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jts

Is intellectual independence always a virtue?

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First a quote from Ayn Rand Lexicon on what intellectual independence is.

Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it—that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life—that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence.

Now a story.

Garry Kasparov was introduced to the game of chess at the age of 6.

At age 8 he was chess champion of his home town Baku.

At age 9 a visiting grandmaster said Kasparov was already thinking at the level of a grandmaster.

At age 10 Kasparov decided to become a professional chess player and became a student in the Botvinnik School of Chess. 

The Botvinnik School of Chess was run by Mikhail Botvinnik, former world champion.

Botvinnik said: This boy has talent. I will see to his education personally.

Botvinnik said: The future of chess is in the hands of this young man.

10 year old Kasparov had a question for Botvinnik. He showed Botvinnik a chess position and some analysis. Botvinnik said stop, you can calculate fast, i cannot. Botvinnik went thru the analysis more slowly and found a mistake. Botvinnik said, why did you play this move?

Kasparov said, It's the move everybody plays.

Botvinnik said, Never take anything on trust. This move is wrong.

Focus on NEVER TAKE ANYTHING ON TRUST. This sounds like Ayn Rand.s virtue of intellectual independence.

Questions

1. Did the former world champion give the future world champion good advice?

 2. Would it have been good advice if it had been given to someone other than Kasparov?

3. Would it have been god advice if it had been about something other than chess?

4. Is intellectual independence always a virtue?

 

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You can get knowledge from anywhere/anyone. You test its validity ("this move is wrong") by what you know, or as said in O'ism: it can be "integrated" without contradiction into the sum of your existing knowledge. So Kasparov worked out the moves for himself and saw his teacher was right.

But this isn't simply "intellectual" independence I think Rand was onto. Her "responsibility of judgment" is - moral independence. To judge for yourself the good/bad, (not only the true/false) of the facts. Not accepting others' moral judgments at face value.

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Just don’t say that no one can think for you, and don’t mention digestion to try to prove it, either.

Of course others can think for you, or there would be no well–known injunction to “think for yourself.” The people who say that are not dumb, right?

No one can digest for you. They really can’t. And, naturally enough, no one runs about imploring others to “digest for yourself!”

If no one can think for me then every paragraph ever written about the importance of thinking for myself is pointless, it’s gibbersih.

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I was looking for an answer to each of my 4 questions. Here they are again.

Focus on NEVER TAKE ANYTHING ON TRUST. This sounds like Ayn Rand.s virtue of intellectual independence.

Questions

1. Did the former world champion give the future world champion good advice?

 2. Would it have been good advice if it had been given to someone other than Kasparov?

3. Would it have been good advice if it had been about something other than chess?

4. Is intellectual independence always a virtue?

The answer to each question probably would be yes or no, usually followed by explanation.

 

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15 hours ago, jts said:

I was looking for an answer to each of my 4 questions. Here they are again.

Focus on NEVER TAKE ANYTHING ON TRUST. This sounds like Ayn Rand.s virtue of intellectual independence.

Questions

1. Did the former world champion give the future world champion good advice?

 2. Would it have been good advice if it had been given to someone other than Kasparov?

3. Would it have been good advice if it had been about something other than chess?

4. Is intellectual independence always a virtue?

The answer to each question probably would be yes or no, usually followed by explanation.

 

Sneaky deceptions about assisting a future rival. Or believing the advice of a future rival. As if, either knows certainly that they will be rivals one day. They could not, and so what if they could.

"Would it have been good advice?" Was it true advice? then it is good. Can and should any advice one receives always be checked and understood independently? Of course. Even Rand's 'advice' for the necessity
of an independent mind must be corroborated ... independently. ;) Through one's own experience and thinking.

Independence - not "intellectual" per se, btw - is always a virtue, right. You don't drop it when you feel like it. Looks as though you're quite trivializing the virtue's essence with this chess scenario, integrity, truth and honesty to reality are components of independence.  "...his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence".

Keep in mind: One holds a virtue, selfishly, for one's own sake.

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The search for a generalization good in all cases is extremely problematic. I think you should first start with most cases then leverage off that if that's still your object.

Good luck chucking empiricism.

--Brant

there is more in heaven and hell . . .

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I read "Botvinnik On Openings" sixty years ago, which is why my brother couldn't beat me playing chess even though I had no more real mind for the game than he did.

In our last game he opened with a PR4. I begged him to take it back but he wouldn't. The game didn't go well.

--Brant

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On 12/10/2019 at 2:36 PM, jts said:

I was looking for an answer to each of my 4 questions. Here they are again.

Focus on NEVER TAKE ANYTHING ON TRUST. This sounds like Ayn Rand.s virtue of intellectual independence.

Questions

1. Did the former world champion give the future world champion good advice?

 2. Would it have been good advice if it had been given to someone other than Kasparov?

3. Would it have been good advice if it had been about something other than chess?

4. Is intellectual independence always a virtue?

The answer to each question probably would be yes or no, usually followed by explanation.

 

I will answer the first question.

YES. Kasparov has such a great mind that there is no reason for him to take anything in chess on trust.

 

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15 hours ago, jts said:

I will answer the first question.

YES. Kasparov has such a great mind that there is no reason for him to take anything in chess on trust.

 

I.E. A "great mind" (for chess, here) is the precondition and cause of an independent mind? I'd check that. A comparatively quite normal mind, intelligence-wise, also requires absolute independence - and I have known quite brilliant persons who showed little true independence in their action and opinions. So no, the capacity of a mind has no bearing on independence. The key word is "always", not only limited to some narrow pursuit or activity.

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21 hours ago, anthony said:

I.E. A "great mind" (for chess, here) is the precondition and cause of an independent mind? I'd check that. A comparatively quite normal mind, intelligence-wise, also requires absolute independence - and I have known quite brilliant persons who showed little true independence in their action and opinions. So no, the capacity of a mind has no bearing on independence. The key word is "always", not only limited to some narrow pursuit or activity.

The cause of intellectual independence is volition. The justification may be great mind.

The next question is can a person of average intelligence justify intellectual independence?  (Never take anything on trust. This move is wrong.)

 

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13 hours ago, jts said:

The cause of intellectual independence is volition. The justification may be great mind.

The next question is can a person of average intelligence justify intellectual independence?  (Never take anything on trust. This move is wrong.)

 

The first on volition is spot on. That's my point, independence is preceded by the choice, regardless of how lesser-greater a mind. 

You still repeat this is only "intellectual". It's basically moral - a moral virtue - acknowledging that no one else has any power to make your reasoned judgments.

Good questions. Do you have to have a great mind to recognize independence and its absolute value? And/or does there have to be a "great mind" (e.g. Rand's) to justify that for one? The first, definitely not. Every child knows, if just physically and subconsciously, his autonomy/independence from others. And theirs from him. You don't need to be taught reality when you can see it. (Then come along authority figures to tell the child she's wrong, and undermine her growing independent mind). 

To fully justify independence as virtue did need a great mind, imo. As Rand also justified the larger concept, rational selfishness. I reiterate, from what I've observed a great mind is not predetermined to arrive at any truths and as often reaches false conclusions. You will cherry-pick your known favorites, but you also have to 'see' the many more unknown, who publicly made little of their intelligence. Genius theorists (I always think Kant) are as, or more prone to rationalizations and self-justifications as average intelligences. Because, simply: they can. And they don't have to live out their theories in practice.

The chess move is wrong because the result - evidently - is seen to fail. Not trust or distrust, a good player instantly sees the corrected effects for himself and has to re-integrate his knowledge.

An - effective - great mind (volitionally rational, independent) will likely arrive at the identical truths/answers faster than others could. 

 

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