cover picture:An insight is something that is NOT derived from current data; it is not a conclusion one arrives at based on past experience; one sees connections and relations before these are proven to be theoretically correct afterwards. (Pixabay)
The relations among the supporting elements
The nature of insights
Understanding the root of insightful thinking
- Analytic: what the conclusion (the judgment) says is already contained in the initial condition: for example, “when hit by a heavier brick, it hurts more”. The fact that “the brick hurts more” is already contained in the initial condition that the brick is heavier. Analytic judgments are necessarily so: a brick with more mass necessarily hurts more. Therefore there is no new knowledge added to the world with an analytic judgment because the judgment is only a derivation from the initial condition.
- Synthetic: two initially not-connected events are synthesized together into one judgment; example: “the apple falls because there is gravity”. The apple’s falling, in itself, is in no way related to whether there is gravity. That there is gravity is an a priori claim. To recognize that there is a connection (synthesis) between “apple falling” and “there is gravity” and then to make it into one judgment (“the apple falls because there is gravity”) is a synthetic judgment. Synthetic judgment gives new knowledge to the world: these are called synthetic a priori knowledge. Eventually, nothing is randomly connected. The common ground-theory behind “apple falling” and “gravity” is the physics law that there is force of attraction between masses. But to realize there is such a force and to connect “apple falling” with it are synthetic judgments.
- Literally it means “before experience” as opposed to “a posteriori” (a knowledge claim that is based on the evidence of the senses or from experience).
- Note that a posteriori knowledge is not the same as analytic judgment. The latter is necessarily so as what is suggested in the judgment is already contained in the initial condition. But a posteriori knowledge (knowledge derived from experience), by itself, is only empirical knowledge which does not have to be necessarily so. An example for a posteriori knowledge is “the sun rises from the East” because I have observed for the last 100 days that it did that. This knowledge, by itself, is not a necessity, i.e. the Sun DOES NOT HAVE to rise from the East on the 101st day unless this claim is backed up by further scientific findings of some causality relations such as the Earth self-rotates on its axis from West to East.
- A priori claims:
- – Examples of a priori claims are:
The word “insight” or “intuition”:
- This refers to the fact that such a claim (the insight or intuition) is NOT a result of the process of reasoning, meaning it is a synthetic judgment. It is, in theory, a priori in nature meaning the insight is not derived from experience or experiment, needs not to be proven to be true experientially (empirically) though it must be able to stand up to attestation in experience and it is universal/absolute/necessary although this is only confined to the realm of the business involved.
- We usually talk about “scientific intuitions” or “business insights”. While a more experienced person is more likely to be insightful (sees in things the contributing/constituting factors and connections among them), a particular insight itself is NOT a result of enough observations nor is it derived from actual data. Almost all of the new scientific inventions begin with a scientific intuition. A scientific intuition (which would have made itself into a hypothesis by the time testing is pending), if correct, has to be empirically attested and proven to theoretically correct afterwards. A business insight, if right, when things are put into implementation accordingly, has to solve the particular business problem that is given.
- No insight or intuition is empirically derived: that is, insights and intuitions cannot be derived or concluded from existing data, nor is it what one concludes from his past experiences.
- To be insightful is a talent. But the following things will help one come to grip of an insight faster: