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  1. #81
    Tier 1 Member LunaLuminosity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Like OrangeAppled mentioned already, I was always under the impression that a pseudo-intellectual was someone who liked the idea or appearance of intellectual discussion, but really could not care less about the topic in any genuine way. So, someone who discusses some political or philosophical issue just to show to everyone that they are intellectual, not because they are curious or actually care about the topic, is a pseudo-intellectual.
    I hope that this is the real definition of it. It concerns me that some people here are instead trying to claim that a person has to be intelligent to be an intellectual, and that a person who isn't that bright but desperately wants to be able to discuss intellectual matters is somehow fake.

    I've made this point many times before, and probably will make it many more times: higher-than-average intelligence isn't required for intellectualism. All that is required is an intense interest in intellectual subjects.

    For example, it is almost sort of a given for INTPs to be intellectuals of a sort (the thinker, the philosopher...) But where in the type description does it say that they are all amazingly smart? Maybe in some of the descriptions, but the good ones are supposed to be purely about personality, not about ability. It is an unfair thing to have a very intellectual personality but to have to add a "pseudo" to that because of weak reasoning abilities, flawed logic, etc.

  2. #82
    Sniffles
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    I dealt with this issue somewhat in my blog

    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    The simple truth about truth is that it's universal(not to mention eternal) - it applies to all people. Therefore it can be expressed in various forms. Yes you have philosophers who ponder on such matters with great depth; but yet it can also be expressed with the words of an old maid as well. It doesn't really matter. The intelligent do not have a monopoly on truth, it belongs to all men.

    And as I mentioned to LL, Plato himself emphasized that a true philosopher is simply an exemplary man - he's not a species apart so to speak.

    Of course in regards to intellectual discourse nowadays(or what counts as such), there are several problems that go to the heart of several issues. A big issue regards the (post)modern denial of universal truths, which results in an endless fragmentation of knowledge and inquiry - which is institutionalized with ever increasing specialization. That of course is an entire discussion in of itself -one which I won't be able to get into right now...

    ...The irony of course being that I'm actually a populist in this regard; I do believe intellectual discourse should be more open to everyday people, and public discourse should be elevated to a greater level then what we usually see.

  3. #83

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    Well said. Both Luna and Peguy.

    A true intellectual should just be someone who is intellectually curious and interested in improving their intellect and knowledge. Their status as an intellectual ought to be independent of their actual schooling or IQ.

    As many have said, the term pseudo-intellectual should really be reserved for those who don't care about intellect or knowledge except as it affects their reputation or standing. These are the people who accumulate knowledge purely for the purpose of showing off. There can be brilliant pseudo-intellectuals.

    I like this division.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #84
    Sniffles
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    I think it's also important to distinguish between the philosopher and the philodoxer. The philosopher is concerned with wisdom and truth; while the philodoxer is only concerned with opinion.

    You could say the true intellectual is the former, while pseudo-intellectuals represents the latter.

  5. #85
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Like OrangeAppled mentioned already, I was always under the impression that a pseudo-intellectual was someone who liked the idea or appearance of intellectual discussion, but really could not care less about the topic in any genuine way. So, someone who discusses some political or philosophical issue just to show to everyone that they are intellectual, not because they are curious or actually care about the topic, is a pseudo-intellectual.

    It's hard to tell on this forum who is and who is not a pseudo-intellectual because it's difficult to read people's intentions through text. That said, there is a tendency for pseudo-intellectuals to talk extensive nonsense because their lack of care for the subject makes them intellectually lazy or sloppy, and this is immediately identifiable.
    I tend to agree with that definition of pseudo-intellectual, but would that mean that anyone who discusses politics or philosophy with a genuine interest is an intellectual? A lot would say it's not just about interest but ability as well.

  6. #86
    Is Willard in Footloose!! CJ99's Avatar
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    Of course theres lot of pseudo intellectuals. Its a forum full of Ns!!!!!! And about half of them are NTs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    "I'd never die for my beliefs, I might be wrong"

    "Is it not enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe there are fairys at the bottom of it too"

    "Intelligence is being able to hold too opposing views in the mind at the one time without going crazy" - Now all I need to figure out is if I'm intelligent or crazy!

  7. #87
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Athenian has got the point.
    I agree.
    The Sermon of the Mount.
    Pure wisdom.

    Essential Socrates. Written down by Plato.
    Reason is ahead of the answer.
    The answer precedes the question.

  8. #88
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    I tend to agree with that definition of pseudo-intellectual, but would that mean that anyone who discusses politics or philosophy with a genuine interest is an intellectual? A lot would say it's not just about interest but ability as well.
    Perhaps genuine interest is not a sufficient condition (though I still kind of think it is), but it is necessary. So it still stands as a good basis for distinguishing between an intellectual and a pseudo-intellectual.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by proximo View Post
    He told me that a psychiatrist once put it to him that the reason he sneered and scoffed at "non-intellectuals" having serious discussions was because he liked to feel like he, and others like him, were alone entitled/qualified to do that. He had to believe that there was *something* he "could" do that others couldn't or shouldn't, and defend that territory, to compensate for all the things he believed he couldn't do that others could - mostly, socialising and making friends. Facing the idea that all kinds of people can and do have interesting discussions would mean that there was nothing, really, that other people couldn't do that he could, would have undermined the basis of his self-esteem: I'm more intelligent, therefore I have *proper* discussions, whilst other people just talk about mundane, uninteresting nonsense.

    He realised with horror that he was an elitist, and that his elitism stemmed from self-loathing!
    +100

    I always thought that a self-styled intellectual would remain open to various options/ perspectives, because it allows him/her to obtain a clearer understanding of the issue. Discussions are all about the ebbs and flow of ideas, so expert knowledge (or lack of thereof) should not pose as a barrier to entry. It might seem terribly tedious for those with superior knowledge, although they can choose to walk away or share the love
    I'm a pseudo intellectual for sure, and I think "intellectual" alone, is an elitist label which implies some sort of high-browed conversation taking place, that naturally carries more merit than all other types of discussions

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by krunchtime View Post
    +100

    I always thought that a self-styled intellectual would remain open to various options/ perspectives, because it allows him/her to obtain a clearer understanding of the issue. Discussions are all about the ebbs and flow of ideas, so expert knowledge (or lack of thereof) should not pose as a barrier to entry. It might seem terribly tedious for those with superior knowledge, although they can choose to walk away or share the love
    I'm a pseudo intellectual for sure, and I think "intellectual" alone, is an elitist label which implies some sort of high-browed conversation taking place, that naturally carries more merit than all other types of discussions

    To you, and Proximo, that's exactly why I have a certain distaste for this thread. I wont make assumptions about what people are thinking, but I do know the historical use of the term "intellectual" and the types of people who cling to such a distinction. It IS a marker of self ascribed elitism, far more than any PSEUDO-intellectual.

    Personally, I know I'm smart, I know the limits of my own knowledge and understanding, and I know what truths I'm seeking. However, not once have I, or would I, be so HONESTLY (because I do espouse a lot of half serious, trollish arrogance around here for kicks) audacious as to call myself an "intellectual". When people do such things they either do it in full knowledge of their own insecurities or they do it in complete ignorance of their own mental state.

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