Ideally, society has established that students should strive and invest all that they have to attain the best education if they wish to be considered intelligent. However, within the film Good Will Hunting, Damon and Affleck exhibit groundbreaking, thought-provoking aspects of knowledge and experience that expose the philosophical truths of knowledge in society. Damon and Affleck touch upon the issues on knowledge: whether knowledge attained from others is truly one's own, whether knowledge from books exceed knowledge from experience, whether knowledge that can change people's lives is truly intelligent and whether knowledge should be contained or used to its fullest capacity. Additionally, through exploring these different subjects, Damon and Affleck define what they perceive to be genuine knowledge.
In the academic world, there is a hierarchy, and only those who attend the best schools and receive the most prestigious education are deemed intelligent, bright, and knowledgeable. However, in the scene at the Harvard Bar, Will shows otherwise. While a Harvard student tried to humiliate Chuckie by flashing his knowledge, Will brought him down by bringing up a convicting point. Regardless of the money one has invested in education or the amount of books one can memorize, in the end, that knowledge is not one's own. That Harvard student was not showing off knowledge that was genuinely his, but that of others: professors, authors, philosophers, historians, and more. Essentially, everything that Harvard student was flaunting was plagiarized knowledge. Though that Harvard student thought he was bright because he got to learn exclusive material that is only presented to the gifted, Will showed that he could attain just as much or even more knowledge by reading books at a library or for a few bucks. Anyone could read a book, but not anyone can discover and develop a thought for themselves.