5. The metaphor of the semaphore
Despite all the previous comments, it is possible that the concept of intelligence remains confused by its multiple meanings.
Consequently, the example of the relationship between the working of our brain and the world of automobiles can help to understand that there are many expressions of intelligence. The goal is not to impose a single criterion but to look for parallels to differentiate the concepts with precision and simplicity.
Analyzing the concept of a car can verify the degree of its complexity and possible variations. Surely, any system of vital impulse would be worthwhile, but that of automobiles is very graphic and known by all.
This metaphor has two main objectives. On the one hand, present a simple comparison of the many meanings that the word intelligence can have and, on the other, understand how that diversity makes the debate about its innate or environmental nature endless.
5.a) Concept and parts of an automobile
A car is different from a train, a truck, a ship, or an airplane. That is, its meaning is more complicated than the purely literal "something that moves" and, although we all recognize what a car is, its definition is not simple. Similarly, intelligence is not memory, creativity, mathematical or musical ability, or other intellectual abilities.
An additional step will be the comparison between different models and brands; In short, the goodness or measure of the capacity and effectiveness of a car.
A solution for the definition of a car is to resort to all its parts; known its elements, could be specified concerning them.
The engine, the wheels, the brakes, the windows are part of his concept; well, the first three, yes, but windows are not necessary!
Although the set of parts of an automobile is essential and helps to comprehend its characteristics does not seem to be very useful for a generic definition, much less for an estimate of the goodness, measurement, or assessment of its capacity.
It is enough to indicate that the brakes fulfill a critical technical function, but by themselves, they cannot perform the typical operation of the cars, nor are they exclusive to them.
Moreover, even workshops, garages, parking lots, streets, and roads would be part of the relational world of the automobile in a broad sense.
The sought-after concept will be more precise if a specific subset of the parts of the relational car is associated with some operating conditions; for example, that can allow people or things to move from one place to another and with their means of propulsion.
The different operating modes of the same subset of parts would give different conditional cars.
Now it will be possible to establish goodness indicators such as how long it takes to go from one city to another. However, it will be necessary to bear in mind the number of passengers, the state and preparation of the driver, whether it is day or night, or whether it rains or not. There are many conditions associated with the goodness of an automobile.
There are differences such as engine power, number of seats, car size, boot, all-terrain, five-wheel drive, or snow chains. Also, various external conditions, such as curves and lanes of the road.
Indeed, there will be vehicles prepared for specific conditions and very different from each other; so, their comparison is arduous.
An additional and relevant feature will be to incorporate a high degree of security for passengers.