• Andrew4Handel
    716
    Do you have to be of above average intelligence to engage seriously with philosophy?

    Does philosophy improve based on the philosophers hypothetical IQ?

    Should philosophy and philosophical debate be made more accessible (without diluting it)?
    Or should it be a highly qualified domain?
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    I prefer philosophy undiluted and esoteric. I do think there are a small minority of people who really do "get it", but it's impossible as a principle to determine who is part of this minority. It's easier to determine who evidently doesn't get it, though.
  • LD Saunders
    314
    So-called leading philosophers have turned out to be apologists for tyranny, like Heidegger, Russell, and Sartre. So much for the claim that studying philosophy seriously makes one immune to adopting idiotic claims. It most definitely does not accomplish any such thing.
  • Baden
    6.8k
    Are we of above Average intelligence?

    Yes. And no.

    Do you have to be of above average intelligence to engage seriously with philosophy?Andrew4Handel

    No. Unless, yes, in which case, yes.

    Does philosophy improve based on the philosophers hypothetical IQ?Andrew4Handel

    Only when it does.

    Should philosophy and philosophical debate be made more accessible (without diluting it)?Andrew4Handel

    Yes. Where appropriate.

    Or should it be a highly qualified domainAndrew4Handel

    Yes. Where appropriate.

    I'm not being facetious by the way. The questions are vague, your purpose in asking them unclear, and your own opinion as a guide to where to take all this, absent. Help us out a bit, please. What is the point?
  • unenlightened
    2.8k
    Other things being equal, more intelligence seems better than less. Unfortunately it is not unusual for folks to be clever dicks; mere intelligence is not enough.
  • Baden
    6.8k
    Unfortunately it is not unusual for folks to be clever dicks; mere intelligence is not enough.unenlightened

    Some of us can't help ourselves sometimes. Anyhow, imagination is key, I think. How exactly that relates to "intelligence" is anyone's guess.
  • fdrake
    1.5k
    I'd guess most of us have at least a high school education. That would probably give a higher IQ than the average, which includes those who did not complete high school. Is it a detectable difference in an ideal world where there is data on all regular posters? Is IQ an appropriate measure for philosophical merit? Maybe, but we don't have any data and no, definitely not.
  • All sight
    241
    I don't know that there is any disadvantage to intelligence, besides being less able to relate, and less interested in others. When just the level and quality of information differs so greatly (which is precisely what is tested for to establish intelligence differentials), then communication becomes much more difficult. Or rather, you may enjoy being the correct and correcting one 90% of the time, and they may enjoy being the wrong and corrected one 90% of the time, the relationship dynamic is still too unequal for significant intimacy.

    It's true that one can be the smartest person in the world, and still spend 0% time perfecting their characters, but all things being equal, and both spending similar time perfecting characters, and the more intelligent person would develop quicker. More than that, if character actually is important, matters and relates to understandable wisdom and truth, one would think that the more intelligent person would appreciate this more often and more fully than the less intelligent person.

    This pans out with criminal statistics, the average intelligence of career criminals is low, and the average intelligence of violent criminals is low. I would think that lower intelligence correlates with anti-social activity, and higher intelligence with pro-social activity, though of course not necessarily.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    I would think that lower intelligence correlates with anti-social activity, and higher intelligence with pro-social activity, though of course not necessarily.All sight

    Right -- not necessarily.

    Very intelligent people don't compete with morons in street crime, holding up convenience stores and shooting the clerk, or purse snatching, etc. They run much more complex rackets, like Enron, FaceBook, Bernard Madoff, the White House, etc.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    Do you have to be of above average intelligence to engage seriously with philosophy?Andrew4Handel

    What you need are good reading skills (comprehension, memory, ability to consolidate learning, etc). One needs to have received at least a solid high school education where one learned and practiced these and other skills, like math, science, history, etc. More education is better, up to a point--probaby BA. In order to receive a good high school and college education one also needs critical thinking skills. These can be learned.

    Does philosophy improve based on the philosophers hypothetical IQ?Andrew4Handel

    Probably -- bright people are generally better at sustained complex and abstract thinking. Intelligence alone is not that helpful. What is really helpful is good education, wide reading, talk with other people, free expression of ideas, and so on. The guys in the cave looking at the shadows on the wall may have been geniuses, but their sources of information were very limited.

    Should philosophy and philosophical debate be made more accessible (without diluting it)? Or should it be a highly qualified domain?Andrew4Handel

    It depends on what you want to achieve. If you want to interest the average reasonably well educated person (good high school education) in philosophy, then one is well advised to put the hay down where the goats can get at it. Goldilocks and the Three Bears can be told in very difficultabstruse, multisyllabic language which few will understand. One might do that as a joke.

    Academics are especially likely to confuse "dilution" or "dumbing down" with clear understandable language.

    People think, write, hear, read, and speak with somewhat different vocabularies. What seems clear in our heads may not be clear at all when we speak or write it. Most reasonably well educated people, push comes to shove, prefer to read clear, plain prose without a lot of decorative jargon. Clear, graceful, readily apprehended prose isn't genetic -- people have to learn how to write it.

    There are fields and areas of fields where technical terms are necessary. To a doctor, "a lump" isn't equivalent to a "gastrointestinal stomal tumor". On the other hand, a fever is a fever to patient and doctor alike.

    One has to decide just how much technical terminology is necessary in one's philosophy writing.
  • Marcus de Brun
    450


    Do you have to be of above average intelligence to engage seriously with philosophy?

    No, stupid people engage in Philosophy with the greatest enthusiasm. To engage seriously with philosophy one needs to have the capacity for independent thinking (a rarity), a love of honesty, a sense of humor, and a respect for wiser more erudite minds, this necessarily entails reading the masters.

    Does philosophy improve based on the philosophers hypothetical IQ?
    IQ is meaningless unless associated with erudition and kindness.

    Should philosophy and philosophical debate be made more accessible (without diluting it)?
    Or should it be a highly qualified domain?

    Not really, the internet and open forums such as this make philosophy totally accessible. Deep thinkers tend to converse with deep thinkers and mostly ignore the fools who tend to ignore or insult the deep thinkers.... thats the way of the world and philosophy is no exception.
  • S
    6.2k
    So-called leading philosophers have turned out to be apologists for tyranny, like Heidegger, Russell, and Sartre.LD Saunders

    It's an affront to lump Russell in with Heidegger and accuse him of being an apologist for tyranny. Heidegger joined the Nazi party, and remained a member until the end of the war. Russell was a pacifist. Yes, the latter supported appeasement - he had lived through the horror of the first world war, and wanted to avoid, at great effort, a repeat of it - but he changed his mind at an early stage of the war.

    Do you have to be of above average intelligence to engage seriously with philosophy?Andrew4Handel

    No.

    Does philosophy improve based on the philosophers hypothetical IQ?Andrew4Handel

    Not necessarily.

    Should philosophy and philosophical debate be made more accessible (without diluting it)?
    Or should it be a highly qualified domain?
    Andrew4Handel

    The former. On second thought, yes, where appropriate. @Baden :up:
  • Andrew4Handel
    716
    To engage seriously with philosophy one needs to have the capacity for independent thinkingMarcus de Brun

    Why doesn't philosophy cause independent thinking?
  • Jake
    780
    I think each of us has our own particular blend of smart and stupid. Being good at philosophy just means we have a knack for processing abstractions, and perhaps a knack for writing, and doesn't necessarily say anything about our overall intelligence. It seems that people who are especially gifted in one direction tend to make up for that by being especially dense in other directions.

    My wife couldn't write a philosophy post to save her life. But then, she figured out that writing philosophy posts is a silly waste of time about 50 years ago, and I'm still working on catching up, and will probably never get there.

    If you looked at her writing next to mine you would conclude that I'm the better philosopher. If you looked at her life next to mine you would come to the opposite conclusion. :smile:
  • Baden
    6.8k
    If you looked at her writing next to mine you would conclude that I'm the better philosopher. If you looked at her life next to mine you would come to the opposite conclusion. :smile:Jake

    :grin:
  • Pattern-chaser
    531
    Do you have to be of above average intelligence to engage seriously with philosophy?Andrew4Handel

    I don't think so, no.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    Why doesn't philosophy cause independent thinking?Andrew4Handel

    How would philosophy "cause" independent thinking?

    So much of what we are starts long before we get to the stage of philosophizing about it. Some children are explorers, independent thinkers, experimenters, etc. and others are not. When adventurous independent children get around to philosophy, they probably will be more independent thinkers than very cautious, risk-averse children.

    Why is it that some people think nothing of traveling to a distant place they have never been to, and other people are nervous when they leave their familiar neighborhood? These are deeply rooted personality traits.

    We see people here who are quite willing to climb out on a philosophical limb and others who stay pretty close to the trunk. Risk averse people play it safe. They may be boring, but they are happy that way. Risk tolerant people like to feel an adrenaline rush, every now and then. They have unfortunate accidents more often than others, but they were happy that way.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    Does philosophy improve based on the philosophers hypothetical IQ?Andrew4Handel

    Insufficient data.
  • Andrew4Handel
    716
    How would philosophy "cause" independent thinking?Bitter Crank

    Because that is its fundamental methodology.

    I don't see how philosophy can develop from parroting other peoples ideas and indeed that is responsible for the stagnation of philosophy.

    Adhering mindlessly or subserviently to someone else's philosophy is not being a philosopher. You have to critically examine ideas for their substance and validity.
  • Andrew4Handel
    716
    So-called leading philosophers have turned out to be apologists for tyranny, like Heidegger, Russell, and Sartre. So much for the claim that studying philosophy seriously makes one immune to adopting idiotic claims. It most definitely does not accomplish any such thingLD Saunders

    What conclusion a person draws from philosophy is problematic. Some peoples philosophising leads them to dark conclusions. I don't know if the most famous philosophers are necessarily representative of philosophy although they may reflect its major paradigms.
  • Pattern-chaser
    531
    How would philosophy "cause" independent thinking? — Bitter Crank


    Because that is its fundamental methodology.

    I don't see how philosophy can develop from parroting other peoples ideas and indeed that is responsible for the stagnation of philosophy.

    Adhering mindlessly or subserviently to someone else's philosophy is not being a philosopher. You have to critically examine ideas for their substance and validity.
    Andrew4Handel

    A lot of points in few words. :smile: Let's start on replying to them:

    Does philosophy have a 'methodology', as science does (the scientific method, and so on...)? I don't think so. Unless we want to think of using logic and structured thought as a methodology?

    No, philosophy can't develop if we only parrot the ideas of others. But I don't, and most people here don't either. I don't research my answers using DuckDuckGo, I write from my own understanding, such as it is.

    Oh, and I'm not convinced that philosophy is stagnant or stagnating. General interest in philosophy is low, but it has always been so. Thinking for its own sake is something that few people enjoy. I think that has always been so too.

    So we few do examine our concepts, and think about them, and discuss them, as you recommend. One of the things I have thought about is your introductory quote. Philosophy does not cause independent thinking; independent thinking causes philosophy. Or at least it leads to philosophy, as the means and techniques of structured thought are developed, and maybe recorded on papyrus, or whatever comes to hand. :smile:
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    Adhering mindlessly or subserviently to someone else's philosophy is not being a philosopher. You have to critically examine ideas for their substance and validity.Andrew4Handel

    Indeed. Your first sentence describes a sycophant--not a philosopher.

    I'm all in favor of critically examining ideas for their substance and validity, and this is a task that will fall to those who are inclined to do it.
  • BrianW
    333
    I think philosophy demands a certain degree of mental activity such that, when engaged in correctly, it is inevitable that one's capacity for intellectual acuity receives a boost. I don't think it matters how diluted philosophical teachings are provided they retain their integrity.

    To engage seriously with philosophy one needs to have the capacity for independent thinkingMarcus de Brun
    Philosophy does not cause independent thinking; independent thinking causes philosophy. Or at least it leads to philosophyPattern-chaser

    I like this because it is what philosophers have been accused of over the years. Also, there seems to be a positive correlation between intellectual acuity and the ability to holding one's perspective in relation to that of others; as well as a correlation between idiocy/shallowness and blind dogma or unhealthy dependence on doubtful beliefs.

    General interest in philosophy is low, but it has always been so. Thinking for its own sake is something that few people enjoy. I think that has always been so too.Pattern-chaser

    Is there a way we can make philosophy into a friendlier endeavour for the average guy?

    Other things being equal, more intelligence seems better than less. Unfortunately it is not unusual for folks to be clever dicks; mere intelligence is not enough.unenlightened

    I think the answer to this is: it's not intelligence if not coupled with sympathy. For me, sympathy is what brings out the harmony and understanding in interrelations.

    If you looked at her writing next to mine you would conclude that I'm the better philosopher. If you looked at her life next to mine you would come to the opposite conclusion.Jake

    This has been quite a conundrum for me. What part of philosophy is pure mental exercise and what part is our life discipline?
  • Blue Lux
    588
    Interesting... Nietzsche states that a philosopher must be radically himself, and in this there is a sort of tyranny. But what would be the opposite? A dilettante?
  • Blue Lux
    588
    Just look at Jung with regard to Freud. So so so different, but so so so similar.
  • Jake
    780
    What part of philosophy is pure mental exercise and what part is our life discipline?BrianW

    There appear to be many conflicting definitions of philosophy.

    For some, philosophy is entering the conversations started by famous philosophers, reading their books, trying to understand the ideas presented, offering one's own analysis etc.

    For others, myself included, philosophy is better described as the application of reason to human situations. In this definition, a person who can acquire intellectual fame, but not successfully manage their own household, would not be considered a very good philosopher.

    I've been somewhat obsessed with this distinction since spending recent months exploring sites by academic philosophers. What I found is that academics can excel at analyzing the famous philosophers, but appear to have close to zero interest in nuclear weapons. From my point of view, this makes them successful academics, typically good writers, and piss poor philosophers.

    But it depends on how one defines philosophy.
  • Akanthinos
    1k


    I participated in a brain scanning experiment a few years ago. The cognitive science subdept came and specifically asked for philosophy students as we were consistently scoring the lowest when it came to practical knowledge.

    We may be brighter as a bunch, but its the kind of brightness that still thinks that a ton of feathers is lighter than a ton of lead.
  • Blue Lux
    588
    Jung thought extensively on nuclear war. Perhaps you are not looking deep enough into philosophers.

    He said psyche is the great danger.
  • Andrew4Handel
    716
    General interest in philosophy is low, but it has always been soPattern-chaser

    Is that because it is hard?

    When I started the thread I was just thinking to myself how it is a bit absurd to engage in some of these abstract arguments and to be reading random internet resources with obscure references.

    Then I thought maybe this is what intelligent people do. Obscure analysis, obscure arguments, obscure facts. Their brain taking them down strange paths.

    It seems problematic if people can't engage with sophisticated arguments and instead rely on pop philosophers spoon-feeding them diluted versions of ideas and conflating a lifestyle philosophy over the hard graft of rigorous thought.
  • Akanthinos
    1k
    Is that because it is hard?Andrew4Handel

    It's rather because it is not urgent, nor particularly useful. And it is rather easy to subsume any "act" of philosophy under another domain.
  • Jake
    780
    Jung thought extensively on nuclear war.Blue Lux

    I don't dispute the subject has been addressed here and there, that's true. The larger reality is that the vast majority of philosophers (professional and amateur) the vast majority of the time have pretty much no interest in the subject at all. I'm proposing that addressing the primary threat to human civilization only here and there now and again is not rational. It is instead literally insane. Insane. Literally insane. Not super smart savvy analytical intellectual blah blah blah, but insane.

    Thus, if we were to judge philosophy as a whole to be a rational exercise, we would have to narrowly define philosophy as the study of the famous philosophers etc. If we were to define philosophy as the application of reason to human situations, very few people claiming to be philosophers would qualify as rational by that definition.

    Perhaps you are not looking deep enough into philosophers.Blue Lux

    The problem is instead that I've examined enough philosophy to see through the self flattering poses that the philosophy community is trying to sell itself. And for me personally, the problem is that I'm stupid enough to think that anything I might write on the subject will have any effect on anybody. So, we are brothers in irrationality.
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