RE: Intelligence and wisdom

From: Rafal Smigrodzki (
Date: Tue Jul 16 2002 - 15:15:06 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

I am interested in is how the thing we call "intelligence" interacts
with the thing we call "wisdom", a real issue well worth debating.

### Just recently I finished reading E.Goldberg's "The Executive Brain".
Among other things he describes Toby, an extreme case of the dissociation
between intelligence and wisdom (as commonly defined). Toby has a huge but
chaotic knowledge base in all kinds of subjects. He succeeds in all jobs he
undertakes but never accomplishes anything significant. He spent years as a
male prostitute, was dependent on drugs, alcohol. He never plans for the
future. Although he is intellectually capable of foreseeing the results of
his actions, he does not modify his behavior to avoid adverse experiences.
Things "happen" to him. He does suffer despite having all the processing
power needed to escape suffering.

This illustrates the difference between intelligence and wisdom as I see it:
intelligence is the ability to derive knowledge from information, wisdom is
the application of intelligence and knowledge to the modification of own
(long-term) goal system within the large scale context - the world. It's
hard to have the latter without the former, but possible to have the former
without the latter.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:40 MDT