Resent to the correct address

Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2010 21:33:12 +0100

Dear Colleagues,
Looking at relations between information and intelligence brings in the need to 
explicit the agents we are considering, as the intelligence of a unicellular 
organism has not much to do with the intelligence of a human being.
An evolutionary approach may be a usable path. Begin with simple organisms and 
progressively chain on more complex ones.
In order to begin with simple enough a definition of intelligence, we can use 
Gordana’s one where the intelligence of an agent is «the ability to face the 
world in a meaningful way», and also use Stan's linking of this point to a 
process of interpretation by the agent relatively to its needs. 
Putting these two perspectives together can lead to define intelligence as the 
«interpretation of a received information to generate a meaningful information 
(a meaning) that will be used by the agent to satisfy its needs thru action 
implementation ». The agent can be a simple organism or a human being, with of 
course different needs to satisfy. So the evolutionnary perspective, where 
intelligence is linked with information (using an already presented approach: 
Needs of a paramecium, like «stay alive» are much simpler to define than human 
needs like «increase happyness». But in both cases we have information (coming 
from the environment or from the organism) that is related to the needs in 
order to generate meaningful information used to produce an action (physical or 
mental) aimed at the satisfaction of the needs (i.e. behave intelligenly by 
«facing the world in a meaningful way»). 
(more on meaning generation vs needs/contraints satisfaction at ).
But there is an important difference between animals and humans that brings in 
heavy concerns. It is human consciousness, be it first person type (phenomenal 
consciousness: "what it is like to experience something") or third person type 
(self-consciousness: perceiving oneself as existing in the environment). The 
problem is that the nature of human consciousness is today a mystery for 
science and philosophy. So the nature of human intelligence (with its relations 
with information and knowledge) has to be considered as unknown. Only its 
behavioral consequences are understandable to some extend. 
However, we can work on the relations between information and intelligence for 
animals and limit the human case to intelligent behaviour.
All the best

Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2010 09:09:52 +0100
Subject: Re: [Fis] Fw: INTELLIGENCE & INFORMATION: A Charicature. Psychology

Dear Loet,
You have opened up what may be an important box, and we need to see if it is 
Pandora's or Sophia's! Does not your note imply the following questions:
1. Intelligence is a well-defined subject of studies in psychology, but is it a 
well-defined subject? 
2. If intelligence is a well-defined subject of studies, should not this be 
part of the solution, rather than the problem?
3. Are we to conclude that all we non-psychologists can know is that, with due 
respect to your wife, psychologists know better what intelligence "is"? Is 
there a process view of intelligence in psychology?
4. Since we have more or less agreed that consciousness, information and 
knowledge are all critical to the understanding of intelligence, do we conclude 
that psychologists also have appropriate, adequately complex notions of these 
that we can learn from or contribute to?
5. Thus, are you saying that if "we" are using an inappropriate paradigm for 
studying intelligence, psychology is the appropriate one? 
6. If so, that is, if psychology is the most appropriate paradigm, what support 
does it have or require from other disciplines that are relative to point 4 
above, especially information?
Shall we see where this track might lead?
Best wishes,

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Loet Leydesdorff 
To: 'Joseph Brenner' ; 'fis' 
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2010 10:39 PM
Subject: RE: [Fis] Fw: INTELLIGENCE & INFORMATION: A Charicature

Dear Joseph, 
It seems to me that part of the problem is that “intelligence” is a 
well-defined subject of studies within psychology. (I happen to be married with 
a psychologist.) 
Perhaps, this is an example of scholars discussing a subject using an 
inappropriate paradigm. J
Best wishes, 

Loet Leydesdorff 
Professor, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR), 
Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam. 
Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-842239111 ; 

From: [] On 
Behalf Of Joseph Brenner
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2010 9:36 PM
To: fis
Subject: Re: [Fis] Fw: INTELLIGENCE & INFORMATION: A Charicature

Dear Colleagues,


I have just gone back over the discussion of Intelligence and Information to 
try to extract the major new thoughts and my conclusion is one of frustration. 
The introduction of the other thread of the fis digest confused me further, 
since I could not follow its intention or objective. I have thus charicatured 
the situation as follows:


1. Intelligence has something to do with information, but it is not clear which 
constitutes the other.

2. It might be possible to measure intelligence, but no-one knows how, or 
whether it is necessary or desirable.

3. Some lower level biological structures could be considered as displaying 
intelligence, but the term adds little to the observation of their behavior.

4. Similarly, human beings appear to have multiple capacities that can be 
characterized as intelligences, but again the term has no explanatory power 
over and above the biological or cognitive capacities themselves.


Perhaps the first conclusion from the above is that all approaches that tend to 
reify intelligence, to make it a "thing" rather than a pattern or process 
should be thrown out at once. We would then agree that intelligence is 
polysemic, and try to explain how the conceptions differ. For example, a basic 
question to be answered before looking for the mechanism for the growth of 
intelligence is if and how intelligence or intelligences change, increase or 
decrease. Another: what is the relation of intelligence to the process of 
acquiring knowledge (rather than to knowledge itself) and then, how is this to 
be differentiated from learning?


If someone can produce a real synthesis of the discussion that would completely 
deconstruct the above I would be the first to applaud it.










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