Metaphysical "Intuition"­­­

What is an "intuitive" understanding of metaphysics?  "While Kant had dismissed metaphysics (in part) as groundless speculation about things beyond human knowledge, Henri Bergson sees it as a matter of grasping things “from the inside.”  He calls this “intuition”:  the kind of understanding we have of our own inner lives.  If you try to describe this with concepts or images, you falsify it, you freeze it into position.  That’s necessarily what science does, and is very useful, but doesn’t get at what’s metaphysically fundamental for Bergson, which is the unbroken flow of duration."

The above is a description of Henri Bergson's “An Introducti​on to Metaphysic​s”. Thanks to the PEL website for the nice summary - Listen for yourself: http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2014/03/20/precognition-of-ep-92-henri-bergson/

Here is the essay (~20 pages):
http://www.realfuture.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Introduction-to-Metaphysics.pdf

 

•  Reading is important to prepare for this discussion.  You can also listen to the podcast to get an idea of the topic.

 

• The focus will be on cooperative understanding of Bergson's challenging ideas. 


 

Join or login to comment.

  • Alan

    Interesting discussion on intuition. Ok. Now I can envision the d8fference between Tesla vs Edison on their philosophy of research development. Edison would have to go through 100 trials and errors to get a result that can be a practical invention. Tesla would use intuition envisioning an invention avoiding the trial and error.

    2 · May 17

    • Alan

      I dont feel its restricted to geniuses.

      2 · May 18

    • jerry

      Herbert Simon on intuition: "Moreover, the "insight" that is supposed to be required for such work as discovery turns out to be synonymous with the familiar process of recognition; and other terms commonly used in the discussion of creative work; such terms as "judgment," "creativity," or even "genius" - appear either to be wholly dispensable or to be definable, as insight is, in terms of mundane and well understood concepts." (The Scientist as Problem Solver)

      May 21

  • Brian

    Interesting - check this out from Emerson on Intellect "If we consider what persons have stimulated and profited us, we shall perceive the superiority of the spontaneous or intuitive principle over the arithmetical or logical. The first contains the
    second, but virtual and latent. We want, in every man, a long logic; we cannot pardon the absence of it, but it must not be spoken. Logic is the procession or proportionate unfolding of the intuition; but
    its virtue is as silent method; the moment it would appear as propositions, and have a separate value, it is worthless".

    2 · May 18

    • jerry

      ...but wouldn't that be the same as Ivan calling intuition worthless? I think Emerson says otherwise. That is, he says that "the moment it would appear as propositions, and have a SEPARATE value, it is worthless". That is, we should keep things together and connected in series.

      1 · May 18

    • Brian

      Yeah, You're right.

      1 · May 18

  • Ann

    I'm happy that Alan is coming!

    3 · May 13

    • Alan

      Thnku so much

      1 · May 14

    • Alan

      Ann you should have stayed longer and listen to the discussions of intuition. Everyone gave their input and i would liked to hear yours too.

      May 17

  • Brian

    Great discussion. I'm very happy to have read Bergson. I think he ties together all my favorite thinkers, as well as others like Leibniz

    May 17

  • jerry

    Wow, the essay has the best treatment of what a concept is that I've ever read...Thanks to whoever posted the article!

    2 · May 4

    • George

      And this thread is an excellent example (and encouraging for me in particular) of how our group discussions can begin before our live "meet-ups" occur.
      I can't attend today's excellent topic/text but feel like I've gotten a lot from just reading this page/thread/links.

      2 · May 17

  • Brian

    Good selections of highlights. [Only look at the left-hand column though]

    http://www.quantonics.com/Review_of_Bergsons_An_Intro_to_Metaphysics.html

    3 · May 17

    • Brian

      In short, philosophy thus defined does not consist in the choice of certain concepts, and in taking sides with a school, but in the search for a unique intuition from which we can descend with equal ease to different concepts, because we are placed above the divisions of the schools.

      2 · May 17

    • jerry

      Very nice! I just got to that passage. Beautiful writing!

      May 17

  • Chad B.

    "And how nobly it raises our conceit of the mighty, misty monster, to behold him solemnly sailing through a calm tropical sea; his vast, mild head overhung by a canopy of vapor, engendered by his incommunicable contemplations, and that vapor- as you will sometimes see it- glorified by a rainbow, as if Heaven itself had put its seal upon his thoughts. For d'ye see, rainbows do not visit the clear air; they only irradiate vapor. And so, through all the thick mists of the dim doubts in my mind, divine intuitions now and then shoot, enkindling my fog with a heavenly ray. And for this I thank God; for all have doubts; many deny; but doubts or denials, few along with them, have intuitions. Doubts of all things earthly, and intuitions of some things heavenly; this combination makes neither believer nor infidel, but makes a man who regards them both with equal eye."

    3 · May 15

    • Rick O.

      so it's true - there is one source from which all answers may be gleaned.

      2 · May 17

  • Brian

    [About the "relativity" of scientific knowledge.] What is relative is the symbolic knowledge by preexisting concepts, which proceeds from the fixed to the moving, and not the intuitive knowledge which installs itself in that which is moving and adopts the very life of things. This intuition attains the absolute.

    1 · May 17

    • Brian

      Science and metaphysics therefore come together in intuition. A truly intuitive philosophy would realize the much-desired union of science and metaphysics. While it would make of metaphysics a positive science—that is, a progressive and indefinitely perfectible one—it would at the same time lead the positive sciences, properly so-called, to become conscious of their true scope, often far greater than they imagine. It would put more science into metaphysics, and more metaphysics into science. It would result in restoring the continuity between the intuitions which the various sciences have obtained here and there in the course of their history, and which they have obtained only by strokes of genius

      2 · May 17

  • Alan

    See u guys at the meeting.

    1 · May 14

  • Brian

    "It follows from this that an absolute could only be given in an intuition, whilst everything else falls within the province of analysis. By intuition is meant the kind of intellectual sympathy by which one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible."

    2 · May 13

    • Brian

      But the error consists in believing that we can reconstruct the real with these diagrams. As we have
      already said and may as well repeat here - from intuition one can pass to analysis, but not from analysis
      to intuition.

      May 14

    • Brian

      VIII. The reason why this object has been lost sight of, and why science itself has been mistaken in the
      origin of the processes it employs, is that intuition, once attained, must find a mode of expression and
      of application which conforms to the habits of our thought, and one which furnishes us, in the shape of
      well-defined concepts, with the solid points of support which we so greatly need. In that lies the
      condition of what we call exactitude and precision, and also the condition of the unlimited extension of
      a general method to particular cases. Now this extension and this work of logical improvement can be
      continued for centuries, whilst the act which creates the method lasts but for a moment. That is why
      we so often take the logical equipment of science for science itself, forgetting the metaphysical
      intuition from which all the rest has sprung.

      2 · May 14

  • Brian

    I'm finding this essay very hard-hitting and relevant. I think we become better thinkers if we can work through this essay. Looking forward to Saturday

    1 · May 13

  • Chad B.

    Does anyone else detect a hint of passive aggression in the selection of recent meetup topics? ;-)

    1 · May 13

  • jerry

    What a great topic!

    Still, it boggles my mind how certain philosophers/analysts make seemingly simple ideas so complicated and confusing. Especially the types of examples and analogies they select to explain...

    1 · May 4

    • jerry

      Rick:Kant says, "One could therefore also call transcendental philosophy transcendental logic. It is concerned with the sources, the extent, and the bounds of pure reason, and pays no regard to objects…For there we do indeed consider things according to their universal properties. Transcendental logic abstracts from all that; it is a kind of self-knowledge (29:752, 756)

      1 · May 12

    • jerry

      Eckart Forster's introduction addresses this problem elegantly: The concern of answering the question of non-empirical, veridical inference. “Take, for example, the metaphysical claim that the soul is immortal. How can I know that?

      In other words, how is metaphysics possible at all, if it is to be more than the mere play of opinion?”

      May 12

  • jerry

    The psychology of accurate intuition involves no magic. Perhaps the best short statement of it is by the great Herbert Simon, who studied chess masters and showed that after thousands of hours of practice they come to see the pieces on the board differently from the rest of us. You can feel Simon's impatience with the mythologizing of expert intuition when he writes: "The situation has provided a cue; this cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. INTUITION IS NOTHING MORE AND NOTHING LESS THAN RECOGNITION". ~Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

    1 · May 7

    • eric

      Jerry, maybe chess is not the best discipline to talk about the "magic" of intuition. This recent goal is so creatively 'out of the (discursive) mind'!

      http://www.youtube.co...­

      2 · May 8

    • jerry

      eric, what? intuition? creativity? adaptation? nested hierarchical thinking? brrrrmmmmgggg...brmmg brmg brmmmmmgggggg!!!

      May 8

  • Mike B.

    I am coming to this discussion late, but just today I was wondering if intuition might be thought a conclusion (or an opinion) for which we are unable to provide a respectable rationale. We have a thought and we have no "reason" for having that thought. Thus a non-intuitive thought for which we have a culturally acceptable base for holding such a thought.

    2 · May 7

    • jerry

      I think that's a fair description. Some people have contrasted intuition with reasoning but they're connected and difficult to separate completely.

      2 · May 7

    • Ann

      Mike - I'm glad that you'll be there!!! Great description as well.

      1 · May 7

  • jerry

    Hey Brian,

    I don't want to add more reading but having a clear contrasting view for comparison is useful to limit the things to talk about. Here's an essay I found recently that's from an unfamiliar source. If you have time, check it out. It's written for the educated lay reader, talks about art and science and has philosophical themes. INTUITION: A BRIDGE TO THE COENESTHETIC WORLD OF EXPERIENCE

    http://www.apsa.org/portals/1/docs/japa/531/piha-pp.23-49.pdf

    May 5

    • Brian

      Thanks Jerry, im glad you're enthusiastic. We can work to understand together. I'll try my best, but it's great if we can help each other out. I love the quotes and suggestions, really

      May 5

  • Jack

    Brian---I'll be glad to attend, if I'm back in town that evening and have the elan vital.

    1 · May 5

    • Brian

      Thought of you when I posted this. Ok

      1 · May 5

  • jerry

    Here are a few quotes that illustrate the relationship between (intuition/feeling/discovery/nondiscursive) and (analysis/thinking/justification/discursive). To some, this connection is matter of course. To others, it isn't even considered or even ridiculed...

    May 4

    • jerry

      First, the primacy of intuition holds only for the phases of design in which design ‘conjectures’ are generated. The process of testing those conjectures is a discursive process involving reasoning and this is likely to feed back into the next phase of conjecture… ~Bill Hillier

      May 4

    • jerry

      A new intuitive connection is often surprising and arouses enthusiasm: “That’s what it is!
      Eureka!” Naturally, we should add a self-critical clause: “At least it very much looks like it right now.” ~Heikki Piha

      1 · May 4

12 went

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create a Meetup Group and meet new people

Get started Learn more
Henry

I decided to start Reno Motorcycle Riders Group because I wanted to be part of a group of people who enjoyed my passion... I was excited and nervous. Our group has grown by leaps and bounds. I never thought it would be this big.

Henry, started Reno Motorcycle Riders

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy