[ in-too-ish-uh-niz-uhm, -tyoo- ]
See synonyms for intuitionism on
  1. Ethics. the doctrine that moral values and duties can be discerned directly.

  2. Metaphysics.

    • the doctrine that in perception external objects are given immediately, without the intervention of a representative idea.

    • the doctrine that knowledge rests upon axiomatic truths discerned directly.

  1. Logic, Mathematics. the doctrine, propounded by L. E. J. Brouwer, that a mathematical object is considered to exist only if a method for constructing it can be given.

Origin of intuitionism

First recorded in 1840–50; intuition + -ism

Other words from intuitionism

  • in·tu·i·tion·ist, noun, adjective

Words Nearby intuitionism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use intuitionism in a sentence

  • We find him quoted with approval by Clarke, who is commonly taken to represent intuitionism in an extreme form.

    The Methods of Ethics | Henry Sidgwick
  • On this view, which I may distinguish as sthetic intuitionism, I shall have something to say hereafter.

    The Methods of Ethics | Henry Sidgwick
  • The wider of the two meanings of Intuition here distinguished is required in treating of Philosophical intuitionism.

    The Methods of Ethics | Henry Sidgwick
  • Dewey's criticism of intuitionism scarcely does justice to that method, whatever may be its inherent weakness.

    John Dewey's logical theory | Delton Thomas Howard
  • It attempts thus to supplant both egoism and intuitionism by the same doctrine of the organic union between individuals.

    On the Ethics of Naturalism | William Ritchie Sorley

British Dictionary definitions for intuitionism



/ (ˌɪntjʊˈɪʃəˌnɪzəm) /

  1. (in ethics)

    • the doctrine that there are moral truths discoverable by intuition

    • the doctrine that there is no single principle by which to resolve conflicts between intuited moral rules: See also deontological

  2. philosophy the theory that general terms are used of a variety of objects in accordance with perceived similarities: Compare nominalism, Platonism

  1. logic the doctrine that logical axioms rest on prior intuitions concerning time, negation, and provability

    • the theory that mathematics cannot intelligibly comprehend the properties of infinite sets, and that only what can be shown to be provable can be justifiably asserted

    • the reconstruction of mathematics or logic in accordance with this view: Compare formalism, logicism, finitism

  2. the doctrine that knowledge, esp of the external world, is acquired by intuition

Derived forms of intuitionism

  • intuitionist or intuitionalist, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012