People With High Cognition Want More

First, it seems to me (based on anecdotal evidence and personal observations) that people who are already endowed with above-average cognitive capacities are at least as eager, and, from what I can tell, actually more eager, to obtain further improvements in these capacities than are people who are less talented in these regards. For instance, someone who is musically gifted is likely to spend more time and effort trying to further develop her musical capacities than is somebody who lacks a musical ear; and likewise for other kinds of cognitive gifts.

This phenomenon may in part reflect the external rewards that often accrue to those who excel in some particular domain. An extremely gifted musician might reap greater rewards in terms of money and esteem from a slight further improvement in her musicality than would somebody who is not musically gifted to begin with. That is, the difference in external rewards is sometimes greater for somebody who goes from very high capacity to outstandingly high capacity than it is for somebody who goes from average capacity to moderately high capacity. However, I would speculate that such differences in external rewards are only part of the explanation and that people who have high cognitive capacities are usually also more likely (or at least no less likely) to desire further increases in those capacities than are people of lower cognitive capacities even when only the intrinsic benefits of capacities are considered. Thus, if we imagine a group of people placed in solitary confinement for the remainder of their lives, but with access to books, musical instruments, paints and canvasses, and other prerequisites for the exercise of capacities, I would hypothesize that those with the highest pre-existing capacity in a given domain would be more likely (or at least not less likely) to work hard to further develop their capacities in that domain, for the sake of the intrinsic benefits that the possession and exercise of those capacities bestow, than would those with lower pre-existing capacities in the same domain.18 While $100 brings vastly less utility to a millionaire than to a pauper, the marginal utility of improved cognitive capacities does not seem to exhibit a similar decline.


From Nick Bostrom's "Why I Want to be a Posthuman When I Grow Up"

Folksonomies: cognition transhumanism

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 The Transhumanist Reader
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  More, Max and Vita-More, Natasha (2013-03-05), The Transhumanist Reader, John Wiley & Sons, Retrieved on 2015-03-19
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: medical transhumanism