Welcome to the eleventh post in our Sententia Discussion series! Please engage in the discussion below the post. For a reminder of what the Sententia Discussion series is, and how it’s supposed to work, see this post. Remember, discussion topics will be posted on the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

Background

Many people speak of making decisions by instinct, or of “gut feelings.” Without getting into the conversation of nature versus nurture, human instinct is a peculiar thing, something in which many people place a great amount of faith, but most people don’t even fully understand the difference between instinct and intuition. Instinct is something that is fundamental to a creature’s biological makeup, while intuition is the result of the brain’s complexity leading to the synthesis of a solution without presenting in detail all of the steps it took to reach that result.

Prompt

Can people truly have instincts, in the way that animals appear to, or are our instincts simply a subconscious compilation of the data into a certain sense – that is, intuition?

Are instincts something independent? How do they arise?

For that matter, do animals have instincts? Can behaviors be imprinted fundamentally to a biology (say, through genetics), or are “instincts” just the most common outcome for a given set of stimuli?

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