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The underpinnings of intuition

Dörfler, Viktor and Stierand, Marc (2017) The underpinnings of intuition. In: Intuition, Trust, and Analytics. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. ISBN 9781351764407

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Understanding intuition puzzled many researchers. Only philosophers were feeling comfortable to think about intuition not only as a legitimate but also as a possibly superior form of knowledge (see e.g. Bergson, 1911, 1946; Jung, 1921: §770; Spinoza, 1677: Part 5). It was thus during this early stage of intuition research, that philosophy provided the basis for one of the most fundamental claims in the human studies: if we were to fully understand human consciousness, we must also understand intuition. In fact, as David Chalmers (1998: 110) argues, intuition is ‘the very raison d’être’ why we know so little about human consciousness. Thus, psychologists started to develop the so called ‘dual process theories’ that later also found recognition within management and organization research. Although intuition has thus found its way into mainstream research, we cannot say that we have a widespread agreement about some fundamentals of intuition, i.e. whether it can be ultimately reduced to firings of neurons, should it be regarded as a complex mental phenomenon, or whether we should regard it as something mystical. Of course, in this intuition is not fundamentally different from other mental phenomena, only due to its peculiar characteristics discussed below, the possibility of looking at it in different lights is more apparent. However, we believe that this lack of agreement will not prevent scholarly attempts to understand intuition better. And, for now at least, researchers with very different 2 beliefs seem to be able to build on one another’s results and work together in the joint endeavor to catch the essence of this particularly interesting and beautiful mental phenomenon.