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Philosophy on LJ
DISCURSIVE INTELLECT VS. INTUITIVE INTELLECT 
5th-Jul-2005 08:23 pm
mercury
An intuitive intellect is thought to grasp objects immediately without the need for conceptualization and without the need of being affected by an object. For this reason it is thought as an archetypal or creative rather than echtypal intellect: it literally creates its object in the act of intuition. As contrasted with man's form of knowledge, which requires conceptualization and the givenness of an object, the intuitive intellect is the kind of cognition generally thought to pertain to God.

Although Kant regards this conception of an intuitive intellect as merely problematic, he uses it as a heuristic device by means of which to underline the characteristics of the human, discursive intellect. Since discursive knowledge is not the only logically possible form of cognition, he can use its opposite as a means of emphasizing the difference in perspective between transcendental idealism and transcendental realism.

Indeed, one can argue that this idea of an intuitive intellect, closely related to the theocentric model of knowledge, is implicit in all forms of transcendental realism as its normative model. For example, when the transcendental realist regards sensation and sensation alone, without any conceptualization, as the ultimate source of knowledge, he treats our sensibility as if it presented its object already determined, as if it were a form of intellectual intuition. Likewise, rationalists appeal to a form of intuition that can be characterized as explicitly intellectual, e.g., Spinoza's scientia intuitiva.

The wedge Kant drives between our discursive intellect and the problematic intuitive intellect allows him to highlight the differences between transcendentally realistic and transcendentally idealistic epistemologies. Against the empiricists he asserts the need of conceptualization in human knowledge; against the rationalists he asserts the need of sensation.
Comments 
6th-Jul-2005 04:19 pm (UTC)
I don't see what the panic attack is about. This isn't the first time I've talked about the Kantian idea of intuition.

The point here is that an intellectual intuition is an immediate relation to an object by means of an intellectual capacity. But intellection is spontaneity, not reception. This means that in an act of intellectual intuition, the act of thinking gives the object to itself in and through the act of thinking. But this is just the same thing as creating the object ex nihilo. If you create an object ex nihilo and immediately through thought, then consciousness is not being affected by the object; rather, it's creating the object just by thinking about it. This is the kind of intellect normally attributed to God.

Now this doesn't mean that we have to accept that such an intellect really exists. Kant uses the idea of an intuitive intellect to illustrate that other forms of cognition are at least logically possible. This helps him to show the difference between our own intellect, which is discursive, and the kind of intellect which is not discursive but rather intuitive.

Why does he use the intuitive intellect to draw this difference? Because transcendental realism, at least implicitly, is committed to the idea of an intuitive intellect as a normative standard. You asked some time back if I could provide a critique of empiricism. Well, here it is. Empiricism claims that sensation is the sole source of our knowledge. Rationalists claim that the intellect is the sole source of our knowledge. Kant's move is to say that there are two sources of cognition that must always work together: intellection and sensation. When we treat one or the other as the sole source of cognition, we transform that source into a kind of intellectual intuition. This is what I addressed in the last two paragraphs of the original post.
20th-Apr-2006 10:01 am (UTC) - echtypal
Echtypal? The usual spelling is ectypal. There are 10,000 hits on google when I type in ectypal. When I put in the 'h', your livejournal comes up, together with two others, both of which are overtly Christian and one of which uses BOTH spellings!

Did you get it from a translation of Kant? From the original German? Did you make it up? Where does it come from, echtypal? It looks like a conflation of ectypal and the German word echt, real or geniune.

Cheers!
Nick
20th-Apr-2006 01:03 pm (UTC) - Re: echtypal
Norman Kemp Smith records it as "ectypal." Maybe I read it as "echtypal" somewhere else, or maybe I just misspelled it. I don't know, it was awhile ago.

You went back to a post I wrote almost a year ago to correct my spelling? Well, whatever.
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