5. The metaphor of the semaphore

In spite of all the reflection on the previous points, I may not have explained the different concepts of intelligence and their main characteristics with the desired clarity. In this respect, I think that there is a terminological difficulty due to the nature of language.

Consequently, I am going to establish a relation between the functioning of our mind and its different parts with the world of automobiles, trying to find parallelisms that help to differentiate the concepts with precision and simplicity.

It is worth taking into account that when a fair amount of people, I suppose for emotional reasons, use the word intelligence they use it like the equivalent of the infrastructure of State highways along with international technology of the automobile industry plus something strange in case they someone tries to understand them. His or her initial premise is that nobody knows for sure what intelligence is!

The idea is to give an example to clear up what I have said previously, not to demonstrate that that it is the truth. All right, upon better understanding of the ideas there may be a tendency to understand and accept them as true or very possible.

Analyzing the concept of automobiles, we can compare the degree of conceptual complexity and derivations that it could present us with. Any vital impulse system will probably be fine for our purpose, but the automobile example is very graphic and everybody is familiar with automobiles.



5.a) Concept and parts of automobile

An automobile is not the same as a car, or a train, a truck, a boat, a plane, etc. That is, its meaning is more complicated than the solely literal something that moves itself, and although we all know what an automobile is, its definition is not simple. Just the same, intelligence is not memory, creativity, mathematical or musical ability, nor other abilities or intellectual capacities.

Another subject that is more obscure than the concept of automobiles -because it demands an additional step- is evaluation in regards to power to make comparisons between different automobiles, models, and brands; in short, the goodness or measurement of the capacity and efficiency of a specific automobile. An approximation would be the average velocity reached, but the velocity is more of a final effect than a capacity.

The subject becomes even more complicated if we suppose that we cannot see the automobile, that we can only observe its effects, that is, people or things that are moved from one place to another in a certain time with certain comfort, safety, etc.

  • Relational automobile

    A solution for identifying the concept of the automobile is to turn to all of its parts; if we manage to determine all of its elements, in theory, we should be able to specify the concept referred to the group of its parts.

    So, as common parts of automobile we have the motor, the wheels, the breaks, and the windows. These parts of the car are present in the concept of an automobile. Well, in fact, the first three are parts, but the windows are not necessary, some automobiles do not have windows (sometimes I use the words car and vehicle for comfort and variety).

    Although this concept of group of parts of automobile is important, and it helps us understand its characteristics, it does not seem that it would be very useful for a generic definition and much less so for an estimation of goodness, measurement, or evaluation of its capacity.


    It is enough to indicate that the breaks fulfill an important technical function in cars but they cannot perform the typical function of a car alone and they are not exclusive to cars. The wheels and the motor can at least move by themselves, etc.

    In fact, broadly speaking, even workshops, garages, parking, streets, and roads would form a part of the relational world of automobile.

  • Conditional automobile

    We can strengthen the circle of the searched for concept if we associate a sub-group of the relational parts of an automobile with some specific operation conditions; for example, the group of parts of the car that can allow for the moving of people or things from one place to another that has a means of propulsion.

    We could also associate different operative modes to the same sub-group of parts automobile and we would have different conditional automobiles.

    Now we start to be able to observe the goodness of a particular automobile, for example, to know how long it will take to go from one city to another, but for this, we have to take into account the number of passengers, the state and preparation of the driver, if it is daytime or night time, if it is raining or not, etc. As we can see, there are a multitude of conditions associated to the concept of a car's goodness or even of the goodness of a group of part of an automobile.

  • Multiple automobiles

    We can think about the existence of very different cars, parts of cars or groups of parts of cars as the power of the motor, number of spaces, size of the car, of the trunk, all terrain, four-wheel drive, chains for snow, etc. There are also various conditions such as curves and highway lanes, etc.

    There will really exists automobiles prepared for certain conditions that are very different from one another so that their comparison will be very arduous, even artificial or without real meaning.

    An additional characteristic of automobiles is the incorporating a high degree of security for the passengers; it would not be considered a vehicle apt for its function if it were not secure.