Thanks for sharing these ideas, which, for me, raise a long standing problem.

The concept of 'intelligence' emerged as an ascription of a quality to humans and other animals who are capable of certain capabilities. That is to say, the starting point was the behaviours, and this led to the definition of the concept which charactarised those behaviours. This seems to be what you are describing in your section 1. The Concept of Intelligence, with the list (a) to (m).

In section 2, on the other hand, you speak of 'problem solving' as 'the major embodiment of intelligence'. In this case, 'intelligence' is no longer a description of behaviours, but rather the entity which makes those behaviours possible.

There is nothing wrong with hypothesising that an ascribed quality is in fact a verifiable entity. We can go and look for evidence that the entity exists, and that is often how science moves forward. But in the present case the concept of general intelligence (G), as a causal force rather than a statistical tool, is open to doubt. If there is a general intelligence (as opposed to a collection of capabilities) which can be 'embodied' in problem solving, then a number of difficult problems are raised. Where does this general intelligence reside? What is it composed of? How is it deployed in our problem solving and other aspects of our living?

Our understanding of this is complicated by our experience of day to day interactions, in which we interact with people as wholes rather than a collection of individual capabilities. This gives us the intuition that some people have more of the quality of general intelligence about them than do others. And in our language it is reasonable to have a word which refers to that impression which we have, and that is how we use the word 'intelligence'. But in our scientific endeavours we need to be more cautious and critical, and aspire to making a distinction between observable mechanisms and ascribed qualities (not that this is necessarily easy to achieve in methodological terms). Because of this I am sympathetic to Steven's request for differentiation of the topics and types of inquiry. If we do not go down this road then we should recognise the possibility that we will end up with a theory which is the equivalent of the phlogiston explanation for combustion.

My background is in education, not in intelligence research, so I am happy to be corrected by those with greater expertise!


On 07/03/15 03:53, 钟义信 wrote:
Dear Pedro,

Thank you very much for recommending Ms. ZHAO's good topic, intelligence
science, for discussion at FIS platform. I think it very much valuable that Ms.
ZHAO put forward to us the great challenge of methodology shift. The attached
file expressed some of my understanding on this iuuse that I would like to share
with FIS friends.

Best regards,


----- 回复邮件 -----
*发信人:*Pedro C. Marijuan <>
*收信人:*fis <>
*时间:*2015年03月04日 19时58分15秒

     Dear Chuan and FIS colleagues,

     The scientific study of intelligence is quite paradoxical. One is
     reminded about the problems of psychology and ethology to create
     adequate categories and frameworks about animal and human intelligence.
     The approaches started in Artificial Intelligence were quite glamorous
     three or four decades ago, but the limitations were crystal clear at the
     end of the 80's. It marked the beginning of Artificial Life and quite
     many other views at the different frontiers of the theme (complexity
     theory, biocybernetics, biocomputing, etc.) Also an enlarged
     Information Science was vindicated as the best option to clear the air
     (Stonier, Scarrott... and FIS itself too). In that line, Advanced
     Artificial Intelligence, as proposed by Yixin Zhong and others, has
     represented in my view a bridge to connect with our own works in
     information science. That connection between information "processing"
     and intelligence is essential. But in our occasional discussions on the
     theme we have always been centered in, say, the scientific
     quasi-mechanistic perspectives. It was time to enter the humanistic
     dimensions and the connection with the arts. Then, this discussion
     revolves around the central pillar to fill in the gap between sciences
     and humanities, the "two cultures" of CP Snow.
     The global human intelligence, when projected to the world, creates
     different "disciplinary" realms that are more an historical result that
     a true, genuine necessity. We are caught, necessarily given our
     limitations, in a perspectivistic game, but we have the capacity to play
     and mix the perspectives... multidisciplinarity is today the buzzword,
     though perhaps not well addressed and explained yet. So, your
     reflections Chao are quite welcome.


     Pedro C. Marijuán
     Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
     Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud
     Centro de Investigación Biomédica de Aragón (CIBA)
     Avda. San Juan Bosco, 13, planta X
     50009 Zaragoza, Spain
     Tfno. +34 976 71 3526 (& 6818)

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Professor David (Dai) Griffiths

Professor of Educational Cybernetics
Institute for Educational Cybernetics (IEC)
The University of Bolton

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