On 11/10/2012 2:54 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
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 :).

I can relate to that.

But the definition seems overly restrictive. It's well known that in competitive games the best strategy may random in some way. So I don't see how you can arbitrarily rule out random choices as 'irrational' when they are shown to be optimal by rational analysis.


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