Stupidity (also called fatuity) is the property a person, action or belief instantiates by virtue of having or being indicative of low intelligence or poor learning abilities. Stupidity is distinct from irrationality because stupidity denotes an incapability or unwillingness to properly consider the relevant information. It is frequently used as a pejorative, and consequently has a negative connotation. The term has fallen out of favor in medical journals as it is seen as a generic term used to describe a wide variety of conditions.
Robert J. Sternberg notes that many politicians have acted in ways that were stupid despite indications of general intelligence He argues that there is an inherent psychological drive causing some acts of stupidity.
or buffoon has been a central character in much comedy
. Alford and Alford found that humor
based on stupidity was prevalent in "more complex" societies as compared to some other forms of humor. Some analysis of Shakespeare's comedy has found that his characters tend to hold mutually contradictory positions; because this implies a lack of careful analysis it indicates stupidity on their part. Today there is a wide array of television shows that showcase stupidity such as The Simpsons
In psychology, group stupidity is known as deindividuation
in crowds, and can lead to behaviors usually not displayed outside the specific social situation. The behaviors are attributed to a variety of causes, including loss of self-identity, incentives to conform to group behavior, and other dynamics.
Quotes Pertaining to the Nature of Stupidity
"Deficiency in judgement is properly that which is called stupidity
; and for such a failing we know no remedy. A dull or narrow-minded person, to whom nothing is wanting but a proper degree of understanding, may be improved by tuition, even so far as to deserve the epithet of learned. But as such persons frequently labour under a deficiency in the faculty of judgement, it is not uncommon to find men extremely learned who in the application of their science betray a lamentable degree this irremediable want."
, Critique of Pure Reason
, pg A133/B172; tr. J.M.D. Meiklejohn
Paul Guyer (1998) translation: "The lack of the power of judgment is that which is properly called stupidity
, and such a failing is not to be helped. A dull or limited head, which is lacking nothing but the appropriate degre of understanding and its proper concepts, may well be trained through instruction, even to the point of becoming learned. But since it would usually still lack the power of judgment (the secunda Petri
), it is not at all uncommon to encounter very learned men who in the use of their science frequently give glimpses of that lack, which is never to be ameliorated."