What is Intuitionism, Intuitionism, Bergsonism?

What is Intuitionism, Intuitionism, Bergsonism?

June 28, 2021 Off By Felso

It is possible to answer the question of what is intuitionism or intuitionism as follows: The view that sees the source of knowledge as intuition, puts intuition ahead of reason and makes intuition the basis of philosophical knowledge is called intuitionism or intuitionism.

Intuition; The sudden opening of something means that a link is found or caught directly without an intermediary. For example, a medical doctor wants to diagnose his patient, examines his patient, makes analyzes on him, keeps him under control for days; but one thing is missing in reaching the diagnosis: instant capture. This is what’s called intuition. According to intuitionists, humans have a natural ability to acquire knowledge. At the root of this ability is intuition.

Intuitionists think that reason and experience limit knowledge. For this reason, they accept the criterion of knowledge as intuition, which they consider superior to reason; because intuition sees and grasps without intermediary. Knowledge of the truth is possible only with a momentary intuition.


Intuitionism, as a philosophical concept, is a philosophy movement that gives intuition both priority and superiority over reason, mind and abstract thinking. Henri Bergson is the founder of the movement, so it is sometimes called Bergsonism in the history of philosophy.

According to intuitionism, the source and basis of knowledge, especially philosophical knowledge, is intuition. What is important here is the content of the concept of intuition.

In a philosophical sense, intuition is used to mean a kind of opening, being discovered directly and being grasped immediately and unmediated. Accordingly, the knowledge that gives us the entities as they are is intuition.

In Bergson, this concept is stated as the ability to grasp reality directly, in a more special sense, and is considered to be composed of a kind of synthesis of perceptions and mind. In Bergson, self-conscious instincts are considered intuition and this concept is placed at the center of philosophy.

Intuitionism is seen in Imam Ghazali, one of the important names in medieval philosophy, and in Henri Bergson’s philosophy as a reaction against Hegelian overly systematic and abstract philosophies in 19th century philosophy (See: What is Hegelianism?).

The main thesis of these philosophies is that reality is grasped at once and completely by intuition, and knowledge based on reason can never be complete and certain. Thus, there is an opposition to both rationalism and materialism.

Henry Bergson

In the history of philosophy, the problems raised about the source of knowledge and the comprehension of the truth have gained the character of a system and led to the emergence of breakthroughs connected to different thinking methods.

The epochs claiming that knowledge is data provided by the senses are usually materialism, empiricism, and the teachings attached to them. The movements that claim that knowledge is not formed by the senses but only by the ability to think are also gathered under the name of idealism.

The methods that these currents of thought put forward about knowledge have two main sources: the nature lived in and perceived by the senses, and the intelligence and understanding ability, which is said to have productive and creative qualities in man. In the first, the weight was given to nature, in the second, to the ability to think, and many teachings were born from both ways of thinking.

Intuitio developed by Bergson is a third method in this context. This method has been used before in solving problems related to mathematics and has been described as a cognitive ability independent of the rules of reason.

In the history of science, Archimedes’ invention is cited as the first example of an introversion. The case that solved the problem that an object immersed in water loses its own weight by the weight of the water it displaces, and why the object remained on the surface of the water without sinking, was clarified as a result of an intuition arising from the experiment. This phenomenon has been described as “scientific intuition”.

It is intuition that the thinker, who concentrates his thinking ability on a certain subject, gains the data that will enlighten the result that he could not obtain through experimentation in an unexpected period of time. Bergson’s intuitionism also has a scientific quality at work, especially in relation to psychology. It is based on obtaining data that facilitates the solution of a thought problem.

Imam Ghazali is the representative of the intuitionism movement in Islamic philosophy.

In earlier times, especially in theology, “intuition” was described as a divine warning, a divine light. In Christian theologians from Augustine to Thomas Aquinas, intuition associated with faith was more important than the grasp of truth. In Islamic mysticism, especially in the teachings stemming from Neo-Platonism, the comprehension of the truth could be achieved with innate intuition.

In al-Ghazali, intuition is an ability that God gives knowledge and wisdom to man. According to Şahabeddin Sühreverdi, intuition is an intuition to grasp divine truths. To acquire such a talent, one must turn with one’s whole heart to God, to the supreme truth.