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in philosophy, way of knowing directly; immediate apprehension. The Greeks understood intuition to be the grasp of universal principles by the intelligence (nous), as distinguished from the fleeting impressions of the senses. The distinction used by the Greeks implied the superiority of intellectual intuitions over information received by the senses. Christian thinkers made a distinction between intuitive and discursive knowledge: God and angels know directly (intuitively) what men reach by reasoning. René Descartes insisted that there are not two faculties of intuition (the sensual and the intellectual) but only the faculty of intellect; sensual experience, although it appears necessary in practice, is not essential to knowledge. John Locke and others criticized Descartes's position, and under the influence of such criticism perception and the intellect came to be regarded as two separate, intuitive faculties, both necessary for genuine knowledge. Immanuel Kant took sense perception to be the paradigm of intuition, although pure intuitions of space and time were also basic to his system. For Henri Bergson, intuition was an evolved, conscious form of instinct, an unmediated experience of the external world or of the self. Bertrand Russell formulated the conceptual-perceptual distinction as the difference between "knowledge by description" and "knowledge by acquaintance" and Russell also postulated a faculty analogous to sensation that apprehended universals. The logical positivists felt it was unnecessary to posit such a faculty, and explained the apprehension of nonsensory intuitive (or noninferential) knowledge as the result of psychological conditioning in the learning of a language. To know that all events are caused is to have learned the usage of the terms event and cause. Critics have argued that such a position confuses the learning of a fact with the learning of a word. The role intuition plays in mathematics and ethics has provoked lively debate in the history of Western philosophy. According to mathematical intuitionism, mathematical knowledge rests on mathematical concepts that are immediately clear and irreducible. According to ethical intuitionism, there are fundamental ethical truths that can be known directly and do not have to be inferred.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Intuition has been defined as “a non-thought which bypasses the process of thinking and brings through a whole body sensation of ‘this information is important;’ information that one did not know before through education of past experiences, did not logically think out or reason with.” It is an inner knowing and usually happens spontaneously. It can be linked with clairsentience, the mediumistic ability to sense information. With clairsentience, the information sensed is from spirit, while with intuition it is not necessarily so. psychic ability which does not connect with spirit can be largely due to intuition.


Bletzer, June G.: The Encyclopedia Psychic Dictionary. Lithia Springs: New Leaf, 1998



the ability to apprehend the truth through direct perception of it, without the confirmation provided by proof.

In the history of philosophy the concept of intuition has had different meanings. At one time it was understood as a form of immediate intellectual knowledge or contemplation (intellectual intuition). Thus, Plato asserted that the contemplation of ideas (prototypes of things in the sensual world) is a type of immediate knowledge that comes like a sudden illumination, after lengthy preparation of the mind. Throughout the history of philosophy, the concept of sensual forms of cognition was often juxtaposed to thought. Descartes, for example, asserted: “By intuition I do not mean belief in the uncertain testimony of the senses or the deceptive judgment of the disordered imagination, but the conception of a clear and attentive mind so simple and distinct that we feel no doubt about what we are thinking. Or, what is the same thing, the firm conception of a clear and attentive mind, engendered only by the natural light of reason and which, thanks to its simplicity, is more reliable than deduction itself” (Izbr. proizv., Moscow, 1950, p. 86).

In his system Hegel dialectically combined direct and indirect knowledge. Intuition has also been treated as cognition in the form of sensual contemplation (sensual intution): “only the sensual … is unquestionably certain, as clear as the sun,” and therefore the secret of intuitive cognition “is concentrated in the sensual” (L. Feuerbach, Izbr. filosofskie proizvedeniia, vol. 1, Moscow, 1955, p. 187).

Intuition has also been understood as instinct that directly determines the behavior of the organism, without preliminary learning (H. Bergson). It has also been interpreted as the hidden, unconscious prime principle of the creative process (Freud).

Several trends in bourgeois philosophy treat intuition as divine revelation—a wholly unconscious process that is incompatible with logic or practical experience (intuitivism). The various interpretations of intuition have in common an emphasis on the principle of spontaneity in the process of cognition, as distinguished from the indirect, discursive character of logical thought.

Materialist dialectics sees the rational core of the concept of intuition in the principle of the spontaneity of cognition, which represents the unity of the sensual and the rational. Scientific cognition, as well as various forms of artistic assimilation of the world, does not always occur in an explicit, logically and factually supported form. In many instances, a man suddenly grasps a complex situation—for example, during a military battle or in making a diagnosis or determining the guilt or innocence of a defendant. The role of intuition is particularly great when one must go beyond the limits of existing means of cognition to penetrate the unknown.

Intuition, however, is not irrational or superrational. In the process of intuitive cognition, all the signs that lead to a conclusion, as well as the method by which it is arrived at, are not consciously perceived. Intuition is not a special path to cognition that transcends sensations, ideas, and thinking. Rather, it represents a special type of thought whose separate links run more or less imperceptibly through the consciousness, making it possible to perceive truth—the result of thought—with utmost clarity. Intuition can be sufficient for the perception of the truth, but for convincing others and oneself of this truth, it is insufficient. For that, proof is necessary.



Philosophy immediate knowledge of a proposition or object such as Kant's account of our knowledge of sensible objects


(operating system)
The Amiga windowing system (a shared-code library).
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