1. Mackers
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    Mackers Contributing Member

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    Intellectual / Pseudo-intellectuals

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Mackers, Aug 2, 2012.

    How would you differentiate?

    Is it in the same vein as beauty is in the eye of the beholder...In other words, is it entirely subjective?

    Would you label someone a pseudo-intellectual if they express something that doesn't accord with your views?

    Is it in the substance of what they are saying or the way they are saying it?

    I find certain word usage can irritate me, such as overly grandiose terms along with clunky sentence structure. If I see this on message boards or forums I automatically assume that person is consciously trying to sound smarter than what they are; and, probably harshly, I would almost view them as try-hards rather than people with something genuine to say.

    I think the problem with pseudo-intellectuals is that they are more well-hidden than your obvious idiot
     
  2. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I'm not sure to be honest, but I've noticed pseudo-intellectuals are often horrible know-it-alls who unnecessarily use a grandiose vocabulary where as a real intellectual knows how much they do not know, and are somewhat modest.
     
  3. Mackers
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    Mackers Contributing Member

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    Good point. A big thing is awareness of your own limitations I suppoose. But to me that's just common sense. That doesn't make you any smarter or less able than someone else with a level head.

    For some reason writing seems to be especially tractor-beam-like for these kinds of people you mentioned.

    Is it because of the impression they think the whole thing gives off?

    Would you agree?
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I think so yes, but obviously it's not really a rule. Most of the more pretentious people I know like to call themselves Poets in that 'Ah! Shakespeare!' kind of voice that I honestly find annoying.

    I'm not sure exactly how I would describe Pseudo-intellectuals other than people who haven't bothered to actually learn about what they are talking about, like arm-chair scientists or philosophers. People who talk about how Nietzsche 'inspired' the Nazi party without bothering to actually read Nietzsche beyond selected quotations.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    My biggest tip-off to a pseudo-intellectual is when I realize they're only parroting things others have said, and when you question them, they can't answer except to repeat what the other people said. A real intellectual can not only explain, but discuss - and they actually stop to consider what you've said.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with this 1000%
    To answer your question,
    Absolutely not. At least not only on that basis. That would be precisely the kind of thing a pseudo-intellectual would do.

    It could be either or both. It depends on what, exactly, they are saying.
     
  7. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's a great topic for discussion. But I must confess
    my ignorance. I do not know the answer to your question.

    What do you mean when you say 'intellectual'?
     
  8. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    Hm. I've always seen an intellectual as someone who both spends a lot of time thinking about things and has a good logical ability. I guess a pseudo-intellectual would thus be someone who doesn't quite measure up, in one way or another.

    You have to consider that clunky word usage isn't necessarily a sign of a pretentious person. I use clunky words all the time, usually because I just don't know how to convey certain ideas without using clunky words. Not sure why. Of course, I'm also pretentious, so...

    Anyway, is something specific going on? Someone bothering you, Mackers? It sounds kinda like a "pseudo-intellectual" is getting on your nerves.
     
  9. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    My own definition of an intellectual is someone possessed by an overpowering curiosity and a willingness to explore new ways of thinking in the pursuit of that curiosity. It's more a function of how you approach the world than a matter of degrees or education level.

    Very often, intellectuals will have a great deal of education, but it is the intellectual curiosity that causes them to seek out education. Education does not make them intellectual--it is actually the other way around.

    A pseudo-intellectual is someone for whom having the "right" answer is a form of personal validation.
     
  10. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Ooh! Ooh! Thats me! Sometimes when I start feeling pretty good about myself I become a pseudo-intellectual! I try not to, but it just happens sometime... then i feel like a jerk!
     
  11. lowprofile300
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    lowprofile300 Active Member

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    Hey this kind of reminds me of this quote on a plaque in my Dad's office I once read when I was a kid. It goes something like this.

    "He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool.
    He who knows and knows not that he knows, is also a fool.
    But he who knows not and knows that he knows not, is a potential student.
    So he who knows and knows that he knows, is a teacher. Follow him."


    It's not so confusing after you've read it a couple of times:)
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i only had to read it once... it makes good sense...

    i've been labeled an 'intellectual' since jr high [both teachers and fellow students did the labeling], but one of my own favorite lines about myself is, "i know so much, that i know we can't know much at all"... so, i'm curious about everything and don't want to 'go' till i know all there is to know!
     
  13. Timberwolf
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    Timberwolf New Member

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    Intellectuals listen. Pseuds don't.
     
  14. simina
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    simina Senior Member

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    I haven't met a lot of pseudo-intellectuals. I think it's mostly a caricature used in fiction. I think to be "intellectual" anything, you have to have some sort of genuine curiosity. Maybe people in real life who are labeled as "pseudo-intellectuals" might just be on the first rung of the ladder of intellectualism. Maybe they don't know enough about what they're talking about, but they're eager to make opinions because of the novelty of the subjects.
     
  15. wafflebunny
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    wafflebunny New Member

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    All I know is this: you don't have to use big words to sound smart. Plus, it is smarter to ask questions than to assume something. Only ignorant people go by their own logic and don't open themselves up to learning or having their views challenged.
     
  16. TheSerpantofNar
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    TheSerpantofNar Active Member

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    "Intellectuals" today I think has become a term for somehow being smarter or philosophical to be honest to me most "Intellectuals" today aren't very intellectual they have however like the idea of intellectualism. Not to say they aren't smart or anything but i think its very subjective and open to question.
     
  17. Warp Zone
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    Warp Zone Contributing Member

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    As everyone else said, pseudo-intellectuals think they more than they do, while intellectuals knows what they know and are aware there's always more to learn.

    I have an acquaintance who can be a pseudo-intellectual at times. My sister once commented to her on how all the gymnastic athlete at the Olympics were short, and the pseudo-intellectual said that's because they're all around 15-16. When informed that gymnastics also stunts growth, the pseudo-intellectual challenged it with a sarcastic "How? Magic?"

    I'm kinda an intellectual, I guess. I love learning and, unlike other students, have never hated a teacher for any reason other than they're incapable of controlling the class well (which is the reason most kids would like a teacher), although I know nowhere near enough about anything to be considered "smart." I'm apparently good at acting like one, though; I've been told by multiple people irl that I speak in an intelligent manner that intimidates them, and one girl described me as "boring, like a businessman." :(

    ... now it sounds like I'm just bragging. Meh.
     
  18. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I'm not sure about that... There's quite a few professors that are well known in their field, and are as arrogant as anything. Personally, I think it has to do more with methodology and commitment. Those who attempt paint with a broad brush, don't bother researching the finer points, and make arguments based on opinion instead of hypothesis, accepted positions, or common facts, are pseudo-intellectuals.

    Let me clarify on accepted positions. There are many who would accept that there is a God, and many who would not. Intellectuals can argue on either side of this issue, because both positions have large bodies of people who have honestly arrived at these conclusions. There are others that will argue this president or that president is bad, and will attempt to marshal a bunch of arguments, presenting them all as "facts." In reality, they're arguments presenting opinion. The intellectual presents it as opinion. The pseudo-intellectual decries the word opinion and demands it be accepted as fact.

    At least, that's my thoughts... good question.
     
  19. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    hahaha I can definitely be a pseudo-intellectual :D if it means someone who likes to analyse things without too much background knowledge! I admit, I can be often lazy to read too deeply into the facts.....

    Well anyway, I have no idea what makes an intellectual or a pseudo one, but I wait and see if something makes sense. If what the other person's saying has good logic behind it, you don't have to agree but you should acknowledge that it makes sense. What I learnt from a lot of debating is that your conclusions tend to be based on what I like to call "basic assumptions" that all of us have - eg. things we believe in based more on personal conviction rather than something that is proven or provable but that seem nonetheless convincing/reasonable.
     
  20. Muff
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    Muff Member

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    A pseudo-intellectual is like kinda like pornography. I don't know how to define it, but I know it when I see it...

    But seriously, I suppose its subjective, but I feel there is generally a noticable difference. An intellectual is one who is always thinking in search of higher truths. A pseudo-intellectual thinks occasionally, usually to stroke their own egos. Well and sometimes a pseudo-intellectual is one who strives to find a higher truth, but lacks the mental capacity to adequately understand.
     

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