Insight

Insight is the understanding of a specific cause and effect in a specific context. The term insight can have several related meanings:

  • a piece of information
  • the act or result of understanding the inner nature of things or of seeing intuitively in Greek called noesis
  • an introspection
  • the power of acute observation and deduction, penetration, discernment, perception called intellection or noesis
  • an understanding of cause and effect based on identification of relationships and behaviors within a model, context, or scenario (see artificial intelligence)

An insight that manifests itself suddenly, such as understanding how to solve a difficult problem, is sometimes called by the German word Aha-Erlebnis. The term was coined by the German psychologist and theoretical linguist Karl Bühler. It is also known as an epiphany.

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Famous quotes containing the word insight:

    While it may not heighten our sympathy, wit widens our horizons by its flashes, revealing remote hidden affiliations and drawing laughter from far afield; humor, in contrast, strikes up fellow feeling, and though it does not leap so much across time and space, enriches our insight into the universal in familiar things, lending it a local habitation and a name.
    —Marie Collins Swabey. Comic Laughter, ch. 5, Yale University Press (1961)

    Ages when custom is unsettled are necessarily ages of prophecy. The moralist cannot teach what is revealed; he must reveal what can be taught. He has to seek insight rather than to preach.
    Walter Lippmann (1889–1974)

    To the artist is sometimes granted a sudden, transient insight which serves in this matter for experience. A flash, and where previously the brain held a dead fact, the soul grasps a living truth! At moments we are all artists.
    Arnold Bennett (1867–1931)