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Logo of the ISPE

The International Society for Philosophical Enquiry (ISPE) is a global, scientific, and philosophical high IQ society founded in 1974, dedicated to advanced enquiry, original research and original contributions. Members harness their abilities to enhance the growth and development of enlightened culture and progressive civilization.


ISPE was founded by Chev. Dr. Christopher Harding. Dr. Harding, who resides in Queensland Australia, is a psychometrics expert. The Society is organised by voluntary elected and appointed Officers in accordance with its Charter.[1]

The motto of ISPE is "Quaere Verum" which means "Seek Truth." ISPE as an organisation does not hold any official political opinion or affiliation. Its goals focus on the harnessing of intellect for the betterment of society and on providing a forum for discourse and exchange intended to foster the intellectual development of its members.

The Journal of the Society is called Telicom (ISSN 1087-6456). This title is derived from "telic" (towards a principle or goal) and an abbreviation of "communication". It publishes original artwork, poetry and articles that preferably are "of interest to a broad segment of the membership." In particular, controversial matters eliciting a lively discussion are welcome. Telicom is published six times per year.


Admission is generally limited to people in the top 0.1% (99.9th percentile) of cognitive ability as measured by accepted tests of IQ or aptitude in the general population. The ISPE is known informally as "the Thousand," the name first (and briefly) given to the society in 1974, because its admission level is one person in a thousand (3.09 standard deviations above the mean of a normal distribution). This works out to be a score of 149 for an IQ test like the Stanford-Binet, which has a standard deviation of 16, or 146 for tests using a standard deviation of 15, such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.

The Society is governed democratically by vote of full Members and above.

Scope of Activities

In 1981, the Guinness World Records|Guinness Book of World Records (ISBN 0-8069-0198-5) stated that the ISPE had "239 members, of whom all have mean IQ of 160, none below 148, and some above 183." (page 35). Another reference appears in the 1993 edition.

In April 2006, membership had grown to 583 members in 29 countries, although the majority (81.65%) resided in the USA in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

The 29 countries are Australia, Belgium, Canada, China (Hong Kong SAR), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and USA[2].

Levels of Membership

ISPE features a system of advancement designed to encourage members to use their abilities for the benefit of mankind. There are six ordinary levels of membership:[1]

  • Associate Member (66.7%)
  • Member (14.1%)
  • Fellow (7.4%)
  • Senior Fellow (4.6%)
  • Senior Research Fellow (3.3%)
  • Diplomate (2.7%).

There is also a seventh special level of "Philosopher" (0.5%).

New members join at the Associate level and gain voting priveleges upon advancement to Member. The first six levels can be achieved by demonstrating various accomplishments that put into practice the goals of the Society. The level of Diplomate requires approval from the majority of members voting when the candidate is nominated for advancement. Philosopher is the highest level. It is rare and can only be achieved by appointment.[1]

Additionally, Mentors (0.7%) and Honorary Members are distinguished people from outside the Society.[1] Paul R. Ehrlich became an Honorary Member in 1991.

ISPE Goals[]

The Charter of the ISPE[1] lists nine ISPE Goals:

  • To encourage written communications between members with similar interests and intellectual levels of ability, for the purpose of exchanging thoughts, ideas, and discoveries. To nourish the inherent curiosity of our members by thoughtful enquiry and response, while broadening their horizons of knowledge and wisdom.
  • To encourage members toward personal accomplishments in the provision of service to the Society and contributions to humanity in general.
  • To provide a channel for individual initiative and to offer members the opportunity to advance in the Society and to become officers and serve in executive or leadership posts in which they can benefit the Society while enriching their own experiences.
  • To offer members in positions of responsibility outside the Society the opportunity to help other members further their potential.
  • To continue to expand the membership roll of our Society by encouraging members to seek out and propose qualified individuals for testing of their range of potential abilities for the purpose of joining the Society, thus enlarging its pool of able people and broadening the horizons of all of them.
  • To accumulate a natural resource of talent and ability, and to help our members achieve the success and recognition they are equipped to earn.
  • To provide a correspondence-type consulting service for members who may seek it in their education, present vocation, and life's work. To make available the guidance and advice of more seasoned and experienced members to other members who may benefit from their knowledge.
  • To link all members together and cement their relationships through the monthly journal, Telicom, which will keep them informed of Society activities and from which they can benefit through sharing experiences with other members. Contributions of material and biographical or autobiographical sketches of members who have earned advancement within the Society, or who have made some outstanding contribution either within or outside the Society, shall be sought and published, for the edification of and stimulation of ideas among other members.
  • To extend our potentials through health and longevity.

External References[]

ISPE is referred to in the following publications.

  • Philip J. Carter, Christopher P. Harding and Marcel Feenstra, The Ultimate IQ Challenge, Ward Lock Limited, August 1994, 128 pages, ISBN 0-7063-7232-8. (This book contains the ISPE Vocabulary Test 'A' with answers and percentile rankings.)
  • Lorraine M Dahlstrom, Writing Down the Days: 365 Creative Journaling Ideas for Young People, Free Spirit Publishing, 1990, page 112, ISBN 0-915793-19-9.
  • Robert Famighetti, The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2000: Millennium Collector's Edition, St. Martin's Press, 2000, page 289, ISBN 0-88687-847-0. (This lists the ISPE under 'Associations and Societies'.)
  • Marcel Feenstra, Philip J. Carter, and Christopher P. Harding, The Ultimate IQ Book, Ward Lock Limited, September 1993, 128 pages, ISBN 0-7063-7148-8. (This book contains the ISPE Vocabulary Test 'B' with answers and percentile rankings.)
  • Ida Fleiß, Hochbegabung und Hochbegabte. Mit Berichten Betroffener, Tectum Verlag, 2003, pages 42-43, ISBN 3-8288-8452-0.
  • Richard A. Kapnick and Aidan A. Kelly (Eds.), Thinking on the Edge: Essays by Members of the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry, Agamemnon Press, June 1993, 410 pages, ISBN 1-883322-00-6.
  • Norris McWhirter, Guinness Book of World Records, Sterling Publishing Company, 1981, page 35, ISBN 0-8069-0198-5.
  • Norris McWhirter, The Guinness Book of Records, Bantam Books, 1993, page 386, ISBN 0-553-56257-6.
  • Warren Oskey, Spiritual Awareness: Pathway to Enlightenment, Xlibris Corporation, 2000, page 377, ISBN 0-7388-1263-3.
  • Daniel Price, Slick: A Novel, Villard, August 2004, 464 pages, ISBN 1-4000-6234-9. (Chapter 7 contains a reference to the ISPE.)

See also[]


Copies of these publications for verification purposes may be obtained from the ISPE.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 International Society for Philosophical Enquiry, Charter of The International Society for Philosophical Enquiry, September 2003.
  2. ISPE Roster: Official Roster of the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry, Spring 2006, 112 pages.

External links[]

de:International Society for Philosophical Enquiry
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