Measurement of Intelligence, Eugenics, and the Theory of Second-Best

Recently, I added a new field to my list of interests–intelligence (which consequently was already the topic of a post here). A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a book by the Fortune columnist Daniel Seligman, titled A Question of Intelligence: The IQ Debate in America. It was published in 1992, but a quick internet research reveals that the state-of-the-art in psychometrics has not changed much since. Regarding facts and their causal interpretations, the book is quite balanced–although it might be worthwhile to combine it with Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers to get an even more balanced perspective. Where I do not agree with Seligman at all is in the area of political implications, particularly in the context of eugenics. Continue reading


Some Thoughts on Intelligence

In our society, it is good to be considered intelligent. A high IQ is supposed to be correlated with higher earnings, and who would not prefer to have an intelligent government representative (seemingly not very often the case). There would be nothing wrong about this if our understanding of what intelligence is would not be as narrow as it often is. What is measured by IQ tests and what we mostly mean when talking about “intelligence” is actually only a small part of the story – I would call this part the “logic-analytic intelligence”. There are, however, other kinds, and those are being unduly neglected. Continue reading