In the Praxis philosophy module, I watched a video by Daniel Dennett called, “How to Think Like a Philosopher.” In this video he discusses the meaning of Intuition Pumps and how they affect philosophers. According to Dennett, intuition pumps are, “little stories that lead us to a conclusion… quite the persuasion machines.”

This reminded me of a study that was sent in a weekly email by our founder of Praxis, Isaac Morehouse. The study went like this. 50 male college students were instructed to only smile at girls wearing the color red. In the course of a few weeks, the number of girls wearing red increased. Why did this happen? The study concludes that the act of kindness (smiling at the girls) was subconsciously ingrained in their system having improved their day. The red clothing associated itself with the good day hence the increase in wearing it. The study results were looking at the subconscious effects of learning.

When I watched Daniel Dennett’s video about Intuition Pumps, I knew this was the type of story he was talking about. An Intuition Pump based on an informal study that questioned the subconscious effects of learning. What Dennett includes is that not all intuition pumps are legitimate. He encourages people to question these conclusions and tinker with their components. If intuition pumps are tested with multiple changes and come up with the same answers, then we can conclude that it is a sensible argument.

Since red is my favorite color, let’s start an international, informal study towards grand intuition. Go outside and smile at a girl with red clothing.

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