Theory of Knowledge

Last updated June 2020.

Senior Library collection

Educating Intuition

In Educating Intuition, Robin M. Hogarth offers the first comprehensive overview of what the science of psychology can tell us about intuition—where it comes from, how it works, whether we can trust it. He finds that intuition is a normal and important component of thought that has its roots in processes of tacit learning. Environment, attention, experience, expertise, and the success of the scientific method all form part of Hogarth’s perspective on intuition, leading him to the surprising—but natural—conclusion that we can educate our sixth sense. Educating Intuition eschews the vague approach to the topic that has become commonplace and provides instead a wholly engaging and practical guide to enhancing our intuitive skills.

Risk Savvy

Here, Gerd Gigerenzer examines the many psychological, societal, and mathematical factors that contribute to our collective misunderstanding of the world around us and shows how we can overcome them.


A cutting-edge exploration of the mysteries of rational thought, decision-making, intuition, morality, willpower, problem-solving, prediction, forecasting, unconscious behavior, and beyond. Edited by John Brockman, publisher of ("The world's smartest website"--The Guardian), Thinking presents original ideas by today's leading psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers who are radically expanding our understanding of human thought. Daniel Kahneman on the power (and pitfalls) of human intuition and "unconscious" thinking *

Thinking, fast and slow

Looks at the way our minds work, and how we make decisions. This book reveals how our minds are tripped up by error and prejudice (even when we think we are being logical), and gives you practical techniques for slower, smarter thinking

Intuition - Videos

Intuition - weblinks

Intuition - Quotes

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. — Albert Einstein

 It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover. Henri Poincare

Intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data. John Naisbitt

The two operations of our understanding, intuition and deduction, on which alone we have said we must rely in the acquisition of knowledge. Rene Descartes

 Intuition and concepts constitute… the elements of all our knowledge, so that neither concepts without an intuition in some way corresponding to them, nor intuition without concepts, can yield knowledgeImmanuel Kant

 Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way. Florence Scovel Shinn

Intuition - Key concepts

Intuition is an immediate insight into something,  and we can distinguish them as core intuitions, subject intuition and social intuitions. 

Intuition is sometimes associated with concepts of instinct and innate knowledge

Core intuitions - Most fundamental intuitions about life, the universe and everything - although reason and perception are said to give us knowledge, they ultimately depend on intuition. 

Subject-specific intuitions- intuitions we have in various areas of knowledge such as science and ethics. Appealing to intuition to justify our knowledge claims in various areas of knowledge, should be treated with great caution eg. many ideas of quantum mechanics are so contrary to ordinary ways of thinking, that intuition is an obstacle to understanding

Social intuitions - our intuitions about other people, what they are like, whether or not they can be trusted, etc. 

Natural and educated intuitions - Natural intuitions may not always help to understand the world. Educated intuition is usually the product of raw talent and vast mental database of background knowledge. 

Interactive ways of knowing - Interpretation of of cognitive psychology that intuition is rapid cognition, the speedy working of the brain without our being consciously aware

Unconscious skills - As we become adept at skills, we no longer need to reach conclusions consciously or make ourselves move in the right way. Familiar actions seem "just to happen" in the right circumstances.

Making decisions - In many cases of decision-making, we use our intuition, swift in conclusions and rough in its judgements, some of our intuitive decisions are matters of preference and taste.

Moral judgements 

Jumping into error

Heuristics and cognitive biases (four biases)


Intuition - Questions for reflection

?? To what extent does intuition provide us with reliable knowledge?

?? What makes some people more intuitive than others?

?? How important is intuition in ethical decision-making?

?? Why are some people considered more intuitive than others? 

?? Should you trust your intuition?

?? If something is intuitively obvious, must everyone agree about it? 

More weblinks

What is the Bibliography entry for this web article?