Category Archives: James Flynn

James Flynn

I know of no study that measures whether the quality of moral debate has risen over the twentieth century. However, I will show why it should have. The key is that more people take the hypothetical seriously, and taking the hypothetical seriously is a prerequisite to getting serious moral debate off the ground. My brother and I would argue with our father about race, and when he endorsed discrimination, we would say, “But what if your skin turned black?” As a man born in 1885, and firmly grounded in the concrete, he would reply, “That is the dumbest thing you have ever said—whom do you know whose skin has ever turned black?” I never encounter contemporary racists who respond in that way. They feel that they must take the hypothetical seriously, and see they are being challenged to use reason detached from the concrete to show that their racial judgments are logically consistent.

James Flynn, Are We Getting Smarter? Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge, 2012,  p. 20

James Flynn

The best chance of enjoying enhanced cognitive skills is to fall in love with ideas, or intelligent conversation, or intelligent books, or some intellectual pursuit. If I do that, I create within my own mind a stimulating mental environment that accompanies me wherever I go. Then I am relatively free of needing good luck to enjoy a rich cognitive environment. I have constant and instant access to a portable gymnasium that exercises the mind. Books and ideas and analyzing things are easier to transport than a basketball court. No one can keep me from using mental arithmetic so habitually that my arithmetical skills survive.

James Flynn, What Is Intelligence?: Beyond the Flynn Effect, Cambridge, 2007, p. 87