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Distinguishing insight from intuition

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Commentary on ‘The View from Within’, edited by Francisco Varela and Jonathan Shear (Includes response from C. Petitmengin-Peugeot)

[opening paragraph]: As Peugeot says, the subjective experience of intuition has received remarkably little attention, so her paper is a valuable start to a systematic study of this important phenomenon. There are a number of possible meanings of ‘intuition', for example, authors such as Bowers et al. (1990), use it to mean a feeling of being close to solving a problem before the solution is consciously available (similar to tip-of-the-tongue states in memory). Despite referring to the volumes that have been dedicated to the definition of intuition, Peugeot herself does not offer a definition of the phenomenon that she is studying. Before embarking on a detailed exploration of intuition, it is worth identifying the phenomenon in question, so as to provide a framework in which further investigation may meaningfully take place. I would like to suggest that Peugeot uses the term intuition to encompass two distinct phenomena, but that her results describe only one of these. Secondly, I would like to consider the role of intuition in people's lives.
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Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton.

Publication date: 1999-02-01

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