Poll: Is intelligence objective, intersubjective, or subjective?

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
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Imperioratorex Caprae said:
Surprisingly being intelligent and also stupid is not a mutually exclusive set of terms.
This is actually true, but in more ways than one. For instance, this could be referring to the fact that smart people have their DUH moments...but it can also be explained more philosophically. Granted, this is not the ole' R&P, but bear with me.

Before actual intelligence, everything was run by instinct. All creatures - great and small - worked to survive as best they can, adapting or killing or trying to stay the hell out of the way....or breeding like crazy. And in nature, all of this works. However, you eventually get things that have a bit of personality. Now, alot of animals can be attributed to have more than just base instinct, but we're focusing on us - the human race - because we're the stand-out animal that will go on at length about anything.

Intelligence has helped us basically conquer the world. We have an answer for every other species that would ever do us harm. Germs, bacteria, viruses, etc.? Medicine. Bugs? Spray, gas, fire, and electric tennis rackets. Predators of any signficant size? Guns, nets, cages, tranquilizers, cars, etc. Small animals? Animal control, traps, cats, dogs, and more guns. So, we know how to deal with problems. The problem WITH our problem-solving brains is that they also form opinions about things, and some of them are DEAD WRONG.

Stupidity does not exist all that much in the animal kingdom, because that costs you your life. The Darwin Awards are not about animals. They're about US, the ones who are suppose to be brilliant, but then get hurt or killed in embarrassing ways. Intelligence created stupidity, because intelligence questions the world and stupidity is what happens when you answer it wrong.
 

Queen Michael

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Jun 9, 2009
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lacktheknack said:
Queen Michael said:
Obviously, yes. If you're better at math than me then in that respect you're just plain more intelligent than I am.
What if I'm better at math than you but can't name an organic compound to save my life, while you can?
That means that I've got more of one type of intelligence and you've got more of another. Sports skill is objective, but fact remains that Venus Williams and Usain Bolt can beat each other at tennis/running.
 

wizzy555

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Oct 14, 2010
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Imperioratorex Caprae said:
Surprisingly being intelligent and also stupid is not a mutually exclusive set of terms.
I would go further and say "being intelligent" is not the same thing as "being correct".
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

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Feb 4, 2009
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Kind of false. People are intelligent in their own capacities. Not withstanding old concepts in psychology such as the triarchic theory of intelligence. People are naturally talented, which one might argue isn't 'smart', but it does represent the idea that certain concepts of human understanding are beyond merely research and practice.

There's people out there that I simply can't beat, no matter how hard I practice, at certain things. Kind of like comparing Mozart to Haydn. Haydn was a brilliant composer, and a phenomenal artist in his own right. He knew more about music than Mozart, but then again apart from musc buffs whose heard of Haydn? Mozart and Haydn were best friends, practically ... they weren't even in direct rivalry nor wished to be ... but sometimes one's talent with the extraordinary outshines everybody else, even if they lack the comprehensive knowledge and understanding of others around them.

Genius doesn't mean smart. This is particularly true of the grand majority of us seemingly having a broad number of interests and don't seem to magnetically find great talent in something. We kind of have to crawl there through sheer determination.

Like I was fantastic at tennis, precisely because I had Klinefelters (though no one knew it then until my teens) and my parents put me through a vigorously difficult sporting regimen. Spending 4 hours of physical training and practice with coaches most days. Now I loved tennis, I took to it with gusto, but I lacked raw talent and my Klinefelters inevitably meant I couldn't compete against other amateur, skilled tennis players once I got to 13 and it was eventually diagnosed as the reason. But to be fair it was also kind of obvious in some ways by that point as well.

The point is that talent alone can be a stand in for "intelligence", and it is often something you can't simply study. Whether for numerous reasons, you just didn't win the biochemical lottery. And it's certainly fair more nuanced and multifaceted than people make it out to be.

Now you can state that 'playing a sport doesn't make you smart' ... but complex hand-eye co-ordination and lightning fast reflexes coupled with precision biological control is something that simply being "smart" could never cover. Regardless of all your other impressive cognitive capacities and speed of processing stimuli, at and for, understanding the world around you, ain't going to mean you're going to hit return winners in a game of tennis compared to that pro.

Regardless of how capable you are at simply moving your body, nor how much you practice.

Intelligence is multifaceted and complementary. Simply being a human calculator won't make you intelligent if you can be suitably replaced by my smartphone and punching in numbers. Intelligence only really correlates to what you can do in what times to use that comprehensive cognition to affect and understand the world around you, and to find analogous co-ordination between the senses and meaning.

At best, intelligence is merely a feeling ofthe world around you. How good you are at comprehending meaning from what you see. You can have the processing power of a supercomputer, but it means nothing if you can't marry it to active comprehension. No matter how big your brain is, if you're utterly senseless, you're going to be unintelligible to others and yourself.

By you elevating your eyes, counting stars, contemplating that you are the universe observing itself, and pondering what dire ramifications that might have... that automatically makes you smarter than any computer that will ever exist that is currently conceivable.

In a way, artistic endeavour, and sublimely brilliant displays of sensual information transmission (and reception) that communicates meaning is the height of intelligence. Everything from the perfect presentation of scientific observations, to a wondrous ballet performance, to the perfect display of precision co-ordinationin light of everything that can be seen to be able to go humanly wrong.

It's everything we aspire to, everything that is beauty, and everything that we see ourselves in.

In a way, that stries off the possibility of true A.I. because if they were to form their own ideas of beauty, we wouldn't recognize it beyond programming, an adaptive logarithm, or a bug in the software.
 

greenpete

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Addendum_Forthcoming, big thank you from the bottom of my heart (really). That's what I often strive to explain to people around but usually fail. There's so much more to our brain than just logical thinking and what IQ tests demand from us, and the funniest thing is that we still don't know what the brain is capable of
 

The_Informed

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Imperioratorex Caprae said:
Surprisingly being intelligent and also stupid is not a mutually exclusive set of terms.
Ha! It really isn't. I've spent many years pondering why I excel at university Physics and math but cannot perform basic grade one math in my head, or more relatablely why seemingly smart people do stupid things :(
 

The_Informed

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Queen Michael said:
Obviously, yes. If you're better at math than me then in that respect you're just plain more intelligent than I am.
I think we run into a problem of induction. You can know someone is better at certain questions in a thousand cases, but can you know he's worse in the next trillion ones?

Does that make it "subjective" or simply uncertain?
 

Canadamus Prime

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Jun 17, 2009
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Silent Protagonist said:
I hate how we reduce so many different abilities to the single parameter of "intelligence", especially since many of those abilities don't even necessarily correlate to each other. It's made all the worse by the way we regard that single parameter as an inherent and unchanging trait we are born with. Memory, knowledge, logic, spatial reasoning, computation, intuition, and learning speed are only a few of the abilities we try to cram under the umbrella of intelligence. To make things even more confusing, some models of intelligence also include things RPG fans would probably attribute to charisma or dexterity.

To answer the OP, some of the components of what we call intelligence are objective, some are subjective, some are objective but are extremely difficult to accurately quantify, some are based in physiology(hardware) and some are learned(software). Having great abilities in one of the components of intelligence does not always correlate to high abilities in some of the other components. I'm not sure what option my opinion on the matter would fall under in the poll. Probably the second or third.

IMO the way we conceptualize intelligence is very stupid. Which is ironic...maybe? Irony is another concept that has accrued a bunch of different definitions that are sometimes unrelated or even contradictory to each other.
Pretty much this. Intelligence cannot be simplified into a singular concept. If I'm not mistaken Albert Einstein didn't do very well in school, but is credited as being one of the most intelligent men in history.
 

The_Informed

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greenpete said:
Addendum_Forthcoming, big thank you from the bottom of my heart (really). That's what I often strive to explain to people around but usually fail. There's so much more to our brain than just logical thinking and what IQ tests demand from us, and the funniest thing is that we still don't know what the brain is capable of
I think intelligence as a concept may only be known abstractly and therefore confined within man made precepts. All of mankind can be dumb if we latch onto then fact that our minds aren't built well for certain types of thought, tedious and long memorization.
 

KissingSunlight

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Jul 3, 2013
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A fair definition of "intelligence" is the ability to recollect knowledge and the ability to appropriately use that knowledge. While the first could be objectively measured. The latter is something that is subjective. The latter is what people refer to as "common sense". When someone demonstrates a lack of common sense, they get referred to as "stupid". Most of the time, deservedly so.
 

Queen Michael

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The_Informed said:
Queen Michael said:
Obviously, yes. If you're better at math than me then in that respect you're just plain more intelligent than I am.
I think we run into a problem of induction. You can know someone is better at certain questions in a thousand cases, but can you know he's worse in the next trillion ones?

Does that make it "subjective" or simply uncertain?
Uncertain, I'd say.
 

bartholen_v1legacy

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
Jan 24, 2009
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I view qualities such as intuition, quick learning, self-awareness, ability to look at things from different angles and think quickly as the foremost signs of intelligence. Those are undoubtedly objective qualities. I guess that means I value "social" intelligence more than book smarts, since what use is being able to recite James Joyce's Ulysses backwards from memory if you don't have the intellectual flexibility or social aptitude to make use of that information?
 

Redlin5_v1legacy

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Aug 5, 2009
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wizzy555 said:
Imperioratorex Caprae said:
Surprisingly being intelligent and also stupid is not a mutually exclusive set of terms.
I would go further and say "being intelligent" is not the same thing as "being correct".
Some people get so locked into a way of thinking that they'll follow it until catastrophic failure before they will abandon the concept. History is full of it, many leading intellectuals in Canada advocated the eugenics movement and some pushed it forward even after the horrors of a 'selected society' were exposed in the camps of 40's Europe.



bartholen said:
I view qualities such as intuition, quick learning, self-awareness, ability to look at things from different angles and think quickly as the foremost signs of intelligence. Those are undoubtedly objective qualities. I guess that means I value "social" intelligence more than book smarts, since what use is being able to recite James Joyce's Ulysses backwards from memory if you don't have the intellectual flexibility or social aptitude to make use of that information?
Purely philosophical thinkers who look at society through the lens of writers from earlier centuries alone are scary to me when they become politicians. 'On the ground' thinking, of going out into the crowds and living in the lower echelons can inspire far better working solutions than just a top down view from all the numbers alone. A mix of the two is preferred. So while the means to research, think critically and move forward informed is important, I value the person who can do this while still operating with the context of the reality of the world they're in.

So I guess I'm in the intersubjective mixed with objective fact line of reasoning? All I know is that commonsense thought alone isn't enough and laboratory thinking's value is diminished without the x-factor of human frailty.
 

kurokotetsu

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Sep 17, 2008
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Well I think the answers in the thread are a pretty good show of the answer to the question itself, since there are several definitions of intelligence but several with several points in common. That would make intelligence an intersubjective construct. It is not based on anything truly objective (there are no rulers for intelligence) but it is not entirely up to the subject so not entirely subjective.

It is actually an interesting read to go through the sveral definitionsof intelligence in the Wikipedia page.

Also interesting that many of the reaponders adhere to Martin Garnder's multiple intelligence theory even without directly quoting it without soing ao directly. It is a thirty year old idea though, so we are hardly breaking ground though.

Now I will add somethings that might be offtopic.

trunkage said:
The lack of connection between IQ and 'intelligence' is actually a result of how subjective science is in general. Generally, you have a hypothesis that you want to prove, which you develop an experiment for to provide a result. Notice how many 'yous' are in there. All measurements are based on what humans deem value and are based on our senses. IQ and intelligence are the same. You might have a lot of intelligence (skill and knowledge) as a ferrier but it is no longer deem value except in specific circumstance.
please let's diffirenciate from something like this which is a cognitive science issue and deals him humans and physical sience. Since we are dealing with humans things can't be objective, but in physics things are objective even if the experiments are biased. A meter is a meter, even if you meassure it in other scales and a completely different observer will all measure the same length of something even if on another scale. Same with time, speed, acceleration, force, etc. Those things are not subjective.

Addendum_Forthcoming said:
Kind of false. People are intelligent in their own capacities. Not withstanding old concepts in psychology such as the triarchic theory of intelligence. People are naturally talented, which one might argue isn't 'smart', but it does represent the idea that certain concepts of human understanding are beyond merely research and practice.

There's people out there that I simply can't beat, no matter how hard I practice, at certain things. Kind of like comparing Mozart to Haydn. Haydn was a brilliant composer, and a phenomenal artist in his own right. He knew more about music than Mozart, but then again apart from musc buffs whose heard of Haydn? Mozart and Haydn were best friends, practically ... they weren't even in direct rivalry nor wished to be ... but sometimes one's talent with the extraordinary outshines everybody else, even if they lack the comprehensive knowledge and understanding of others around them.

Genius doesn't mean smart. This is particularly true of the grand majority of us seemingly having a broad number of interests and don't seem to magnetically find great talent in something. We kind of have to crawl there through sheer determination.

Like I was fantastic at tennis, precisely because I had Klinefelters (though no one knew it then until my teens) and my parents put me through a vigorously difficult sporting regimen. Spending 4 hours of physical training and practice with coaches most days. Now I loved tennis, I took to it with gusto, but I lacked raw talent and my Klinefelters inevitably meant I couldn't compete against other amateur, skilled tennis players once I got to 13 and it was eventually diagnosed as the reason. But to be fair it was also kind of obvious in some ways by that point as well.

The point is that talent alone can be a stand in for "intelligence", and it is often something you can't simply study. Whether for numerous reasons, you just didn't win the biochemical lottery. And it's certainly fair more nuanced and multifaceted than people make it out to be.

Now you can state that 'playing a sport doesn't make you smart' ... but complex hand-eye co-ordination and lightning fast reflexes coupled with precision biological control is something that simply being "smart" could never cover. Regardless of all your other impressive cognitive capacities and speed of processing stimuli, at and for, understanding the world around you, ain't going to mean you're going to hit return winners in a game of tennis compared to that pro.

Regardless of how capable you are at simply moving your body, nor how much you practice.
I do disagree with your idea of the fundamentality of "talent". While some people might have a better predisposition for certain tasks, practice is still fundamental.

You bring up the example of Haydn and Mozart, with the specidic part saying that Haydn new more about music than Mozart. But for all accounts Mozart did spend large amounts of time practicing and perfecting his music. He was trained from an early age in music. While he might've been less formal in his approach tan his contemporariea he still had to continuosly practice his craft.

Sport pros practice all time. For example Michael Phelps might have talent for swimming, with a physique that allows him to do it but still he had to practice constabtly to be the best. The same can be said about Feder or Nadal or Messi or Manning or any professional athlete, as they are talented but also immensely dedicated individuals that pour the same or even more effort into their craft as their peers. Those tennis pros hitting return winners have spend more hours in the practice ground than anyone outside of their level, even with "talent" for doing it.
 

dscross

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Oh god if you are going to ask a deeply philosophical question like that we are going to get into the realms of 'Is anything truly objective'. Then we could get into the conversation of saying 'what kind of intelligence', EQ, IQ, street smarts, gifts that are unique to specific personality types that aren't tested properly in schools etc.

Even if we got that far, we need to make some distinctions between knowledge and intellect. Knowledge is what we gain when we perceive things and we often use our intellect to come to conclusions about these perceptions. Intellect is our ability to take this knowledge and come to conclusions with it through reason.

We COULD say that our intellect is how good we solve problems and is objective. But only problem is that intellect is dependent on our knowledge, what we perceive and conclude, for us to present it in some fashion. Our knowledge is definitely subjective so our representation of intellect is also doomed to be subjective in some manner; at least at this point in time. This is why it is so difficult to standardise IQ tests and why some very clever people may not perform well on them.

That's also why I cannot vote in this very interesting poll. Lol. :)
 

Strazdas

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Intelligence is objective. Our ability to measure it completely may be lacking, but i see a lot of people with lack of intelligence calling intelligence measuring as useless. Well i can understand, noone wants to be called inferior, even if they are.

Vanilla ISIS said:
Queen Michael said:
Obviously, yes. If you're better at math than me then in that respect you're just plain more intelligent than I am.
That can be attributed to practice. If I do math more than you, I'll most likely be better at it.
If we were, however, to learn math for the same period of time and I would be better at it than you, that would mean that I'm more intelligent.
Both are true. Intelligence can be increased through learning.

Dreiko said:
People confuse intelligence with IQ I think. IQ is a very specific, narrow thing, and people with a low IQ can have other forms of intelligence and it doesn't mean that they're stupid.
IQ is actually very broad and exhaustive testing of ones intelligence. It requires high preparation, a specialist psychiatrist and usually takes multiple days. The IQ tests you find online are just a scam.

Stupid is literally the medical term for people with low IQ..... In fact, thats where the insults like Stupid and Retarded orginated from - medical descriptions of low IQ.
 

CaitSeith

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Ugicywapih said:
Intelligence, as measured by IQ, is defined as... the ability to solve IQ tests. That is all there is to it, making it a mostly objective score. You still need to account for variables in testing and possibility that some answers may have been plain lucky, but still.

Obviously intelligence testing in general has been developed to measure one's overall acumen and indeed, IQ has shown significant correlation with abilities such as memory and problem solving, but it's not an exact measure of anything in particular, obviously enough - overall human intellectual capacity is something far too complex to be expressed as a single numerical score.
Sorry, but IQ score is subjective: the various test publishers do not use uniform names or definitions for IQ score classifications. This must be kept in mind when interpreting IQ scores, because they all can result in different IQ classifications for the same person at different times.