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By Potemkin
Do you figure a dog could smell his way to an atomic bomb or the Mona Lisa? 8)

I wasn't aware that it needed to. My point is merely that a dog has a central nervous system which is highly proficient at following scent trails, whereas a human has a central nervous system which is hopelessly bad at following scent trails, but which is highly proficient at abstract, symbolic reasoning. We value the latter more highly than we value the former, but this is hardly surprising considering the fact that we are humans and not dogs - of course we value our own competencies more highly than we value the competencies of a dog.
By Besoeker
Potemkin wrote:I wasn't aware that it needed to. My point is merely that a dog has a central nervous system which is highly proficient at following scent trails, whereas a human has a central nervous system which is hopelessly bad at following scent trails, but which is highly proficient at abstract, symbolic reasoning. We value the latter more highly than we value the former, but this is hardly surprising considering the fact that we are humans and not dogs - of course we value our own competencies more highly than we value the competencies of a dog.

Dogs have an acute sense of smell compared to humans. It is a physical attribute of the species. That's not about intelligence. How they use it might be.
Besoeker wrote:Dogs have an acute sense of smell compared to humans. It is a physical attribute of the species. That's not about intelligence. How they use it might be.

Dogs are trained to use their sense of smell to benefit humans. Do you know that this training does not involve the use of the dog's intelligence to improve a specific sense of smell?
By Besoeker
One Degree wrote:Dogs are trained to use their sense of smell to benefit humans. Do you know that this training does not involve the use of the dog's intelligence to improve a specific sense of smell?

They are trained to use their natural attributes.
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By Drlee
People are frightened by intelligence. They are intimidated by those who they believe are smarter than they are. I agree with Mikema's position that we know little about how it happens that some people are smarter than others.

The whole inclusion of physical attributes into a discussion of IQ is a dodge. I disagree with the early inclusion of physical prowess into tests for IQ and so does just about every expert since then.

We are attempting do define how and how fast people think. If you hang around really smart people for any period of time, (especially when they are outside of their areas of training) the one attribute that jumps out at you is the speed with which they process information. They finish your thoughts for you. Conversations progress very quickly. Language changes because it is not necessary to "explain" in such detail. At the same time the presentation of detail increases because the "learner" is able to drink from a fire hose.

Pause to cover the NFL player. He is not smart because he is rich nor is he rich because he is exceptionally smart. He is rich because the particular combination of repetitive skills (training) and physical prowess he possesses, under the right circumstances, contributes to a team winning which in turn generates a lot of revenue. Note that the best college football player in the world is paid essentially nothing. Give a 5'3" player Michael Jordan's skills and he would be the terror of the YMCA. No more than a pipsqueak who can go for three more than most folks.

Here is an interesting thing about IQ. Though IQ tests generally have a fairly narrow focus, people with high IQ's tend to be better at a wide variety of things many of which have little to do with the specific skills tested. In other words, a guy with a high IQ is not only a better physicist, he is a better garbage collector, mechanic, lab technician, truck driver, or school teacher. People with high IQs who do not focus on a career earlier in life tend to have lots of relatively successful employments, play games better, read faster, learn languages faster and enjoy a wide variety of hobbies.

It is true that many with high IQs have some trouble adapting sometimes. Imagine having to slow-down for a great many people in your life? Imagine that people do not get your jokes or puns. Imagine grasping the teacher's point at once and then sitting bored while the rest of the class tries to puzzle it out. (Some of you know exactly what I am talking about having experienced it yourself.)

Intelligence is a thing. As much as some would like it to die the death of a thousand cuts, it is a thing. Spend some time in a room where everyone has an IQ of 130 or higher. It is the garden of misfit toys for sure but quite a different experience. And don't bet money on chess.
B0ycey wrote:So to my topic, 'What is intelligence?' How do you define it? Are robots for example intelligent or just binary numbers following rules that an intelligent programmer has set out. A robot is accurate, but if a mistake occurs, it continues to execute the same mistake until corrected by a human so is this really a forum of intelligence or not? Then there are intellectual intelligence. Someone can do the most complex mathematical equations or write the perfect novel, but can they kick a ball or have any form of street smarts? Are people who are more the hunter-gather type less intelligent because they struggle to read and write but could provide for their families in a less civilized universe? This is more a philosophy thread so please give me your opinions on the matter. There are no wrong answers, just conflicting opinions. I enjoy reading them, even if I don't reply. But I still might lol.

I think this point of how a robot follows its programming to the point that it can't solve a novel problem or can adapt within very narrow limits is a point about how machines although they seem behaviorally complex today, they do not show actual thought characteristic of humans and intelligent animals.

To give a great example of the continuity of intelligence in apes and humans, Vygotsky' examined known work on apes by Wolfgang Kohler. He found that an ape would, unlike a dog, shift from erratic repetition of habitual behavior when confronted with a novel obstacle and seemingly pause to think. Its activity seems to shift from the external to the internal. Some apes were able to solve problems they never been confronted before by what was not a conditioned and trained response but clearly recognition of the structural problem.
They achieved the sudden insight or Aha moment which distinguishes the intellect in understanding from behavior that's developed from repetition because it is executed with accuracy from the get-go rather than after a protracted series of errors.
This is also why in education, the teacher traditionally guides a student through a problem because learning is about the comprehension of the problem, which then can be generalized to other similar scenarios or even ones that aren't as readily similar.
This problem solving is limited in the ape by its visual field, if the solution isn't in the same line of sight as the means of its solution, even the smart apes who solved novel problems are unable to do so.
Vygotsky asserts that children move from the sort of immediacy present in an Apes consciousness through the abstraction of language which allows planning and goal setting in a way that isn't strictly beholden to the immediacy of the situation, it is the first step to freedom from strict external influence.
Vygotsky also in an effort to distinguish the human intellect from the ape emphasizes the tool-making capacity of humans against the very narrow tool creation and use of apes such as using a stick to reach food which seems to be based in the conditioned connection of pulling branches to reach food.
Instead, humans are able to creatively adapt their world to create means to manipulate the external environment. Vygotsky also emphasizes how tools also become the basis for internal development. Such as a shift from raw episodic memory to mediating our recall through objects such as pieces of rope. Or the example he most enjoyed was the knot in a handkerchief.
We also have the advantage of appropriating the historical development of our ancestors understanding, we do not need to reinvent the wheel but are introduced to problems and their solutions already found in different fields of practice.

So I would emphasize that human intelligence isn't simply abstract knowledge, knowledge independent any practical application is not the knowledge of an object but pseudo-knowledge because how can one know something which isn't of a thing? This is clear with the student taught many phrases which they do not know how to apply in the concrete context. But this capacity for abstraction or theory is what allows us to develop greater understanding because knowledge also isn't simply doing, there has to be the comprehension of what one is doing. I like the example of individuals who produced oxygen but aren't the true discoverers of it because they did not acknowledge their discovery as a need gas, they tried to retain the novel facts of oxygen within old theories.

I would also emphasize against the robot is this capacity for creative problem-solving. This is the extremely unique capacity sought to be cultivated in students in response to automation because humans are universally adaptable rather than preprogrammed to narrow set of actions like a robot. This view is more akin to a mechanical materialist view of the body and doesn't comprehend the role of consciousness and hence the falseness of behaviorism which largely discounts any consideration of consciousness in mediating between physiology and behavior. This also explains how many people do not really think although they may know a lot of facts and so on, they do not strive to think through things they apply their accepted facts even as those facts don't fit. These are not people who can deal with the new as they simply apply old concepts without any sense of limitation.
So the truly intelligent are adaptive problem solvers, they may know a lot but this is not the essential characteristic of intelligence but simply a consequence of it, hence many with many isolated facts are still idiots when dealing with practical tasks.
“Much knowledge does not train the mind,” although “lovers of wisdom must know much”—these words, spoken over 2,000 years ago by Heraclitus of Ephes, are not out of date even today
It would also be useful to examine Evald Ilyenkov's attack on attempts to replace philosophy with cybernetics.
While doubt and contradiction (or the ‘disability of philosophy’) diminish the efficiency of reason and make it powerless in post-philosophical theories of mind or of the brain, for Ilyenkov it is precisely these traits that construct thought. The mind’s ‘disability’ is inscribed into the mind’s ability. This disability is surpassed not by means of an augmented storage of knowledge or of cognised data and thought’s functionality. Rather, it is an awareness of the disability of human reason in its treatment of the contradictions of reality that is able to redeem such disability. Moreover, thought’s inevitable disability, perishability and its bond with human neoteny – that is, the retention of protective capacities for surviving in natural environments, as a condition in which the existence of the human species is grounded – does not contradict its quest for the Absolute. 34

As Ilyenkov often repeats, philosophical and dialectical phenomena are spiral-like or snowball-like – constantly on the move and hence indiscrete as selves. The common good, labour, reason or culture are, as such, not autopoetic, but realise themselves as ‘other-determined non-selves’. Autopoiesis implies that the organism remains the self, even in the surrounding of an environmental outside and in exchange with it, whereas the above-listed phenomena – common good, labour, reason, culture – presuppose one’s positing as non-selves. ’The other self’ in this case is not simply an outside of the self, but the formative principle of the self as of the non-self, of non-identity. From this perspective, it is impossible to algorithmicise thought, since thinking is not confined to the moves in a neural network, or within the brain alone, but evolves externally including the body with its senses, its involvement in activity, engagement in sociality, and other human beings of all generations and locations. Consequently, if one were to emulate an artificial intelligence or thought digitally, one would have to create an entire machinic civilisation (one that would, additionally, be completely autonomous and independent from the human one). 35 At the same time, the very idea of programing a human consciousness or a thought as input is unimplementable, since there is not a single moment when a human being and her reason would have a stable and discrete programmatic interface that could be used as an input. As Ilyenkov argues, if there is any function of thought, it is in surpassing that function. As such, even if computation inscribes within itself the incomputable as its autopoetic potentiality, it would not be able to pre-empt the concrete paths for dealing with contradiction, as the requirement of algorithmic logic is in either solving or neutralising the paradox, rather than in extrapolating it. 36 As Boris Groys puts it, the sovereignty of thinking procedure is possible only when it is defunctionalised and miscommunicated. Moreover, a truly interesting (artistic) computer would be the one that ‘always produces the same result – for example zero – for any and all computations, or that always produces different results for the same computational process’. 37

Those who think of consciousness and thinking and reasoning as confined to the brain miss the whole development and origins of it.
In Hegelian philosophy, however, the problem was stated in a fundamentally different way. The social organism (the “culture” of the given people) is by no means an abstraction expressing the “sameness” that may be discovered in the mentality of every individual, an “abstract” inherent in each individual, the “transcendentally psychological” pattern of individual life activity. The historically built up and developing forms of the “universal spirit” (“the spirit of the people”, the “objective spirit”), although still understood by Hegel as certain stable patterns within whose framework the mental activity of every individual proceeds, are none the less regarded by him not as formal abstractions, not as abstractly universal “attributes” inherent in every individual, taken separately. Hegel (following Rousseau with his distinction between the “general will” and the “universal will”) fully takes into account the obvious fact that in the diverse collisions of differently orientated “individual wills” certain results are born and crystallised which were never contained in any of them separately, and that because of this social consciousness as an “entity” is certainly not built up, as of bricks, from the “sameness” to be found in each of its “parts” (individual selves, individual consciousnesses). And this is where we are shown the path to an understanding of the fact that all the patterns which Kant defined as “transcendentally inborn” forms of operation of the individual mentality, as a priori “internal mechanisms” inherent in every mentality, are actually forms of the self-consciousness of social man assimilated from without by the individual (originally they opposed him as “external” patterns of the movement of culture independent of his will and consciousness), social man being understood as the historically developing “aggregate of all social relations”.

It is these forms of the organisation of social (collectively realised) human life activity that exist before, outside and completely independently of the individual mentality, in one way or another materially established in language, in ritually legitimised customs and rights and, further, as “the organisation of a state” with all its material attributes and organs for the protection of the traditional forms of life that stand in opposition to the individual (the physical body of the individual with his brain, liver, heart, hands and other organs) as an entity organised “in itself and for itself”, as something ideal within which all individual things acquire a different meaning and play a different role from that which they had played “as themselves”, that is, outside this entity. For this reason the “ideal” definition of any thing, or the definition of any thing as a “disappearing” moment in the movement of the “ideal world”, coincides in Hegel with the role and meaning of this thing in social human culture, in the context of socially organised human life activity, and not in the individual consciousness, which is here regarded as something derived from the “universal spirit”.

The mind, the ability to think independently, takes form and develops only in the course of individual assimilation of the intellectual culture of the epoch. Properly speaking, the mind is none other than this intellectual culture, transformed into a personal possession and legacy, into the principle of a person’s activity. “Mind” is made up of nothing else but this. To use the high-flown language of philosophy, it is the individualized spiritual wealth of society. And this, to put it simply, means that mind (intelligence, talent, ability, etc.) is the natural state of man, the norm and not the exception, the normal result of the development of a biologically normal brain under normal—human—conditions.

2. In particular, the idea that consciousness is an emergent property that arises out of the increasing complexity of a nervous system may, I believe, lead to mistaken conceptions.

It has been clearly established that the human body, and in particular the human brain, has properties which allow for the development of language, self-consciousness and moral responsibility, properties which cannot be ascribed to any other species. This is despite the fact that the human brain appears to differ only quantitatively from the brains of other primates. As Merlin Donald (Donald 1991) has pointed out, more than 4 million years of evolution separate us from our nearest extant primate relatives, during much of which hominids adapted to an ecological niche of which their own culture was the predominant feature. This is a huge discontinuity.

Consciousness arises, I would contend, in and through the construction of a material culture, without which there can be no consciousness. Thus, the idea of consciousness arising in the single organism, as an emergent property of the complexity of its nervous system, leaps over the critical mediating process, a unique achievement of human phylogenetic evolution, of the modification of the entire body in and for the production of a material culture, without which the individual human organism cannot survive. This position, argued for so strongly by Merlin Donald (Donald 1991), is implicit in the work of the cultural psychologists (Cole 1990). Rather than emergence of the kind which has a rational basis in chaos and complexity theory, we have an already-completed process of phylogenetic development which brought about a qualitative change in the organism and its behaviour.

3. The brain does not ‘cause’ consciousness. A working brain is the essential pre-condition for consciousness, but how do we move from possibility to realised possibility?

If we consider a system from the point of view of how a given possibility can be realised, we hypothetically insert ourselves into the system in question, asking what intervention is needed to realise the relevant possibility. ‘Cause’ can be understood in a practical way only by this kind of thought-experiment. To say that something is a cause is to point to how a given possibility could be realised by a hypothetical intervention in a system. To say that consciousness is caused by the brain is to say that an intervention in the nervous system can bring consciousness into being. As John Searle has pointed out, such interventions can be shown only to change consciousness, but not to bring it into being.

From the phylogenetic point of view, Merlin Donald and others before him have shown convincingly that it was development of culture and behaviour, which introduced consciousness into a pre-human hominid species, not the other way around.

The ontogenetic evidence is that under all but the most adverse conditions, human infants with healthy brains will develop language and consciousness. However, no answer has yet been given as to how consciousness could be introduced into living tissue which was not already capable of consciousness. Thus, the ‘cause’ of consciousness has no coherent meaning in the ontogenetic context. Further, if consciousness is a feature of the brain, an organ like any other, “a system-level, biological feature in much the same way that digestion, or growth” (Searle 2004), then the origin of free will remains a mystery.
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