Re: Rationality and altered states of consciousness

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Wed Sep 18 2002 - 05:24:34 MDT

On Tuesday, September 17, 2002, at 01:12 PM, Ben Goertzel wrote:

>> There is such a thing as the rational intelligence of a process, which
>> is to say how much rationality a process draws upon. Intelligence,
>> though, is only one set of processes that is rational. I doubt that
>> you
>> would consider evolution to be intelligent in the same way that a human
>> is intelligent, but both draw upon rationality in the same way.
> I think my definition of intelligence is more general than yours.

I am not defining intelligence here. I'm talking about rational
intelligence, something which is very different from intelligence. It
refers only to a measure of the amount of rationality drawn upon. I
would not use the world intelligence to describe evolution as using the
common meaning of `intelligence', however it is true that it can be
useful to think of evolution as being intelligent, just not most of the

> I do consider evolution to display intelligence, though a different kind
> than human intelligence.

Yes, vastly different. Different enough that I would avoid using the
term `intelligence' when discussing evolution to avoid confusion. It's
useful only for showing that all processes that draw upon rationality
exhibit a certain trait which can be thought of as an intelligence
(goal-oriented work).

> However, I don't think it's important that the two of us define all
> these
> terms in exactly the same ways, just that we're clear about the
> definitions
> that we individually use.

This is useless for meaningful communication. The only reason for
giving a specific definition of work is to be explicit about what
rationality is (and then only because I don't want to write the
explanation every time). In all other cases I try to go by what would
be a common sense definition. In the case of rationality, it's not that
there isn't a common definition of rationality, only that most people
can't understand it. I'm trying to explain more than define.

> I now see a lot more harmony between our differing definitions of these
> things than I did a month ago.

I don't. Intelligence is not rationality. Intelligence is not a force
that processes can draw upon. Intelligence refers to goal-oriented
processes (NOTE: intelligence != rational intelligence) that draws on
rationality. The human mind has explicit goals, evolution does not.

Gordon Worley "Man will become better when you show him what he is like." --Anton Chekhov
PGP: 0xBBD3B003

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