Intuition: immediate apprehension by the mind without reasoning.
Empiricism: the theory that all knowledge is derived from sense-experience.
Reasoning: Coming to an understanding or conclusion through logical argument.
Your “inner voice, a “gut feeling”, a “hunch.” People use these terms to describe what many of us understand as intuition. Many of us are skeptical of our “gut feelings” because they are less tangible than empirical observation (what we see, hear etc…) and reason. We cannot explicitly explain these feelings but they are an integral part of of keeping us safe.
Here are some examples of our intuition at work.
*You are about to get on an elevator occupied by a lone man leaning against the wall. There is no evidence that he is dangerous (e.g. he looks civil, is calm in demeanor) but something makes you wary. There is something “off” about him. Don’t get on the elevator. Catch the next one.
*You are in a crowded pub and you feel someone is watching you. You look in a particular direction, see a person staring at you then averting your gaze as you look at him. How did you know?
Sometimes we dismiss such feeling as being paranoid or cynical. We prefer the tangible, the observable. “He yelled at me.” “He reached in his pocket as he approached me.” “He made a fist.” Of course, our powers of observation can help us foresee dangerous situations but they don’t have to be our only source of awareness and prevention.
Our hunches are not always right but there is mounting evidence that our intuition is often quite accurate.
Err on the side of caution. Listen to “your gut.”