Discipline: Philosophy

Any view holding that some of our knowledge is got by a direct process not depending on the senses and not open to rational assessment.

The objects of such knowledge may include: moral principles (whether as the basis of duty or as ultimate values); particular moral duties on a particular occasion (sometimes called perceptual intuitionism); space and time and their contents, so far as these are presented to us independently of anything contributed by the understanding (Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)), reality as it is itself, as opposed to reality processed by us for practical purposes (investigated by Henri Bergson (1859-1941)); things known by accumulated but forgotten experience or unconscious inference ('woman's intuition'; but this figures less prominently in philosophy); basic truths of logic and the principles of valid inference.

An important special case of the last example cited above is the mathematical intuitionism of Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer (1881-1966) and AREND HEYTING (1898-1980), a form of constructivism which insists that we should assert only what can be proved (by intuitively acceptable steps) and deny only what can be disproved.

It therefore rejects the law of excluded middle and half of the double negation principle.

Also see: anti-realism

D Pole, Conditions of Rational Inquiry (1961), ch. 1


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