2. Definition of intelligence

Colloquial language has numerous definitions for intelligence, and some of the meanings are opposite from what you would expect.

The doctrine is very divided and influenced for the social acceptance of its proposals. An author who proposed a definition of intelligence that everyone has a very similar endowment of intelligence and that everyone can become very intelligent would have a lot more possibilities for the publicity and promotion of his/her ideas than if he/she had proposed the contrary.

Another promising and complementary path, different from the previous, is minimizing the importance of the classic concept or definition of intelligence and associating the marvellous word to other aspects of life, such as social or emotional success; so, exaggerating a little, we could find that the lottery could be considered a representation of the winner's economic intelligence or that having lots of friends could represent emotional intelligence.

These doctrinal tendencies, even the most serious and scientific ones, such as the theory of multiple intelligences, suffer from an additional problem, which is that they reach the general public with a fairly distorted content, who are victims of their accelerated acceptance.

In short, I would say to both professionals in this subject and the general public that the false humbleness is not humbleness but rather falseness, which of course does not help scientific development at all, especially in the planning of an educative system. The supposed quasi-equality of the genetic endowment of intelligence could impede the comprehension of complex social phenomenon...

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From the Vox General Dictionary of the Spanish Language, we can stress the following two meanings:

  • The ability to understand, a greater or lesser capacity to know or learn.

  • A group of all the functions whose objective is knowledge (sensation, association, memory, imagination, understanding, reason, conscience).

In my opinion, they are good and acceptable definitions in the sphere of language, but somewhat imprecise technically. In the first definition of intelligence, aspects related to learning that do not have much to do with intelligence, such as memory in its distinct dimension of the memory manager, are included. The second is excessively generic.

The reflections made about the multifunctional and multifaceted nature of intelligence, the conditions or requirements associated to the desired responses and its hereditary nature, allow us to make a conceptual approximation to the different meanings used to propose a new definition of intelligence.



2.a) Relational intelligence

This name is an attempt to gather what we have expressed on various occasions, that we understand intelligence as a capacity for making abstract relations. Therefore, it will be formed by the group of abstract elemental relational functions that allow for any fairly complex relational operation to be carried out.

So, we can cite the following relations as known examples: above / below, large / small, general / specific, deep / high-pitched, smooth / rough, dark / light, matt / shiny, in front / behind, kind / rude, sour / mild, direct / refined, sweet / bitter, intense / light, good / bad, etc.

These conceptual relations are surely not as elemental as they seem. For example, all appear slightly binary, but this is not a necessary condition to be considered a basic relation. Also, they can be understood in an increasing linear order, some may be better represented in two dimensions. In any case, I hope that they serve to express what we are trying to say.



2.b) Conditional intelligence

As we have seen, the cognitive functions work depending on the demanded requirements regarding response reliability. Surely we could specify another type of operating conditions for intelligence and we would obtain other classifications for it.

These demands as for its articulation define conditional intelligence for us, indicating that the same group of functions of relational intelligence can assume different conditional intelligences depending on the operative form.

The concept is important given that, on one hand, it provides us with an instrument for identifying certain cases of special significance, and on the other hand, it reminds us that elemental functions are the same when the only variation of the particular case refers to the operative conditions.