Throughout human history development there were numerous philosophers who were explaining and exploring the intuition, describing it differently and presenting various points of views in defining it. Here are several most significant abstracts on the most relevant views on intuition:
Are intuitions really a-priori or do they develop in response to a relatively stable reality and in interaction with it? Will we really have intuitions in a chaotic, capricious, and utterly unpredictable and disordered universe? Do intuitions emerge just to counter-balance surprises?
Lock opinion was that intuition is a learned and cumulative response to sensation and that the assumption of innate ideas is unnecessary. The mind is like a blank sheet of paper, filled gradually by experience. The sum total of observations of external objects and of internal “reflections” (i.e., operations of the mind) fill in the “blank sheet”. Ideas (what the mind perceives in itself or in immediate objects) are triggered by the qualities of objects, combined with our experience and thoughts.
Locke was reduced to ideal (innate) intuitions and according him, a colour, for instance, can be either an idea in the mind (i.e., ideal intuition), or the quality of an object that causes this idea in the mind (i.e., that evokes the ideal intuition). His “primary qualities” (qualities shared by all objects) come close to being eidetic intuitions.
Locke admitted that there is no resemblance or correlation between the idea in the mind and the (secondary) qualities that provoked it. Berkeley demolished Locke’s preposterous claim that there is such resemblance (or mapping) between primary qualities and the ideas provoke in the mind. It would seem therefore that Locke’s “ideas in the mind” are in the mind irrespective and independent of the qualities that produce them, i.e. they are a-priori. Locke resorts to abstraction in order to repudiate it, by asking himself about “intuitive knowledge”.
When the mind “perceives the agreement or disagreement of two ideas immediately by themselves, without the intervention of any other… the knowledge of our own being we have by intuition… the mind is presently filled with the clear light of it. It is on this intuition that depends all the certainty and evidence of all our knowledge… (Knowledge is the) perception of the connection of and agreement, or disagreement and repugnancy, of any of our ideas.”
Knowledge is intuitive intellectual perception and even when demonstrated (and few things, mainly ideas, can be intuited and demonstrated – relations within the physical realm cannot be grasped intuitively), each step in the demonstration is observed intuitionally.
The”sensitive knowledge” is also a form of intuition (known as “intuitive cognition” in the Middle Ages). It is the perceived with certainty that there is a finite object outside us. The knowledge of one’s existence is also an intuition. Both intuitions are judgmental and rely on probabilities.
Hume denied the existence of innate ideas and according to him, all ideas are based either on sense impressions or on simpler ideas. He accepted that there are propositions known by the pure intellect (as opposed to propositions dependent on sensory input) and that these deal with the relations between ideas are (logically) necessarily true.
The reason is used in order to prove them, but they are independently true. In this sense it is all the same because they merely reveal the meaning or information implicit in the definitions of their own terms.
These propositions do not teach us about the nature of things because they are, self referential (equivalent to Kant’s “analytic propositions”).
Our senses acquaint us with the particulars of things and thus provide us with intuitions. The understanding provided us with useful taxonomies of concepts. However concepts without intuitions are empty and futile, as intuitions without concepts. Perceptions (“phenomena”) are the composite of the sensations, caused by the perceived objects and the mind’s reactions to such sensations (“form”). The reactions are the product of human intuition.
The Absolute idealists
Schelling suggested that a featureless, undifferentiated, union of opposites is the -Absolute Ideal-. Intellectual intuition entails such a union of opposites and is immersed and assimilated by the Absolute, becoming as featureless and undifferentiated as the Absolute itself.
Objective Idealists claimed that we are able to know ultimate (spiritual) reality by intuition (or thought) independent of the senses (the mystical argument).
The mediation of words and symbol systems, distorts the “signal” and inhibits the effective application of one’s intuition to the attainment of real, immutable, knowledge.
The Phenomenological theory is that every thing has an invariable and irreducible “essence” (“Eidos”, as distinguished from contingent information about the thing).
We can grasp this essence only intuitively (“Eidetic Reduction“) and in this process – of transcending the concrete and reaching for the essential – the independent of facts, concrete objects, or mental constructs count.
By not being free from methodology (“free variation”), from factual knowledge, or from ideal intuitions, the Phenomenologist is forced to make the knowledge of facts his point of departure. Upon this, she or he applies a certain methodology (she/he varies the nature and specifications of the studied object to reveal its essence) which relies entirely on ideal intuitions (such as the rules of logic).
Phenomenology, is an idealistic form of rationalism. It applies reason to discover Platonic (Idealism) essences and like Rationalism, it is not empirical, based on sense data. It is anti-empirical, it “brackets” the concrete and the factual in its attempt to delve beyond appearances and into essences. It calls for the application of intuition to discover essential insights.
“Phenomenon” in Phenomenology is known by consciousness and Phenomenologists regarded intuition as a “pure”, direct, and primitive way of reducing clutter in reality.
It is immediate and the basis of a higher level perception, a philosophical system built on intuition being non speculative. Phenomenology’s emphasis on the study of consciousness (and intuition), rather than on the study of (deceiving) reality, is through “Wesensschau” (the intuition of essences) that one reaches the invariant nature of things (by applying free variation techniques).
These are the core ideas od dome of the main intuition streams throughout human history. Intuition is important segment in human beings existence, it can be developed and nurtured to help us differentiate things and broader thoughts and ideas.
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