Debate for Irish Mensa?
Weir (Lucy)
Source: Chora Posting, 6th October 2015
Paper - Abstract

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  1. The following item was posted to CHORA (the discussion forum of Philos_List) on 6th October 2015.
  2. It resonates with a lot of my past experience, so deserves interaction.
  3. Watch this space!

Full Text
  1. At a low point during my PhD research, I joined Mensa. Perhaps subconsciously, I knew I had reasonable problem-solving skills, but I'd told myself that if I failed to score sufficiently well to join, I'd pack in my doctoral studies and go back to working as a social care worker. When the results came through, I joined, partly out of gratitude, and partly because I was interested in Mensa's three stated purposes:
    • to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity,
    • to encourage research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence, and
    • to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.
  2. Generally, in my (relatively narrow - I joined in 2011) experience, the social opportunities offered by Mensa meetings are those that garner the greatest amount of attention from members. Most people just want an opportunity to meet up. Often there's an intellectual twist to the occasion - you learn something, or there's a quiz, for instance - but the other two purposes are not pursued.
  3. Being philosophically inclined, I was particularly interested in the first stated purpose. I imagine that there are philosophers who are investigating, perhaps in cross-disciplinary projects, the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence (however that might be defined). It would be very enlightening to hear of any research in this area, and I would be willing to collate a list of responses.
  4. The first purpose - to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity - is bold indeed. I would love to organise a debate or discussion, or to listen to a presentation, on this topic. Does anyone on the list have experience in this area? Does anyone know anyone in Ireland who is researching this sort of question? There is, obviously, a serious question about whether or not intelligence is inherently beneficial to humanity, and relatedly, whether or not those who are defined, or define themselves, as intelligent have some sort of equivalence to 'noblesse oblige' in relation to the use of their intelligence to the benefit of humanity. I would very much appreciate reading the thoughts of those who are interested in these questions. While this is not strictly a philosophical issue, it does have philosophical implications and that is why I am posting it here.
  5. Best, Lucy

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