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Rationality and the Reflective Mind 9: The Social Implications of Separating the Concepts of Intelligence and Rationality


Basically a recapitulation of What Intelligence Tests Miss. Stanovich really doesn’t like how intelligence is used to summarize every good cognitive skill or ability. He also really doesn’t like making every good skill just another type of “intelligence” like “emotional intelligence” or “musical intelligence.” To him that just enshrines what is measured in IQ tests. It adds more confusion than help, and we already have terms to separate out different cognitive abilities. That’s why there’s intelligence and wisdom, or rationality, or fairmindedness, etc.

As I noted before, the less wrong rationalist community seems to define intelligence in the exact way that Stanovich is fighting against, which is interesting given how influential I know Stanovich has been to them.

Of note is just how much our society values intelligence. It is just about the highest value characteristic to have, and I feel that pull myself. If, as Stanovich argues, we could differentiate and emphasize other cognitive virtues, we could take an important step toward solving the types of problems caused by irrationality. Most people don’t even have a rationality standard to aim for. It’s not valued, measured, or even brought up in schools or colleges (maybe critical thinking skills?). We could use a cultural change regarding intelligence vs. rationality.

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