Rene Descartes and the Intuition MethodJune 27, 2021
Descartes says, “The mental seeing or understanding of a clearness that leaves no room for doubt is intuition.” Through intuition, we come to understand or grasp not only clear ideas, but also certain truths about reality.
For example, truths belonging to the realm of reality, such as “I think” or “I am”, are intuitive truths. These truths are simple, fundamental, and irreducible. Such truths become intuitive truths if we can move from one truth to another unmediatedly and abruptly. For example; It’s like “two things that are equal to one thing are also equal to each other”. Here, axioms and postulates in mathematics, in other words initial propositions, are truths whose truth is known intuitively. In that case, it is necessary to reach such intuitive truths in philosophy first.
According to Descartes, the mental perception of clarity and clarity that leaves no room for doubt is intuition, and the initial propositions in mathematics are truths whose truth is known intuitively. Philosophy, too, needs such self-explanatory initial propositions.
Their correctness comes from the fact that they can be given to the mind clearly and distinctly, without mediation. So, according to Descartes, the criterion of truth is clarity and distinctness. It is certain that the truth of a concluding statement comes from the truth of the premises. In contrast, where does the truth of premises known intuitively come from? Descartes’ answer is: it comes from the fact that these premises can be grasped completely and distinctly in our minds.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook