Le 24-nov.-05, à 02:06, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :

Jesse Mazer writes:

Can we talk about knowledge or intelligence in a similar way? A rock is completely stupid and ignorant. A human has some knowledge and some intelligence (the Goldilocks case). God is said to be omniscient: infinitely knowlegeable, infinitely intelligent. Doesn't this mean that God is the equivalent of the blackboard covered in chalk, or the rock?

Stathis Papaioannou

Hmm...but isn't it relevant that an omniscient being is only supposed to know all *true* information, while the blackboard covered in chalk or Borges' library would contain all sentences, both true and false? It's like the difference between the set of all possible grammatical statements about arithmetic, and the set of all grammatical statements about arithmetic that are actually true (1+1=2 but not 1+1=3).


OK, so information = all information, true or false;

Mmh... All information is also akin to no information at all (which explains perhaps why some people makes back and forth between the notion of everything and nothing).

but knowledge = only the true information.

Glad to hear that. This illustrates the necessity of agreeing on definition. I thought nobody would contest that: IF Claude knows p THEN p is true, by definition of knowledge. If Claude says that she knows some proposition k, and if it happens later that k appears to be false, Claude will not say that she knew k, but that she believed k. That is what the difference between belief and knowledge is all about. In the modal theories of knowledge we have always the axiom Bp -> p. In the modal theory of belief we never ask for the axiom Bp -> p. Just because it makes sense to belief something wrong. But no entities can know something wrong. If someone believes that we can *know* something wrong, I would say there is a confusion between the notion of belief and the notion of knowledge. To insist, if Claude says I know p, and if you know that p is actually wrong, you will say that Claude believes something wrong, you will not say that Claude knows something wrong.

I hope everyone agree we take the formula Bp -> p as axioms for a notion of knowledge.

In that case, we could say that intelligence in an omniscient being is superfluous, since intelligence could be defined as that ability which allows one to sort out the true propositions from the false using certain rules.

Using rules, or using intuition, memory etc. Personnaly I prefer to use the weaker term of competence for the ability of making that true/false discrimination, reserving the word "intelligence" for something deeper more akin to an open-mindness state or an ability to doubt, etc. It will appear then that intelligence is necessary for the development of competence, but that the development of competence has a *negative feedback" on intelligence. You can perhaps feel that intuitively: to be very competent can make you forget that you can be wrong and this could degrade your doubting ability.

On the other hand, this could be too narrow a view of knowledge and intelligence, restricted to scientific and logical thinking.

That is another reason to use the term competence in this setting. Intelligence is really more like humility or modesty, or wiseness. In general it is not something which can be evaluated or measured. Only competence (and even only in circumscribed fields) can be measured. In school and universities, I think it is a very sad error to confuse the two. Someone can be very intelligent but completely incompetent. For example when you have neural problems disallowing your interface with the world. And the reverse is true too, someone can be very competent in some field and be completely non-intelligent, incapable of doubting.

If we include artistic creativity, the amount of "knowledge" increases, including abstract art, abstract literature, every possible musical composition... the blackboard and the library begin to fill again. It seems that God has to be a hard-headed scientist who eschews all that artistic nonsense for his omniscience to be meaningful.

My favorite definition of ...
... is that thing that once you give it/he/she/e a name or a description, then you can say "hello" to the catastrophes ....



Reply via email to