AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractOf all the strange phenomena in the so-far-known universe: exotic particles, black holes, dark energy/matter, 9-dimensional strings, none is stranger, more implausible or mysterious than the one right under our nose: perception. Perception does not simply consist of processing recentlyreceived sense data—that’s the smallest part of it. Perception fundamentally attempts the impossible: to try to reduce our situational ignorance to manageable proportions, to know the future. More, it is aimed at choosing the right future— the one that still has the perceiving organism in it. Repeat, ad infinitum until ultimately, it ends in failure. Ignorance is simply: not knowing, and is something we are all faced with every day. Stupidity lies in not knowing what it is that we don’t know, behaving as though we do know. A special kind of stupidity consists in hiding the extent of our own stupidity from ourselves. A criminal kind of stupidity consists of imposing our stupidity on others. The story of the evolution of intelligence is also the story of the rise of increasingly complex forms of stupidity. Academic study is the process of traveling to the frontiers of known territory to reach the edge of the land of ignorance, where we are all idiots. Research is simply an extension of the principle of perception, the impossible attempt at stupidity reduction. Stupidity is a fundamental feature of organic life, a driving force that underpins all development. Many study perception but few systematically study stupidity. Yet.
CitationLennox, P. (2015) 'The Philosophy of Perception and Stupidity' Keynote presentation at the International Conference on Auditory Display 2015, Graz, Austria, 8-10th July.
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