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  "The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are 
  cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."
This seems to be the Dunning-Kruger effect in action. Knowing more means having greater awareness that what you know is only a small part of what you could know.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

  "A hundred years ago the philosophical radicals formed a school of intelligent 
  men who were just as sure of themselves as the Hitlerites are"
If true, I wonder what caused this. Could anyone suggest cultural, social or technological reasons that may have temporarily united the intellectuals of the age?



> Could anyone suggest cultural, social or technological reasons that may have temporarily united the intellectuals of the age?

I think the Internet played a very strong hand with uniting the "unintellectuals" of our age.

As for your actual question the answer lies within that sentence "philosophy." Philosophy has been found[1] to be an excellent way to teach children how to access their intelligence; most importantly regarding critical thought. To blindly follow the stupidity of others you must have first failed to practice critical thought.

[1]: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/21/teachin...


> I think the Internet played a very strong hand with uniting the "unintellectuals" of our age.

It seems like the Internet has the opposite effect of uniting people. By allowing people to form ever tighter communities around specific topics, it allows people to feel like they've been united closer with others, but the interests of the groups they form are narrower than pre-Internet social groups. As to whether this affects intellectuals and unintellectuals more, it's hard to say. I could definitely be swayed either way. I've observed communities that fill every square of the (intellectual, unintellectual) x (narrow interest, broad interest) matrix.


Dunning Kruger didn't show that more competent people thought themselves lesser than incompetent, just that they thought they were lesser than they actually were, and incompetents thought themselves better than themselves, not better than those more competent.

i.e. Self reporting showed a shallowing of the competency slope, not a reversal.


> the philosophical radicals formed a school of intelligent men

Does anyone know who these men were?


The Philosophical Radicals was a philosophically-minded group of English political radicals in the nineteenth century inspired by Jeremy Bentham and James Mill. Individuals within this group included Francis Place, George Grote (1794–1871), Joseph Parkes, John Arthur Roebuck, Charles Buller, John Stuart Mill, Edward John Trelawny, and William Molesworth.[1]

Amongst other things, members of their group were the publishers of Darwin and ran the progressive journal the Westminster Review.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_Radicals


Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Seneca, Epictetus etc..


Maybe I didn't quote enough :)

> A hundred years ago the philosophical radicals formed a school of intelligent men


I'm guessing the ones during the Enlightenment? Rousseau, Kant, etc.


John Ralston Saul argues it was the age of Reason that did this in the book Voltaire's Bastards going all the way back to the Jesuit schools.

http://www.johnralstonsaul.com/non-fiction-books/voltaires_b...


The problem is that smart people (setting a low bar to include anybody who doesnt have deep-seated prejudice or inviolable beliefs rooted in ancient superstitions) who don't think critically are subject to propaganda. They'll be told that opposing Hitler is simply being intolerant of intolerance, and that makes them no better than the Nazis. If they don't think about it critically, they'll agree, but if they do think about it critically, they'll realize that one side is being intolerant of oppression and violence, while the other is being intolerant of regular people being allowed to peacefully exist. During Hitler's rise, there were many prominent Nazi sympathizers in the US, and this was solved not by a pandemic of critical thinking but by instituting war propaganda in the opposite direction.

This is the same problem that plagued abolitionists in the 19th century, women's suffrage at the turn of the last century, civil rights in the 60s, apartheid in the 80s, and gay rights and refugees today, some of which had to be solved by counter-propaganda by those in power, and some of which had to be solved the hard way by those with little power loudly promoting critical thinking.


> smart people (setting a low bar to include anybody who doesnt have deep-seated prejudice or inviolable beliefs rooted in ancient superstitions)

I think this hits on what I disliked about the quoted Russell passage. He uses "intelligent" as if it is objective and obvious who is included, and that it is those who he broadly agrees with. You're doing something similar by dismissing from your definition of "smart" anyone who is prejudiced or religious. It is clear to me that there are extremely intelligent people who are one or the other or both. What do you achieve by excluding them from your definition of intelligence? It is better to attack prejudice as misguided on its own, rather than as the product of stupidity.

This applies to Russell as well; in thinking his opponents are just stupid, he deprives himself of the ability to understand their viewpoint well enough to debate it. The worst way to win an argument is to think the other side is just stupid and you're just smart, so there's nothing to talk about.


I am using Russell's definition of smart because that is where the people that he calls stupid in the quote above my post get their cocksure attitudes.

You can call it whatever you like, but the reasons for one group being so certain and the other group being subject to propaganda still remain. The goal for somebody in the latter group who can think critically is not to convince the former group (very difficult, whatever you may call that group) but to get other people in the latter group to think critically as well.




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