Unreal Nature

January 10, 2015

The Supreme Source of Truth

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:56 am

… Unfortunately, the very existence of such a capacity for the global and sudden apprehension of secure knowledge is not thereby established.

This is from Intuition and Science by Mario Bunge (1962):

… In some instances, “intuition” may designate a prerational faculty (sensible intuition); in others a suprarational aptitude (pure intuition, essence intuition, mystic intuition); in still others a variety of reason (intellectual intuition).

Philosophers and scientists do not usually agree on the meaning of “intuition.” Among philosophers, intuition, without qualification, is almost always a faculty of the human mind which differs from both sensibility and reason and is no less than an autonomous mode of cognition — namely, sudden, total, and accurate apprehension.

Scientists, on the other hand, are mostly concerned with inferred knowledge, which is mediate, partial, inaccurate, and laboriously elaborated. They are not inclined to believe in immediate apprehension of ready-made ideas and in sudden secure self-evidence but, rather, in more or less rapid constructions and in quick fragmentary inference.

Those who are scientifically oriented — whether in science or in philosophy — may believe in intuitions of various sorts but not in intuitionism. Intuition may be a source of progress when its products — usually rough conjectures — are tested. Intuitionism, on the other hand, is a regressive trend in philosophy, which dogmatically proclaims the existence and even the superiority of an inscrutable and uncontrollable manner of knowing.

[ … ]

… a proposition that is taken as a premise in a given context is undemonstrable in that context. And if it is not granted that such premises (axioms or postulates) may be tentatively stated as hypotheses (factual science) or as conventions (formal science), how could they be established except by induction or intuition? But induction, which Aristotle regards as the method whereby even sensible perception “implants the universal,” does not yield secure knowledge, as is evidenced by the failure of most of our empirical generalizations; and insecure knowledge is not scientific according to infallibilism. Therefore, intuition remains as the only mode of apprehension of the premises of scientific discourse. Ultimately, “intuition will be the originative source of scientific knowledge.” [Aristotle]

Fundamentalism and infallibilism, then, lead to intuitionism. Or rather — in the case of Aristotle and of many others who grant the value of sensible experience and of deduction — they lead to postulating the existence of intuition as an autonomous mode of knowing and as the supreme source of truth. Unfortunately, the very existence of such a capacity for the global and sudden apprehension of secure knowledge is not thereby established.




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