• MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Otherwise I'm going to assume you were referring to the scientific definition
    What scientific definition? As far as I'm aware there is no settled scientific definition and if you just mean "intelligence is what IQ tests measure" then the charge of circularity remains meet. As for my definition of intelligence, my whole point is that intelligence is not a concept that can be defined in the way you want it defined.
  • T Clark
    3k
    How else do you explain the 6 point difference between Asians (of the far eastern variety) and Europeans?tom

    I don't explain it. I was pointing out why many people are suspicious of IQ testing. I wasn't, necessarily, agreeing or disagreeing with them.
  • Vinson
    5


    Dismissive hostility towards IQ tests has been the key strategy for elites to preserve their undeserved privilege through educational credentialism.

    Think about it for a minute and you'll realize it's true.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    IQ tests and their brethren at best single out a very few children as "special" which allows the educational status quo to continue on the basis that the bulk of the children in it can be treated as economic cannon fodder. This allows the elites to preserve their undeserved privilege by giving the impression to everyone that they too could join in and enjoy some of their bounty if only they were "special" enough. Of course, the trick of the elite is to brush the fact under the carpet that not everyone can enjoy the bounty in a system mired in privilege.
    Think about it for a little longer than a minute, and you might realise this is true.
    And the people that I have encountered (personally and through reading) that have been "hostile to" - by which I presume you mean vocally skeptical about - IQ testing have not been elites looking to preserve their undeserved privilege - Gould and Chomsky come to mind on the literary front, several Trotskiest acquaintances of mine on the personal - quite the opposite. Who exactly do you have in mind as an example of a privileged elitist giving arguments against the use of IQ tests?
  • Tomseltje
    135
    But that's to assume that intelligence is something that can be measured, and simply to say that it is because we measure it with IQ tests is a petitio principii.MetaphysicsNow

    What scientific definition? As far as I'm aware there is no settled scientific definition and if you just mean "intelligence is what IQ tests measure" then the charge of circularity remains meet. As for my definition of intelligence, my whole point is that intelligence is not a concept that can be defined in the way you want it defined.MetaphysicsNow

    Nonsense, we do measure intelligence using iq tests, so to say it can't be measured is silly, we are doing it. At best you may argue that you consider the method of measuring it not accurate enough, in wich case you ought to suggest a better option. Or you can make the claim that it's not accurate enough to reach a certain conclusions, in wich case you ought to provide at least one example of where that has been the case.

    To dismiss the validity of iq tests would be to dismiss that the ability to answer questions correctly has any relation with cognitive ability.

    merely applieng a definition both ways isn't the same as a circular argument. Stating that 1+1=2 and then when asked what two is, i answer '1+1' is not a circular argument, it's applieng the definition both ways, not very helpfull perhaps, but logically sound.

    Do you think there are differences in intelligence among people?
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315

    That's twice you've thumped the table and exclaimed "Nonsense!" although the second time you add a "that's just silly" presumably hoping that a little variety will pass for persuasive argument, but in the end your underlying argument remains the same:
    Premise: IQ tests measure something
    Premise: That something is intelligence
    Conclusion: Therefore IQ tests measure intelligence.
    That is an excellent example of a petitio principii, and I think I'll start using it when people ask me "what does begging the question mean?"

    Now let's consider in a little more detail your mathematical example. If I am presented with the statement "1+1=2" either I know what those signs mean or I do not. If I know what those signs mean, perhaps the only context it makes sense for me to ask what 2 is would be if I were to be interested in the ontological status of mathematical objects, and if that were my motivation, then the response "2 is 1+1" is vacuously circular - it's not even unhelpful. If I do not know what the signs mean at all, then presumably my question "what is 2?" is motivated by a desire to find out what symbols like "1" and "2" and "+" and "=" mean, and then to be told "2 = 1+1" is also vacuously circular and not even unhelpful. What might be helpful perhaps in both contexts would be a brief introduction to number theory and the definition of the cardinals in terms of bijective relations between sets.

    And thus we return to my as yet unanswered question: what is this supposed scientific definition of intelligence? You have not yet responded, so all I can do is put words into your mouth and suggest that "scientifically, intelligence is whatever IQ tests measure", and in which case, from my perspective that just makes the scientific notion of intelligence mean "the ability to take IQ tests". However, although I cannot give you necessary and sufficient conditions for what counts as intelligence (my whole point being to challenge the very idea that this can even be done) I can tell you that there are all kinds of activities other than taking IQ tests that manifest intelligence, so that particular scientific definition of intelligence would be uninterestingly specific, although at least it would not be vacuously circular.

    To dismiss the validity of iq tests would be to dismiss that the ability to answer questions correctly has any relation with cognitive ability.

    Well, this is a little clumsily expressed, but if by "dismissing the validity of IQ tests" you mean something like "raising skeptical challenges about what IQ tests are supposed to be measuring" then to dismiss the validity of IQ tests does not in the least entail dismissing the idea that something's being able to answer questions might be related to that something's possessing cognitive abilities. So, from petitio principii, we move on to a non sequituur. Of course, being able to answer questions is not in and of itself a sufficient grounds for imputing cognitive ability, since in one sense of "answering a question" robots can answer a question, but it would be a brave (possibly Australian) metaphysician that would infer from that that robots have cognitive abilities.

    Wittgenstein once said something along the lines that in psychology there is experimental method and conceptual confusion, and from what I can see, there is no better example of what he was on about than the IQ testing industry.
  • Tomseltje
    135


    your underlying argument remains the same:
    Premise: IQ tests measure something
    Premise: That something is intelligence
    Conclusion: Therefore IQ tests measure intelligence.
    MetaphysicsNow

    Nope, I merely stated the definition I use both ways.
    definition:
    intelligence : that what IQ tests measure
    you are confusing making an argument with stating the applied definition.

    if by "dismissing the validity of IQ tests" you mean something like "raising skeptical challenges about what IQ tests are supposed to be measuring"MetaphysicsNow

    Nope, by dismissing the validity of IQ tests I meant complete dismissal, as in claiming their validity is 0. I have no problem with questioning the validity of IQ tests, wich in my opinion are still not 100% accurate, especially when applied interculturally. Everything measured in applied science that get's represented by numbers has an error margin. Obviously that error margin is greater when one applies iq tests interculturally compared to intraculturally.

    At the end I asked you one simplequestion, You failed to adress this..
    Ill repeat it for you here, so you can adress it:

    Do you think there are differences in intelligence among people?Tomseltje

    Now either answer the question, or claim you can't answer it.. but simply not adressing it seems quite disingenious.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Do you think there are differences in intelligence among people? — Tomseltje


    Now either answer the question, or claim you can't answer it.. but simply not adressing it seems quite disingenious.

    How do you expect me to answer the question when you have not even clarified what scientific definition of intelligence you suppose everyone to be familiar with.
    Your definition:
    intelligence : that what IQ tests measure
    Well if intelligence is that which is measured by IQ tests, then intelligence for me is just an ability to take IQ tests, but then your question just becomes
    Do you think that people score differently on IQ tests?
    You don't really need me to answer that question do you? Of course people score differently on IQ tests, and presumably for many different reasons.
  • jkg20
    197
    I see MetaphyicsNow got there before me, but your question seems a little unfair since I don't believe you have really said anything substantive about what you take intelligence to be. MN's general point - if I understand correctly - is that it is a complex concept that does not have any one-one relation to some property of human beings. Nothing you have said so far undermines that idea.
  • SophistiCat
    403
    I have no problem with questioning the validity of IQ tests, wich in my opinion are still not 100% accurate, especially when applied interculturally. Everything measured in applied science that get's represented by numbers has an error margin. Obviously that error margin is greater when one applies iq tests interculturally compared to intraculturally.Tomseltje

    If IQ tests measure intelligence and intelligence is nothing other than what IQ tests measure, then I cannot see how an IQ test can be inaccurate, even in principle. In order to say that a measurement is inaccurate, you would need some more reliable criterion to use as a comparison. Even if no other measurement is possible, one might still say that the measurement diverges from what the property that is being measured actually is (assuming one is a realist about that property). But by your definition the property being measured is nothing other than the result of the measurement, and the result of the measurement cannot fail to be what it is.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Nicely expressed. I think it's pretty certain that Tomseltje is displaying some confusion about what IQ tests are measuring, and that he/she doesn't really mean by "intelligence" just "that which IQ tests measure" but something altogether more substantive.
  • FLUX23
    76


    I will have to agree with this.

    Statistically speaking, there is a difference between being "inaccurate" and having "deviations".

    Let's hypothetically say that we have some ways to measure highly objective, critically accurate, perfect measurement of intelligence, and that we have the scores for 100 random people. And then, we measure the IQ of the same 100 people.
    1) If the IQ scores are exactly the same as the perfect test, then the IQ test is both "accurate" AND "without deviation".
    2) If the IQ scores are somewhat lower or higher than the perfect test depending on the person, but overall in average agrees with the perfect test, then the IQ test is "accurate" but have "some deviation".
    3) If the IQ scores are always lower (or higher) than the perfect test, but the values itself are simply just shifted uniformly, then the IQ test is "inaccurate" but "without deviation".
    4) If the IQ scores are always lower (or higher) than the perfect test, and the values vary greatly between individuals compared to the perfect test, then the IQ test is both "inaccurate" AND have "deviation".

    I speculate that IQ test is "accurate" but have "notable deviation".

    This means that although IQ test provide good measurement of intelligence, sometimes the values deviate for certain people, making it not always accurate when referring to individuals. Such deviation may come simply from lack of education, because IQ test usually require some level of fundamental knowledge. In a lot of cases, people can lack concentration, despite being very bright, and score lower for the latter stage of the test. Age also matter.

    However, my speculation comes from the fact that IQ test and its scores are based on statistics and thus is a relative measure. The scores we get on IQ tests are merely standard deviation from the most population. As such, IQ tests should not be blindly trusted, but can be used as a reference.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Your definitions of what it would be to say that IQ tests are/are not accurate and have/do not have deviation are clear and make sense against this initial background assumption :
    Let's hypothetically say that we have some ways to measure highly objective, critically accurate, perfect measurement of intelligence, and that we have the scores for 100 random people.
    But it is precisely that assumption - i.e. that intelligence is a thing that can be measured - that is under scrutiny here, so as a defence of using IQ tests as a reference measure of intelligence, there remains some question begging going on. However, perhaps I've misunderstood what you are trying to do in your post.
  • Tomseltje
    135
    How do you expect me to answer the question when you have not even clarified what scientific definition of intelligence you suppose everyone to be familiar with.MetaphysicsNow

    You can use your own definition, wich you didn't provide but clearly must have, since you made a claim about intelligence before I came into the discussion.
  • Tomseltje
    135
    If IQ tests measure intelligence and intelligence is nothing other than what IQ tests measure, then I cannot see how an IQ test can be inaccurate, even in principleSophistiCat

    Does a measuring cylinder measure the amount of a liquid one puts in it?
    Same answer, stictly spoken it just attempts to measure it, and it only does to a degree. Any chemist could tell you that each measuring cylinder comes with a specified error marge, wich has to be accounted for in calculations based upon the measurement of the amount of liquid used for the experiment. The difference is that when it comes to measuring cylinders the error marge is relative small (in measrueing cylinders used in chemistry, less than a percent of the total volume you measure), but when it comes to iq tests the error marge is much greater. Iq's 95% confidence interval is measured iq plust or minus 15 points, wich even increases the more iq scores differ from the average.
  • SophistiCat
    403
    Does a measuring cylinder measure the amount of a liquid one puts in it?Tomseltje

    Yes. But here you have liquid, or liquid volume, and a measurement of that volume, and the two are not necessarily the same. We could say that the reading from the measuring cylinder is accurate or not if we compare it with a more accurate measurement. Or, if we are realists, we could say that the measurement corresponds or not to the actual volume. But all this makes sense only if the liquid volume can be given independently of what the measuring cylinder is gauging. Otherwise they are one and the same and to say that a measurement is or is not accurate makes no sense.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    If by "definition of intelligence" you mean "necessary and sufficient conditions for something's being intelligent" I have no definition of intelligence, I've already made that point at least once in this thread. Not having a definition in that sense, however, does not prevent me from recognising instances of intelligent behaviour. What I am challenging is the idea that all those instances that I would produce for you as examples of intelligent behaviour have one specific measurable quality in common.
  • SophistiCat
    403
    Besides, an IQ test does not merely give a binary answer: is or is not intelligent - it is supposed to measure the amount of intelligence on a unidimensional scale, which makes a much stronger claim about what intelligence is than there simply being necessary and sufficient criteria for its presence.
  • Tomseltje
    135
    Not having a definition in that sense, however, does not prevent me from recognising instances of intelligent behaviourMetaphysicsNow



    So clearly you believe to have a way to recognize instances of intelligent behaviour. In other words, means to measure intelligence. Hence intelligence can be measured. You are doing it.
    So then the question is, is your way of doing it more or less accurate than the way iq tests do it. I don't know, but eventually you die, and so even if your way is better, untill you describe how you done it in a way so someone else can do it too, we are left with iq tests.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Recognising something and measuring that thing are, in general, two entirely distinct activities. When you recognise someone in a crowd, do you measure them? Hence, even if I can recognize intelligent behaviour, it does not entail that I am measuring anything at all. So, to conclude that intelligence can be measured merely on the basis that intelligent behaviour can be recognised is (another) non sequituur.

    Also, as @SophistiCat mentions, even if all instances of intelligent behaviour had one and one thing only in common, it still need not be anything measurable - it could simply be present or absent, on or off.
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