On Sat, Nov 10, 2012 at 05:55:03AM -0500, Roger Clough wrote:
> Hi Russell Standish
> No, rational beings have to decide which truths they need to apply
> to what and how to apply them.  These are all relational acts,
> which require choice, hence intelligence.

I will insist that this is incorrect. The very first line of the
Wikipedia page states:

In philosophy, rationality is the characteristic of any action,
belief, or desire, that makes their choice a necessity.[1]

Reference [1] is the Cambridge dictionary of philosophy, which is
presumably a more authorative source on the use of the word than
Wikipedia, but I don't have a copy.

The operative word here is _necessity_: namely the choice is not free,
which is what you claimed earlier: 

"In my discussions of intelligence, I define intelligence as the
ability to (fairly freely) make one's own choices."

BTW - rational beings can encounter situations where they're unable to
make the choice - for example because they have insufficient resources
to compute the optimum of the utility, or because their utility is too
ill-defined on the choices at hand. I have even seen occasions of
quite intelligent people, more rational than most, though certainly
not perfectly rational, being struck by a kind of paralysis when faced
with a choice they cannot compute. Like when asked what restaurant
they'd like to go to for dinner :).


Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au

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