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Articulate thinking is the model of rationality, while intuitive thinking is often seen as primitive, “emotional” in a derogatory sense, the only type of thinking of which animals are capable; and so it is articulate thinking that distinguishes human beings from the “lower” animals.
When, many years ago, a judge confessed that his decisions were based largely on hunch, this caused a bit of a scandal; but there is increasing recognition that while judicial opinions, in which the judge explains his decision, are models of articulate thinking, the decision itself—the outcome, the winner—will often come to the judge in a flash.
What is interesting to Gladwell is that the fireman could not immediately explain how he knew to get out.