Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I was having a conversation the other day when the opportunity to embark on a conversation gambit arose. When challenged to define intelligence, I thought that in light of Jaynes, Dennet, et. al; there was a reason that intelligence was so hard to define. The reason is that there is no such thing. What passes for the catch-all word intelligence, is really just a set of skills, all of which are learned unconsciously. I thought that it was the facade of the Cartesian Theater that propagated the notion of a 'homunculus' driven intelligence that directs and manages the 'skills'. As I further explored this gambit I became further convinced that there is no 'skill manager' that we ambitiously call intelligence.
So the next iteration of the problem of course is to quantize the homunculus into skills. This is where the work lies. It seemed at first glance that a large part of what we call intelligence, or at least the part that is most visible, is merely oral or written skills (enter Dr. Jaynes.) The next largest part is merely the rate at which one acquires skills. This last portion seems to me to be where an interesting discussion can flourish. Additionally, there are interesting grey areas of abstract problem solving where identifying an unconscious skill becomes occluded.
Questions and comments are most welcome. Paradoxes illuminated or revealed shall also be considered.

1 comment:

rainswept said...


There is a level of skill
and perhaps the speed with which you improve your level of skill

?Intelligence = shorthand for the good judgement to know when an improvement in your level of skill is necessary

?Character then consists in acting on said 'intelligence'