Intuition and introspection

Hans Julius Schneider
Table of contents

In the philosophical tradition the word ‘intuition’ designates an uninferred or immediate kind of knowledge or apprehension, as opposed to discursive knowledge, mediated by accepted methods of demonstration. Intuitive knowledge (the content of which can be sensible and/or intellectual) has often been taken to be the epistemological basis of discursive knowledge; e.g. a person’s knowledge of his/her ‘sense data’ (that P now has a patch of blue in his/her visual field) or of axiomatic principles (that every event has a cause) was taken to be so unquestionable, so direct, and so basic as to be unable of being grounded in foundations of any other kind. On the other hand, since a tradition going back to Aristotle demands that knowledge has to be related to reasoning, the existence of intuitive knowledge seemed to be in need of explanation (for general treatments of the topic, see Bunge 1962; Hart et al. 1949; Kobusch 1976; Schlick 1979).

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