redefining intelligence or any other value

From: Matthew Gream (
Date: Sat Feb 26 2000 - 18:20:22 MST

Hash: SHA1 wrote:

> Is there any reason, short of Mr Lorrey's hypothesized assault on
> rationalism, not to
> refer to these other "intelligences" as what they *are*: abilities. >>
>For the five-millionth time, yes. YES!! There IS a reason... drum roll
>please... and ..... The reason is, (yawn, getting tired of beating the poor
>dead horsey) that it is useful. It addresses teaching children who are not
>normally classified as intelligent by the standards the old school
>and pshycologists cling to. Research shows that when exposed to ideas
>different channels, students have shown remarkable aptitude for subjects
>they previously did not do well in.

Perhaps there should be clarity between different concepts: 'intelligence',
'learning', 'expression', 'abilities', etc. A person could be very
intelligent, but need to learn in a particular way, otherwise they may seem
to be 'dumb', because 'they don't get it', and are labelled as stupid. In
fact, they may not get it because they need to get it a different way --
which could be an aspect of their biology, conditioning or whatever: that's

Perhaps there should be a distinction between interpretive/expressive
processes (i.e. communicating with the rest of the world), and manipulative
processes (i.e. internal arrangement
and processing). This would help further understand the uniqueness of each
person, and I could probably use the example of a computing machine has an
internal capability of processing long deductive chains of information, but
has a 1 bit interface to the world. You could argue that by standard
external definition the that the machine is not intelligent. Hmm, sounds
like Schrodinger's cat.

Perhaps there should be a reevaluation of the attitudes of people, in the
way that they connect the idea of 'person don't learn well' to 'person is
not intelligent', which illustrates closed mindedness and a lack of
understanding. For instance, sometimes artists want to do _their_ thing, and
express in _their_ way, and people think they are stupid because 'they don't
get it', when in fact, they do get it, but the just don't want to do it --
for whatever reason.

There is always high regard for logical/spatial thinking; but it is not
necessarily more "important" other abilities (perhaps an idea is to think of
situations where the end of the world hinges on an indiviudals ability to
interpret the emotions and feelings of a madman ... ?). The idea of
logical/spatial intelligence being "most important" perhaps says more about
your own view of the world (why is this particular reality so important over
other realities, consider some other realities where logical/spatial
intelligence leads to survival problems ...).

As a personal anecdote, I have in the last few years experienced an
interesting form of bodily/kinesthetic intelligence. For instance, I am
speaking and suddenly a memory enters my mind of another person (who I may
or may not know) and a particular situation maybe several years in the past.
I immediately realise that my facial muscles and expression correspond to
this persons in that situation, so somehow my mind has the ability
("intelligence"?) to fit a lot of complex data together and pick out a
memory. I would argue that this is similar to when I'm solving engineering
problems, and my mind's eye has a picture of the spatial characteristics of
the problem; and I'm able to relate those spatial characteristics to another
conceptually similar problem ... a form of non-linear thinking
(metaphorical/conceptual/etc). [I could describe my current experiments to
learn about new ways of thinking: using my minds eye to see metaphors, fit
biological/evolutionary models, dynamic models, and so on; and fit them
across domains as well]

Another personal ancedote is emperical evidence of knowledge people that
have multiple siblings, and finding out that one is very good at physics
[complex problem solving], and the other has no maths capabilities, but is
very good at arty photography [complex problem solving again .. do all the
variables of light, tone, situation, emotion, ... etc solve a particular
personal "art" desire?], and the other good project management. All of them
seem to have a sort of high "intelligence", but somehow directed in
different ways.

>By the way, Binet is by no means the last (or latest) word on the subject,
>WAS a pioneer in 1905, but YEARS ago, IQ testing did not withstand close
>scrutiny, in fact this scrutiny has been helpful in creating many new tests
>for intelligence including new ones for reasoning and cognitive abilities.

Horses for courses, tests cover exactly what they were designed to test. IQ
tests look at some narrow measure of ability, albeit important measure of
ability for certain circumstances. Someone may score low on IQ, but in
be a great diplomatic negotiator and counsellor. If I were an employer, I'd
use appropriate tests for apropriate circumstance.s

>At least you studied it, and possibly Piaget, which at least gives your
>answer SOME credibility. Piaget recognized that teaching needed to focus on
>how children were reasoning rather than focusing on how well they might
>recall facts for a test.
>Nevertheless, while his work is lauded by most researchers, it has had
>effect on the school system. Gardner's work has had great impact.

Sounds like a continuing trend of recognising that each person is
learns in different ways, acts in different ways, expresses in different
sublimates in different ways, needs different things.


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