Phenomenology Online

A Resource for Phenomenological Inquiry

Pathic intuitiveness is a quality of tact.


Intuitive practice is not “blind” or impulsive behavior. But at the same time, practice is intuitive when it is not mediated by something. Intuitive action is marked by a certain im-mediacy, just as intuitive understanding is an immediate grasping of the meaning of a situation. Intuitive practice is pathic in the sense that it allows one to grasp the situation from the other’s point of view. Pathic understanding is experiential understanding; the understanding of the other’s experience.


Though intuitive practice has the quality of immediacy, that does not mean that it is thoughtless. Intuitive action is thoughtful action, action full of thought.


A phenomenology of tactful action may reveal several styles of intuitive practice: from acting in a largely self-forgetful manner to a kind of self-awareness that the the ego maintains with the self. This split awareness manifests itself as a kind of natural schizophrenia whereby one part of the self somehow dialogues with the other part. For example, teachers often say things such as: “part of me wanted to complete the lesson and another part of me knew that I should stop and deal with the concern that had arisen in class.”