Ib Tok and Intuition

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When discussing knowledge in terms of epistemology, it is assumed that we can only arrive at certainty via an active thought process. Reason, perception, language, and emotion are consciously used to generate claims and gain knowledge. However, it is also believed that there exists an aspect of the mind independent of the consciousness which incites claims and gains knowledge without our knowing. If our subconscious mind possesses faculties that grant us knowledge of the world, and if the four accepted ways of knowing are strictly limited to the conscious realm, then there must be another way of knowing rooted in the subconscious. Intuition, the “gut feeling” one may have about a situation, can be seen as this fifth way of knowing.

Towards the beginning of October I was driving to sports practice before the sun rose. As I crested a hill, I decided to shift from the left lane to the right (away from the median line) without any concrete justification. Within seconds, a car with no headlights on crossed the median into the lane I had occupied seconds before. The car was traveling at nearly 100 kilometers per hour in a 50 kilometer per hour zone. It had been below the horizon of the hill with no lights or noise to warn me; I didn’t even know the car existed until it was 10 meters in front of me.

Shifting lanes quite literally saved my life that morning, but why did I do so? I had not perceived the car in any way. There was no rational thought involved in the decision. The sensation did not correspond with any emotion or feeling I have experienced or heard described by another person. The radio did not turn itself on and say, “Bothwell, shift lanes immediately or you will be involved in a head-on collision.” The four traditional ways of knowing had no impact on my decision, but I knew that I should shift lanes. Intuition is the only plausible explanation.

The definitions of intuition I found in numerous dictionaries and discussions shared two...
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