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    (Original post by Worzo)
    faece[..]s
    http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/3456/sauropodca8.jpg
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    Communication in all vast majority of forms.
    Feminism.
    Democracy.
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    I know, but there has to be someone who says, "What if...?" for the first time, and then puts in the time to prove/disprove it: that's the intellectual achievement. I'm not sure what you mean by "intellectual discovery".
    but such discoveries are so complex they span several generations. while you can give newton some credit, you also have to give people after him credit too. Inventors usually get most of the credit, but innovators sometimes outdo inventors of the thing they innovate - Einstien arguably outdoes Newton, if you argue what they both did was in a related field.

    It pisses me off big time the way 'the constitution' gets banded round as though its some sort of almost divine piece of governmental poerty. Most of the hyper-conservatives who **** over it havent even read it properly, or have read it with such a politically charged and retrospective set of eyes that they may as well not have read it in the first place.
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    The advert that I just saw at the bottom of this page seems a pretty strong contender: easyPizza. The application of the easyJet philosophy to pizza is, in my opinion, an extremely important paradigm shift in the world of fast food. By continuation of the modernist concept of 'simplification of form', Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (surely one of the greatest thinkers of our time) is steadily unifying nutrition with the overall machine for living: functionalism at its most beautiful.
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    (Original post by Consie)
    but such discoveries are so complex they span several generations. while you can give newton some credit, you also have to give people after him credit too. Inventors usually get most of the credit, but innovators sometimes outdo inventors of the thing they innovate - Einstien arguably outdoes Newton, if you argue what they both did was in a related field.
    How do you figure that? And how does that relate to your inventor/innovator discussion (which I didn't understand either)?

    If you're talking about the "one man's" intellectual achievement, then we're trying to strip away the context of the person's achievement in order to give credit to the raw power of thought that the person had to use in order to achieve what they did. That way, it makes no sense to say that Einstein outdoes Newton as his theories supercede Newton's, because we're looking at the level of intellect required in order to do both. Arguably, you could have put Newton's brain in Einstein's body, and vice versa, and the same discoveries would have been made.
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    I think the US constitution is not as ridiculous a proposition as it is made to appear on this thread. It was the first effort by any individual or group of people to codify a set of values and laws based on the human and democracy rather than some divine power or arbitrary monarchy. The document itself might be somewhat dated in its precise content, but the entire exercise of drafting it and setting up the United States as a democratic country was a huge intellectual achievement (please no "slavery" posts). The Greeks had some form of very exclusive democracy, but a Greek city state often had fewer people in it than a reasonably sized university.
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    Flight, and then being able to leave the planet.
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    thing about newton, is that apart from being one of the 3 greatest scientists of all time, he is often considered one of the three greatest mathematicians too (Einstein certainly isn't). Inventing calculus is an astonishing achievement, if a little diluted by the fact that Liebniz invented it at the same time (and liebniz himself is considered one of the all time greats).

    General Rel. is probably the single greatest scientific achievement, but arguably Newton was the most influential man in history.
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    (Original post by Dirac Delta Function)
    General Rel. is probably the single greatest scientific achievement, but arguably Newton was the most influential man in history.
    I'd say that title is more closely contended by Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed.
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    How do you figure that? And how does that relate to your inventor/innovator discussion (which I didn't understand either)?

    If you're talking about the "one man's" intellectual achievement, then we're trying to strip away the context of the person's achievement in order to give credit to the raw power of thought that the person had to use in order to achieve what they did. That way, it makes no sense to say that Einstein outdoes Newton as his theories supercede Newton's, because we're looking at the level of intellect required in order to do both. Arguably, you could have put Newton's brain in Einstein's body, and vice versa, and the same discoveries would have been made.
    What im saying though is that the greatest intellectual achievements arent down to one man. Their being labelled ‘greatest’ usually guarantees that they’re beyond the cabilities of just one person (even if its just due to the fact that working them out means they die before they finish). I see what your saying about their initially being one mover and shaker who started the ball rolling, but even so, you cant give just one dude credit for things like atomic theory.

    Also, we’re not talking about the human input and giving specific individuals credit for them here, we’re more talking about discoveries which are a credit to humanity in general aren’t we?
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    A fair few of the old quantum theorists would be in with a decent shout. Max Planck and his quantization of electron energy levels, for example. Almost all of our understanding of chemical interactions is based upon it.
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    (Original post by Consie)
    Also, we’re not talking about the human input and giving specific individuals credit for them here, we’re more talking about discoveries which are a credit to humanity in general aren’t we?
    Well it wasn't really specified in the OP.

    I took "intellectual achievement" to mean an individual achievement, in an intellectual field. Like examples of human achievement are conquering Everest, trekking to the South Pole etc, I thought intellectual achievement in this context was one man's mission to overcome an intellectual hurdle.

    Of course, you're free to interpret it as humanity's achievement, but then your submission of 'atomic theory' is more equivalent to the exploration of South America by European sailors insofar as it's a huge mission to do such a thing, but required lots of build up.

    The only reason I like my definition better for this debate is that it is easier to say that Man X's thinking about Topic A required more intellect than Man Y's thinking about Topic B. It's harder to compare, say, the development of quantum mechanics with, say, the development of classical mechanics. There's too many things to strip away in order to make a statement like that.

    It's just easier to compare just two people's thinking than the thinking of two whole movements, which hindsight makes more difficult to do.
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    don't know about him, but my reason is that the Analytic agenda was the first time that philosophy was pinned to something "concrete" - the use of our words. Philosophy could thus be used to credibly attempt at giving 'objective' (I know that word is open to dispute, but I think you appreciate my use of it here) meaning to our language and words. It went a long way to narrowing and defining the role of philosophy within the same sort of purposive confines that science up to that point and after, had enjoyed. Social sciences have benefitted most from Analytic philosophy, if only because the "problem" of God and metaphysics has now been removed from explaining such institutions as law, political activity and I if I might be so bold, ethics. The method of thinking that analytic philosophy prescribes remains to me the most robust method of general analysis that there yet is. But that's what I think
    Very well put.
    IF i may add my reason (which wont be half as good).Analytical philosophy through is clarification of concepts in language and maths through rigourus analysis sharpened and refined our abitlity to understand the world .It takes a step back from the world and instead questions the very things we are using to investigate the world. It shows us what we really mean in what we say and since our abilty to probe and understand the world is through language and maths(logic) the refining of these tools helps us further undestand the world.I would compere it to a person who uses a electric drill the person who uses the drill is now doubt skilled but it is a greater achivement to stand back and say how the drill should work and how it can be better.
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    I'm not going to limit my self to anything specific here and I'm obviously more than a little biased but I would say that IMO the most intellectually significant of mans achievements are in genetics and genomics; both for the intricate understanding of the phenomenally complicated systems involved and for the wide ranging medical and scientific implications of the work. (Sequencing the human Genome in itself just doesn’t cut it as the actual sequencing wasn’t a particularly intellectual task.)

    I’m particularly sceptical about those who claim writing as the greatest intellectual achievement. At what point does a simplistic means of communicating without direct bodily interaction become writing? A twig broken to indicate the route taken to friends following you? a mark on a cave wall to indicate ownership or danger? a cave painting? a series of scratches on a rock to act as a very primitive script? etc.etc.
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    (Original post by Consie)
    What im saying though is that the greatest intellectual achievements arent down to one man. Their being labelled ‘greatest’ usually guarantees that they’re beyond the cabilities of just one person (even if its just due to the fact that working them out means they die before they finish). I see what your saying about their initially being one mover and shaker who started the ball rolling, but even so, you cant give just one dude credit for things like atomic theory.

    Also, we’re not talking about the human input and giving specific individuals credit for them here, we’re more talking about discoveries which are a credit to humanity in general aren’t we?
    To get a qualitative and useful application from an 'intellectual achievement' it would certainly take more than one person, more than one generation. If we were to take the example of Newton, for any benefit to come from his discoveries and papers it took the application of his theory by other scientists and thinkers. Should we then attribute the credit to the idea or the man?

    Also, the US constitution was mentioned above; 'what on earth!?' about covers it...
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    (Original post by Catsmeat)
    Also, the US constitution was mentioned above; 'what on earth!?' about covers it...
    How can it not be considered an achievement? It was world's first democratic constitution...
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    The proof of Fermat's Last Theorem must be up there, if we are talking about an individual achievement.
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    (Original post by Lusus Naturae)
    The proof of Fermat's Last Theorem must be up there, if we are talking about an individual achievement.
    Why? All it helped us was establish once and for all that no three numbers satisfy x^n+y^n=z^n. So what?
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    Why? All it helped us was establish once and for all that no three numbers satisfy x^n+y^n=z^n. So what?
    "Why?" Don't you see? The great intellectual achievement - a huge part of which was the achievement of one mind over eight years - is being able to prove that there are no integer solutions for x, y, z of that equation for n > 2 ! That is the awesome intellectual achievement which has very few equals.
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    Well it wasn't really specified in the OP.

    I took "intellectual achievement" to mean an individual achievement, in an intellectual field. Like examples of human achievement are conquering Everest, trekking to the South Pole etc, I thought intellectual achievement in this context was one man's mission to overcome an intellectual hurdle.

    Of course, you're free to interpret it as humanity's achievement, but then your submission of 'atomic theory' is more equivalent to the exploration of South America by European sailors insofar as it's a huge mission to do such a thing, but required lots of build up.

    The only reason I like my definition better for this debate is that it is easier to say that Man X's thinking about Topic A required more intellect than Man Y's thinking about Topic B. It's harder to compare, say, the development of quantum mechanics with, say, the development of classical mechanics. There's too many things to strip away in order to make a statement like that.

    It's just easier to compare just two people's thinking than the thinking of two whole movements, which hindsight makes more difficult to do.
    But surely those examples you use can just as easily be translated into one man’s mission to overcome physical hurdles? The reason I have a slight problem with what your saying is that intellectual progress by its nature doesn’t cope that well with it having arbitary boundaries placed over it. All thought is a process, so saying ‘this is where man A found idea B’ usually doesn’t exactly do justice the natural evolution in their content most big important theories take.

    But yeah, I think it was just general confusion that was down to my interpreting it as heights humanity as a whole have reached, and you interpreting it as individuals.


    To get a qualitative and useful application from an 'intellectual achievement' it would certainly take more than one person, more than one generation. If we were to take the example of Newton, for any benefit to come from his discoveries and papers it took the application of his theory by other scientists and thinkers. Should we then attribute the credit to the idea or the man?
    Well yes, that’s the sort of point im partly making.
 
 
 
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