Skip to main content
Select Source:

intuition

intuition, 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.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"intuition." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"intuition." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/intuition

"intuition." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/intuition

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

intuition

in·tu·i·tion / ˌint(y)oōˈishən/ • n. the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning: we shall allow our intuition to guide us. ∎  a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning: your insights and intuitions as a native speaker are positively sought. DERIVATIVES: in·tu·i·tion·al / -ˈishənl/ adj. in·tu·i·tion·al·ly / -ˈishənl-ē/ adv.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"intuition." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"intuition." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/intuition

"intuition." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved February 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/intuition

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Intuition

Intuition

Human faculty by which individuals are aware of facts not accessible to normal sensory or mental processes. Some apparent intuition may be attributed to unconscious sensory or mental perception or deduction. Other intuitive awareness suggests paranormal faculty.

(See also Extrasensory Perception )

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Intuition." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Intuition." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/intuition

"Intuition." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Retrieved February 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/intuition

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

intuition

intuition †contemplation, view XV (rare before XVII); †regard, reference; (philos.) immediate knowledge or apprehension XVI; (gen.) immediate insight XVIII. — late L. intuitiō, -ōn-; see IN-1, TUITION.
So intuitive XVI. — medL.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"intuition." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"intuition." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/intuition-0

"intuition." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved February 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/intuition-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.