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intuition and reliabilism
october 24, 2011

A sense of something, a feeling for something....We might say: “a feeling of something,” but we don’t say “a sense for something.” One might, but then the listener has to strain to translate that. All feeling is a sense of something, but not all sense (which may be semantic or somatic) is feeling. This is interesting: ambiguities of sense. Feeling informs meaning; meaning translates feeling. Meaning informs feeling? Feeling translates meaning? Feeling “frames” meaning; meaning frames feeling. Which when? An experience—the time, the moment of experiencing—is always proximally backgrounded by fusions of sensibility showing as something itself, as if it’s not subject to one’s sense of things—or, more usually, one’s quite aware of the difference between one’s sense of something and the thing itself, but ambiguously, anxiously, ambivalently, enchantedly, etc.

“I know these things” is always at risk of being pretentious. The better that one has lived with this, the more reliable one’s sensibility, thus intuition. Yet, intuition is never (wisely understood) a basis for new knowing, rather a basis for confidence in a plausibility that can guide near-term establishing of confidence enough to make (risk?) a decision or to go on some way definitely (but never unquestionably).

Inasmuch as I can trust my intuition—not only feeling well-guided by my feeling for things, but being all in all well-guided by my experience—I’m giving way to dispositions reliably in orientations of my action. I’m enactively confident of myself thanks to experience, education, and development—experience and development, development and education, experience and education, education and further development, further experience—an individuated identity of mind of that individuation. A selfidentical mind is an ontogenic organon, never basically the synchronic identity that some philosophers of mind equate with a convenient bricolage of mental states (as if a mentality is all that is a mind). Wholly temporal resonance of any feeling for something (or feeling phenomenal resonance) may imply one’s selfidentical inworldness or lifeworldliness, as if a matter is vital. Heartfulness of mind, mindality, may be mirrored in what’s there being. (I may seem to lack focus here, but so it goes with circumspectiveness. Just you wait....)

So, there can easily be long discourses on intuition, its “nature” and elusive reliability. But there is reliability, the more so as one is specific about what can be reliable, a relativity of what reliability can be.

When one can trust intuition to some degree, relative to something, some context, some domain, what’s the nature of that trust? Some sense of this kind of question is integral to personal counseling, yet a feeling for this can be a philosophical career: conceptual analysis of epistemic issues gravitating around “intuition” and relations of epistemic reliabilism. Psychologists and philosophers read each other in the development of careers or the formation of inquiries, and everyone reads experience, especially the experience of exemplars through “the literature.” What’s an excellent basis for a good reading of experience? What makes one reading better than another?

Conceptual adventuring is so lovely. What is “in fact” the case, relative to something? Something always precedes any question of fact, because the fact of the matter presumes the matter at hand. So, what’s the matter that can be factual? Factuality (once established) is about something pre-factual, but already existent—something [merely] represented for a factual establishment. Facts never comprehend the thing; rather, representations (which can be questionable only relative to there being something in any case) express selective attention: expressing what matters in a certainly-reliable way. The fact of the matter is a certainly-reliable representation of a state of affairs, i.e., a de-temporalized phenomenon. (Or, for dynamic or temporal character, a narrative is made—“The way it happened was....” certainly what was happening).

So, affairs can be brought to state, times brought to still life.

What really happened between them? We can’t say. But there’s a story for sure.

Days go by in largely-nebulous phenomenality with its rhetoric of confidences. Economies are, in a way, confidence games of inestimable complexity, like an emergent effect of Brownian motion in the dispersal of cremer in my coffee, time-laspse representation of clouds living through the day, trends gaining salience, then waning, eras landscaping lives (then gone, easily forgotten), Eras topologizing nations—all matters of mind, one way or another.

Why one note rather than another partly composes a background schema through which I write is a mystery, proximally—why one association rather than another?—as, in the wake of whatever, I’m a little amazed at the path I took through my little pointillism of strings. But I know these things drawn to each other in a large way (like Christo gaming a phenomenal topography) I compose through which I challenge myself to sensibly be transported (as I please).

To wit: Months ago, while reading To Follow, I noted “on trust/believing in the other: 84b-85t” (bottom to top) which eventually became a note for use next here (among strings scheming today’s plot). Facing that now (now), I see it doesn’t fit here—like meeting someone I so thought I’d want to meet again there, but no. Rain check.

What fits is the theme of trust as “believing in”: confident intuition or reliabilism about “knowing” another—or knowing some thing as if it speaks to me, like an actually-interpersonal time. “Good faith” toward others is (should be) one’s default stance of sensibility. “It’ll grow well, I know it.” So, what is “faith”? It is a trust kindred with saying “I believe in....” I feel to have “good” reason to trust because “of” whom you are (fruit tree).

Next: section 3 of “feeling for the ‘thing’.”


  Be fair. © 2017, gary e. davis