RE: Intelligence and wisdom

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue Jul 16 2002 - 11:31:47 MDT

> Ben Goertzel wrote:
> >
> > First of all, let's be clear: this is an argument about the relationship
> > between two human-language concepts, "intelligence" and
> "wisdom", neither of
> > which may be of any fundamental significance in the cosmos.
> Um... this an argument about the real relationship of the *referents* of
> two human-language concepts, "intelligence" and "wisdom", which may be
> possibly be constructed in such a way as to have no solid referent.

As I usually hear/use the terms, we have words, which have referents that
are concepts.

The referent of the word "intelligence" is the concept of intelligence

By using the phrase "human-language concepts" I meant to emphasize the
extent to which these particular concepts are dependent on human cultural
and communicative conventions, more so than some other concepts are.

> Obviously there is not a surface identity between the definitions. What
> I am interested in is how the thing we call "intelligence" interacts
> with the thing we call "wisdom", a real issue well worth debating.
> I think that literally the first meta-rational skill I ever learned was
> that arguing over definitions is absolutely sterile and that all such
> issues must be transformed into questions of external fact before you
> can get anywhere. Of course, the exact mental image that exists in a
> given person's mind on hearing a certain word is also a fact - the
> question is whether it's the relevant fact, which it usually isn't.

I feel there is only a modest amount of coherence and trans-species value to
the human concept of "intelligence", and less so to the human concept of

However, there may be subsets of these concepts, or concepts that overlap
with these concepts, that have trans-species value.

My formulation of intelligence as "the ability to achieve complex goals in
complex environments" is an attempt to formulate a concepts similar to the
human concept of intelligence, but with more coherence and more likelihood
of having meaning outside the context of human mind and culture.

-- Ben G

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