Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Dennett’s Intuition Pumps

Keith Stanovich, in his book “What Intelligence Tests Miss” refers to Daniel Dennett’s “intuition pumps.” Best I can tell they are sort of De Bono provocations… Here’s wikipedia

In his book, Elbow Room, Dennett used the term in a positive sense to describe thought experiments which facilitate the understanding of or reasoning about complex subjects by harnessing intuition:

A popular strategy in philosophy is to construct a certain sort of thought experiment I call an intuition pump […]. Intuition pumps are cunningly designed to focus the reader’s attention on “the important” features, and to deflect the reader from bogging down in hard-to-follow details. There is nothing wrong with this in principle. Indeed one of philosophy’s highest callings is finding ways of helping people see the forest and not just the trees. But intuition pumps are often abused, though seldom deliberately.
From D.C. Dennett, 1984, Elbow Room; The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting. [Emphasis in original.]


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This entry was posted on February 10, 2011 by in thinking tools and tagged , .
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