intuition Is distinguished from other forms by its independence from sensations, feelings, and thoughts." Spinoza, a noted philosopher defined spiritual intuition as the knowledge of God. Frances Vaughan relates, philosopher James Bergenthal equates this knowledge with man's experience of his own being and says that man knows Got through his deepest intuitions about his own nature.

In yoga, spiritual intuition is known as soul guidance. It emerges spontaneously when the mind is quiet. Spiritual intuition is the basis from which all other forms of intuition are derived. Activating spiritual intuition means focusing on the transpersonal rather than on the personal realms of intuition. The personal and the transpersonal can b. considered as two modes of knowing or as two different levels CF consciousness. In Western thinking, the personal is the ordinary waking state of consciousness in which the world is perceived objects and events existing separately in time and space. The transpersonal means "beyond the personal." In transpersonal consciousness, the underlying oneness of the universe becomes apparent, and the ordinary confines of time and space are experientially transcended. Both of these realms of human function are available to us. Reason is the mode of knowing appropriate to the personal level. Intuition is the mode of knowing appropriate to the transpersonal level. We need to accept both, expanding our understanding and experiences of consciousness to include both.

Functional Types of Intuition

It is beneficial to examine another way of organizing how you might think about intuition. Phillip Goldberg (1983) categorizes six functional types of intuition: discovery and creativity, evaluation, operation, prediction, and illumination.

Discovery Intuition is similar to discovery in its revealing nature; but where discovery reveals singular truths, facts, or verifiable information, the creative function of intuition generates alternatives, options or possibilities. Ideas generated may be factually right or wrong, but will be more or less appropriate to the situation. Similar to a brainstorming session, creative intuition produces a quantity of ideas from which the ideal solution can be selected, while discovery intuition reproduces the single answer sought in a more factual situation, such as, "what is the structure of the DNA model?" The single "right" answer comes in a flash of knowing.

Evaluation intuition signals "yes" or "no" when one is confronted with choices. Goldberg (1983) distinguishes between rational analysis or intuition in making evaluations, using an example from Tom Duffy, a financial planner who states: " I might make contingency plans on the basis of a formal analysis of technical data, but the actual decision - to commit or hold off or abandon - is a question of timing, and for that I look to my feelings. "

At times, logic may dictate a move in one direction, but intuition urges another. A friend of ours still keeps on his dresser the ticket for an airplane trip that "something inside" told him not to take, even though it was an important business trip. The plane crashed and all its passengers were killed.

To stimulate your evaluation intuition, try this: Do a logical analysis of an upcoming event (The Super Bowl, Academy Awards). Based on your analysis, predict the outcome. Then, ignoring your rational decision, play your hunch on the outcome. Later, check out your results.

Operation intuition acts like a sense of direction, steering us this way or that. Where evaluation intuition works when there is something to evaluate, operation intuition most often precedes anything specific, kind of nudging you toward or away from a situation. The situation may be potentially dangerous or perhaps a major positive turning point in your life. This type of intuition is sometimes referred to as a lucky accident, or being in the right place at the right time, or responding to a gut feeling without much information to go on, or coincidence. Think back on your recent experiences. Is there anything that you can attribute to a lucky accident?

Prediction intuition allows us to predict what might happen in the future. We form hypotheses, we foresee future events, we forecast outcomes of situations. Predictions can be warning devices or positive feelings about future activities, or hunches that help us to organize or time these future events. For example, we might exercise extra caution in driving a car because prediction intuition may warn us of possible impending danger. Or we may feel pleasantly anticipatory toward attending an event, not knowing ahead of time that we will see someone there for whom we really care.

Illumination intuition is similar to what Frances Vaughan (1979) calls the spiritual level of intuitive awareness. It has been called, in other places, according to Goldberg (1983), samadhi, satori, nirvana, cosmic consciousness, self-realization, or union with God. Understanding illumination intuition helps us understand all forms of intuition; cultivating it simultaneously cultivates the other functional types of intuition.

(Doris J. Shallcross, Dorothy A. Sisk: Intuition, An Inner Way of Knowing, Bearly Limited 1989)