Ep. 42 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Intelligence, Rationality, and Wisdom

topic

discussion

my notes

  • Rationality is an existential issue, not just about processing information, but constitutive of our identity in important ways, and our mode of being in the world
  • Rationality debate: showed us:
    • Rationality =/ intelligence or logicality
    • We need multiple competencies: inferential and independant competency of construal -> insight and good problem formulation
  • Stannovich: missing piece:
    • mindware/pscyho-technology
    • Cognitive style: active open-mindedness -> cultivatee sentivity, ongoing awareness of cognitive biases in behaviour and actively counteract them
    • Not too much though, if try to overide too many of them, overide their function as heuristics to avoid combinatorial explosion
    • Getting an optimal form of active openmindedness crucial, not maximal

Active Open-mindedness

  • Definition psycho-technology:
    • socially gnerated and standardized way of formatting, manipulating and enhancing information processing
    • Readily internalizable into human cognition
    • Can be applied in a domain-general manner
    • Must extend and empower cognition in some reliable and extensive manner
    • Be highly generalizable among people
  • Active-openmindedness
    • Set of skills, psycho-technologieas, sensibilities and sensitivities, that will help you in a domain-genewral manner, note and axctively respond to presense of cognitive bias.
  • What is predictive of acquiring AoM
  • Need for cognition: degree to which you are motivated to go out and look for problems, generating your own instances of learning and problem-solving
  • Curiosity and wisdom
  • Need for cognition:
    • Connection with need for problem finding
    • Arland: problem finders are good at finding problems, connect them iin ways that others don’t
    • Central to wisdom: capacity to find problems that other people haven’t found
  • What makes a good problem finder:
    • Not just find new problems, find a problem that if solved would make a significant impact on other problems - problem nexus
  • Also wonder and curiosity
  • Curiosity - having mode, wonder being mode
  • Socrates: Wisdom begins in wonder
    • Plato:
      • point of philosophy to develop and extend that sense of wonder,
      • deepen wonder into awe,
      • awe has the greatest capacity for transforming us,
      • anagogic ascent.
      • Quest of anagoge
      • meta accommodation
    • Aristotle:
      • more in line with curiosity,
      • trying to figure things out.
      • Trying to shape wonder into curiosity,
      • resolve the curiosity in answer to some question.
      • Formulate questions that you answer
      • Meta-assimilation
  • Stannovich:
    • Respond to many of defenders of rationality by noting that we have to challenge Cohen’s assumptions, we do not have a single compentence, to cherniak that giving a theory of rationality but intelligence, and to Smedland that we need independent normativity on construal, good problem formulation and insight

Stannovich’s Account of Rationality

  • Dual processing theory: S1 and S2
    • Different ways in which process information
    • S1: intuitive, highly associational, implicit processing, very fast (ex: ability to cope) - operating a lot of the time in the background, automatic
    • S2: more deliberate, engaging in reflection, aware of it, intentionally directly, inferential, argumentation - explicit, slow, relies on working memory
    • Kahneman: Thinking Fast and Slow
  • Think of different states that we’re in.
  • Ex: grocery shopping, ringing in at the cashier, cashier says $1,000 - say “what?!” - where did that come from, quickly, have intuitive associations, call cashier into question with S1 processing. Cashier, has to deliberately go through each one, slowly show that it matches, etc. S2
  • Trade-off relationship: S2 puts high demand on resources. Can’t rely on it for most of behaviour - get into combinatorial explosion, get overwhelmeed. But it is there to override S1
  • Opponent relationship
  • Stannovich sees S2 as having a corrective function for S1
  • Foolishness: dysrationalia
  • S1 makes you leap to conclusions. Ex: lilypad problem
  • S2 overrides how leap to conclusions
  • Active-openmindedness teaching you to protect S2 from being overridden by S1
  • Foolish if haven’t trained S2 to be protected from interference of S1
  • Insufficient account of rationality (vervaeke)
  • Is leaping always a bad thing?
  • Baker: inductive leaping - cognitive leaping
    • Give various patterns, then stop and ask what it’s going to be: ex: dots filled into a sofa
    • Operationalize the ineffability of insight
    • You’re a good leaper if you can use fewer cues and accurately say what the final pattern is going to be.

(heh, I think I’m a good leaper. In fact, i piss people off because I tend to interrupt once I get where they are going. This has caused me problems!)

  • Skill with pattern detection/completion
  • Predictive of insight
  • Better you are at leaping, better at insight - so if shutting off leaping too much, shutting off machinery that makes us insightful.
  • Have to give up simplistic notions of rationality
  • Sometimes leap to conclusions which leads to mistakes, so need Active open-mindedness to moderate. But i want to leap to insight -
  • S2 good for theorizing
  • If need a radical reconstrual of the issue - therapy for example, S1 - existentially trapped, need transformative insight, can’t infer way through it. Often what need is to try and shut S2 down, prevent it from interfering with S1, bring S1 to the foreground

(during meditation I’ll have S1 insights)

  • What’s a cognitive style that does this? Mindfulness

(I just said that!)

  • Mindfulness opponent to active-open mindedness
  • S2 great for planning, S1 great for coping

  • When planning is epistemic especially S2
  • What’s missing from Stannovich is a broader account of our competences, how they are tradeoffs
  • Need cultivation of both active open-mindedness and mindfulness
  • Intelligence used to learn the psycho-tech, can use intelligence to improve how I’m using my intelligence, improve how the competencies are optimizing, enhance capacity for relevance realization -> think of that as rationality
  • Something emerging: may be able to use our rationality to improve our rationality -> crucial to wisdom
  • Rationality: the reliable and systematic ability to overcome self-deception, and afford the enhancement of development and meaning in life

Existential Aspect of Rationality

  • Degree to which we identify with our higher cognitive processes
  • Dwek: Mindset: experiment
    • Brought in school kids, three groups
    • Two ways that can set mind
    • Way in which identifying with, that embodying the trait
    • Can have fixed view of intelligence
      • Think fixed at birth, locked in
      • Not much can do about it
    • Malleable
      • Can change
    • Behaviour different if think intelligence fixed:
      • Attitude towards error - error will reveal that have defect in non-changeable trait - turns error into permanent revelation
      • Malleable view: error points towards the skills I’m using, need better skills and effort. Can do things to change it.
    • Fixed view focuses on product, malleable on the process
    • Experiment try to trigger mode with praise using trait language
    • Can praise the trait or the process
    • All groups solved the problems, Group A praised for trait, B for process, C neutral
    • Ask the kids who wants to take on more challenging problems: Group A says no: don’t want to - may generate error recognition less intelligent
    • Process people say yes - need for cognition
    • C neutral
    • Give them harder problems. A don’t enjoy, B enjoy, C neutral
    • Now give them set of problems equal in difficulty to first set of problems, C does same, B better, A worse
    • Ask kids to write to student in germany report how doing. 40% group A lie about performance, B and C tell truth

(this experiment is terrifying about how malleable people are!)

  • Way you frame yourself, way you identify your processing, huge impact on problem solving ability, proclivity for self-deception, and need for cognition
  • Rationality is an existential thing not just informational thing
  • But is intelligence fixed or malleable
    • Evidence no clear
    • Evidence is clear that there are things can do to modify intelligence - long-term mindfulness practice, enhancing attention and working memory
    • But by in large intelligence is fixed, not malleable
    • There is a way in which intelligence is terrifically malleable - the way in which intelligence recursively relates to itself is malleable
    • Rationality is highly malleable
    • Care too much for intelligence, not enough of rationality
  • Rationality how identifying with own cognitive processing, and the way in which that identification process can impede how you’re applying and using intelligence, or enhance it
  • Can cultivate the right kind of cognitive styles and can get clear path for becoming more rational -> wise