RE: On wisdom

From: Smigrodzki, Rafal (
Date: Tue Jun 18 2002 - 12:05:41 MDT

Samantha Atkins [] wrote:

Smigrodzki, Rafal wrote:

> How about the following set of definitions:
> 1. Information - undefined, to be treated as a primitive concept here.
> 2. Knowledge - information describing a true, predictive mapping between
> actions and their results.
> 3. Intelligence - the ability to process information to produce knowledge.
> 4. Rationality - the intelligent ability to use knowledge about self and
> non-self and other relevant information to choose actions leading to the
> achievement of goals.

Your missing one. What leads to choosing goals that are actually
in some sense "good"? What is "good"? What are your normative
concepts, your ethics in short. How does this meta-level work?

### The above definitions are meant to apply to cognitive processing, or
epistemology, the value-free part of our mental lives, rather than provide a
universal ethical framework. Ethics, the actual choices of fundamental
values, super-goals to be achieved (good) or avoided (the "bad"), is a whole
different area of philosophy, drawing on epistemology but independent. I
wouldn't call ethics a meta-level - it's a separate line of enquiry.

> 5. Wisdom - the use of intelligent, rational methods to analyze self,
> knowlege and information and to modify goal structures in ways logically
> predicated on these structures.

Still missing what determines what is actually of value.

### Well, this is a subject for a long story and I didn't set out to explain
ethics when I started this thread. I merely wanted to achieve some clarity
in distinguishing between matters of epistemology and ethics. I like using
the terms I defined above separately from determinations of values -
conflating the idea of "rationality" with "wise goodness", or "intelligence"
with "the stuff that sentience is made of" (as Gordon seems to imply when he
uses intelligence as a measure of value of sentients in general) - all this
leads to confusion, and sterile discussions about what is rational, versus
what should be rational, vs. the value of rationality as a social construct,


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