FOM: Re. intuitionism, Tennant, McLarty, et al

Neil Tennant neilt at
Tue Sep 15 14:27:44 EDT 1998

The difference between having some sort of unitary intuition, conceived as a non-discursive entity, on the one hand, and only a "sort of hearsay", on the other, is that at least in the case of hearsay one can go to the source for what is really supposed 
to have been said!
Nothing analogous to this would be possible in the case of the unitary

What is peculiar about this brand of intuitionism is that it does not do any justice at all to the slow but extensive accumulation of steps so characteristic
of mathematical reasoning. The build-up of lemmata, theorems and corollaries, 
and the deeply felt psychological need, as well as strategic need, to interpolate deductive "stepping stones" on the way to a difficult result, speaks strongly against the conception of one's conviction in what is proved as residing in
some "flash-grasped" unitary intuition.

It can't even be a hangover from Cartesian "clear light of reason". Even Cartesian seeing-in-the-clear-light-of-reason is allowed to be discursive, is it not?

Any help in understanding this "unitary intuition" conception would be useful.

Neil Tennant

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