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Intuition's Role In Knowledge

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Intuition plays an important role in all the areas of knowledge. It provides the foundation on which our understanding of each area of knowledge is built. These core intuitions are the fundamental basis for everything we know. Both reason and perception are dependent on intuition. Because many of the areas of knowledge rely on these two ways of knowing, it can be said that they also rely on intuition. Three of the areas that rely on intuition are mathematics, natural science, and ethics. In mathematics intuition is the basis of our theories. Intuition plays the same role in the natural sciences, such as physics. Our ethics are directly formed from our intuitions about what we observe in society.

Mathematics is an area of knowledge that relies mainly on reason to show that things are true. This in turn means that mathematics must be based on intuition. There are several models of reasoning on which we base our mathematical knowledge. One of these models was developed by Euclid and is known as the formal system. His system has three key elements. These elements are axioms, deductive reasoning, and theorems. The axioms are the systems “starting points or basic assumptions” (Lagemaat). These axioms are considered to be the self-evident truths that provide the foundations for mathematical knowledge, and show that it is based on intuition. The second element of the formal system is deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning is an important part of this system. It is built from two or more premises that lead us to a conclusion. It is another fundamental law of reason that can only be justified with intuitive knowledge. This leads to the third element, which are the theorems. These simple theorems are derived from the other two elements. If we know our theorems are true then we must also know that our axioms and deductive reasoning are correct. The first two elements can only be consider true knowledge if we say that our intuitions are correct. If we tried to prove them it would end up at a point were we would just have to say it is true because that is what intuition tells us. There is no way to know if our system is the correct one without saying that we intuitively know that it is. It can be argued that because basic mathematical knowledge is the same throughout the world that our system must be the right one. However it is entirely possible that the whole world is misguided in this belief. That is why we must rely on the intuition that our system is right. If we challenge our intuitions then we must also challenge everything that was derived from those intuitions. An example of a simple mathematical truth is that parallel lines will never meet. Because the lines continue on forever there is no way to know for certain that the lines will never meet. We cannot see that they will never meet so we must rely on our intuitions that they will not. Another example is the idea that one plus one equals two. There is no way to know that this will always be true because we cannot witness every situation in which it is used. We can also not be sure that our concept of numbers is even true. It is intuitive to us that it is so we accept it as being true. These two examples are considered to be self-observant truths, but because we cannot observe every example of them we must intuitively say that they are.

The natural sciences are another area in which our intuitions allow us to say that our theories are true. Physics is a natural science that is built upon theories. All of these theories are based on data and our observations of what we are testing. These theories are also based upon our perception. We observe many theories through our senses. However our senses can be flawed, so we must rely on our intuitions that they are not. Even though we can see our theories in real world applications and can collect data that supports these theories, there is no way to prove with absolute certainty that our observations and data are correct. It could very well be that what we observe is not correct because our vision is flawed. Our



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