Subject: Intuitive
From: dski -at- CAMEONET -dot- CAMEO -dot- COM -dot- TW
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 21:09:10 +0800

John Ahlstrom in news:199701302259 -dot- OAA24452 -at- swing -dot- cisco -dot- com, and Mike Wing in
news:c=US%a=_%p=INTERGRAPH%l=HQ16-970131002810Z-21691 -at- hq15 -dot- pcmail -dot- ingr -dot- com,
discussed the word _intuitive_.

_Intuitive_ was a seldom-used word before marketing types got hold of it.
The word _intuition_, however, has long been commonly used to denote a
feeling or realization that comes unbidden, without conscious reasoning, and
"in a flash." To know something by intuition is to know it without being
told, without having to think about it, and without having to "sleep on it."

It is because of these associations that marketing people latched onto the
word _intuitive_. John Ahlstrom's point is that the things now being called
"intuitive" are not intuitive in the accepted (and verifiable) pre-Apple/
Microsoft sense of the word, but familiar because of long exposure (and, in
many cases, because of what can only be called imprinting). They might be
easy to learn, but they are not what the word _intuitive_ implies, nor are
they what the dictionary says _intuitive_ means, not by any stretch of the

The word for figuring something out on the basis of knowledge of another
thing is _inference_, not _intuition_.

John is right. The computer industry calls that which is familiar
"intuitive," and this is a carefully crafted lie. I remember what
_intuitive_ means, perhaps because I have lived abroad for eighteen years
and have never seen an Apple or Microsoft commercial (and perhaps because
I learned just enough about computers to find certain supposedly non-
"intuitive" things self-evident shortly before GUIs hit the shelves). I
think I'm lucky, and I salute John Ahlstrom for his insight.

Dan Strychalski
dski -at- cameonet -dot- cameo -dot- com -dot- tw

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