Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Philthy Philosophers" Group Presentation Contributions - Section 8 Group 3

Philthy Philosophers, we've made this post in order for the five of us to post our 250 word contributions for the Group Presentations, scheduled for February 26.


  1. Our group chose the topic of intelligence. The sub topic I chose to discuss was knowledge by description. This form of intelligence is primarily based on a person's ability to recall and think about objects in the physical world. Although this form of knowledge is its own separate entity, it co insides with knowledge by acquaintance (which involves someone becoming directly acquainted with an object through our senses) and helps us to retain information and attach meaning to the world around us. The first way is to imagine the tallest man in the world. You know that the concepts of being the tallest, being a man, and being alive are graspable and therefore help us to form a belief even without having ever met them. http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/247519/sultan-kosen-worlds-tallest-man.jpg The next way is almost synonymous with the first, but is equally important. This states that knowledge by description is inferentially dependent upon knowledge by acquaintance. So for example, you see someone drinking out of a cup. The cup is steaming, smells like roasted coffee beans, and either has a dark or caramel color, you can infer they are having a cup of coffee and furthermore can retain that information as knowledge which then can be constructed into a description to apply in the physical world.

  2. The ability to take control of your mind, analyze your surroundings, and question the things around you are a mark of being truly intelligent. We tend to go into autopilot doing our daily responsibilities, looking ahead to the next task instead of focusing on what we are currently doing. David Foster Wallace gave a commencement speech to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College where he focuses on that ability to be free and choose how we think instead of being a slave to our own minds. As the saying goes, “the mind is a great servant, but a terrible master.” We have to take control of our thoughts and make our minds work for us instead of the other way around. Wallace noted that it’s no coincidence that individuals who commit suicide by firearms, tend to shoot themselves in the head, or “the terrible master.” If we let our thoughts go in autopilot instead of analyzing things in the moment, our minds can take us to an aggressive, self-centered, and often times dark frame of mind. Not only do we need to control our thinking, but we need to question reality as well. That doesn’t mean going as extreme of a skeptic as Pyrrho, but a moderate amount of skepticism is a great start to being considered intelligent. It’s not necessary to have all the answers, but we do have to be open to all possibilities and assist in the search for the truth. Above all else, you have to be open to being wrong, because without self-discovery in the face of a mistake, society would still be stuck in the dark ages.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lu2e-q8ntM

  3. How do we truly measure intelligence? Throughout our presentation, we will be discussing various qualities that we believe can be utilized to potentially quantify intelligence. The ability to recognize patterns and act upon recognition of those patterns in the future is one such quality. The ability to question and form opinions based upon these questions is another such quality. As well as these qualities by which we may possibly measure intelligence, we will also present a few methods by which we may acquire intelligence. One method is described as acquisition of knowledge by description, while another is described as knowledge by acquaintance. However, before we present these discussions, I would like to pose the simple question, “What is Intelligence?”
    A dictionary may define intelligence as, “One’s capacity for logic”, “The ability to learn and understand” or even “The ability to be self-aware.” A fair assumption might be that we, as human beings, consider ourselves to be intelligent. But is intelligence relative from human to human, or organism to organism? Is intelligence relative from species to species? For example, a dog can be trained to recognize patterns, such as when it may hear the sound of its owner carrying a leash and then meets the owner at the door to go outside. By the standard of pattern recognition, this dog may be considered intelligent. But can this animal communicate through verbal or written language like a human being? If a human being cannot speak or write, others may perceive this person as "unintelligent". Should we change our standards of intelligence based on species, or should we immediately label any organism that has a lesser mental capacity than a human being that may be considered unintelligent as unintelligent itself?
    In my opinion, we should consider intelligence specific to the species in question. Multiple animals display traits we use to quantify human intelligence, and therefore, it seems undeniable that human beings are not the only intelligent beings. With this theory in mind, I would classify intelligence as the ability to use one’s decision-making skills in order to react to situations and other stimuli. However, the “level” of the organism’s intelligence should remain relative to the intelligence of other organisms within the species.