What is the relationship between consciousness and intelligence?
This is an open ended question
I believe they are different entities that are reliant upon each other to a great extent.
I define conciousness as awareness of your existance, your nature, and your place in your environment. That is probably going a bit farther than most people, but what the hell. I don't think it is an either/or property. I think it has shades of grey.
I define intelligence as the capacity to manipulate known information to produce other, more immediately useful information.
I believe it takes a minimal intelligence to know what you are; to be concious. I believe it takes some minimal conciousness to motivate the use of intelligence. Beyond these minimums, I believe there are soft limits. The mind that never contemplates itself is capable of impressive thinking, but I believe it is less likely to accomlish it than the mind that engages in self-examination. Conversely, a slow thinker is capable of great understanding of himself, but is less likely to accomlish this than a genius.
I don't think these properties are limited to humans. I think animals comprehend what they are, though they probably lack the human capacity to comprehend what they could be, or what they are not. Animals also are not entirely instinctive in behavior. They do learn, and apply that learning to improve their lot in life.
My defition of intelligence is quite the same as Njorl's
For me intelligence is:
"The ability to bring new usefull ideas from older ideas, without any look to the time it needs, although smaller ammounts of time is better"
Consciousness for me depends the most on senses, a conscious person is that who is able to make the best use of his senses.
Intelligence depends a lot on counsciousness, actually there a low limit of intelligence that i see impossible to reach without consciousness.
Try to think about this
"Suppose a brain was leaving somewhere, but is not able to access any of its senses , what level of intelligence do you expect it to reach ?"
My answer for that question would be "A very low level of intelligence that does not depend on reality"
What do u think Entropia ?
Simply, consciousness is awareness (of being, perhaps). Intelligence is the manifestation of understanding.
As a side note, many noted scientists could be considered retards if they were criticized about thier consciousness. Darwin is a popular example. Where would he be without the consciousness of his friends???
If i want to explain this on my theory (well ... it can't be called a theory .. but ).
I would say that the mind (at some point) will have enough info about the outside (this info came through the sense, which i considered to be the basic of consicous), it will not need the consicous anymore (and we will be quite intelligent at that point), and maybe not depend on it anymore.
a philosophical question?
i think the two might go hand in hand really...but that all depends on your definitions of intelligence...
as stated in the IQ thread in general, i think intelligence isn't limited to "academic" smarts, but also can include a talent for making music, to paint beautiful paintings...creativity in general coupled with a drive to continue to create...
I have just told a friend of mine about this site, and I think I will have to direct her to this thread in particular. We do a Philosophy subject together called 'The Philosophy of Mind' (not run by LG ) and her general interest area is actually to do with brain/mind interaction sort of stuff.
I too waste a lot of my time trying to get my brain into gear and make it understand itself. Damn its annoying. I think trying to understand your own mind is like trying to get a video camera to film a documentary on how its insides work. Its just not possible.
But I persists.
And some of the conclusions I have reached are pretty interesting (to me...) (IMHO )
Firstly, as I have previously defined in a now extinct PF2 thread, I think we need to define the Super Conscious. That being the voice in our head, which we talk ourselves through everything with. If we acknowledge the super conscious as different to the conscious (simply being thoughts which we are aware of occuring), which is inturn different from the sub conscious (thoughts which we are unaware of), then we can be more accurate in our explanations.
Now, in the interest of brevity, I will just quickly say what I have come to believe from my own hours of intense introspection, all of which is entirely open to debate, because I don't have any good solid arguments for any of it (I only have my thoughts, which are analysing how they are thought...which instantly smells like a dodgy methody of enquiry)
I have come to believe that the Super Conscious, the part of our mind which is most commonly percieved as the intellect. The part of our mind which is responsible for humans throughout history to instantly claim that we are intellectually superior to the animals, is precisely the biggest downfall to intellectual activity.
I believe that it is actually the subconscious, which recieves sensory input directly, which then translates that input to make sense of it. Quickly classifying it, ordering it, and storing it or deleting it as appropriate.
While this is happening all of the time, another part of the sub conscious mind, as my theory goes, is also comparing bits of experience. It contrasts, compares, mixes up, plays with, puts together, pulls apart etc, all of these bits of interesting experiences. And from these comparisons etc, our ideas and thoughts come. All of our knowledge is contained in rejumbled (and non-rejumbled) previous experiences.
And now the important point: Our subconscious does all this, and our subconscious knows all of this....so what does our super conscious do? The super conscious tries to translate. And it does so poorly.
There is a lot to this, so i will need to field questions I am sure, but I just want you all to ask yourself next time you find yourself thinking about something (with that voice in your head) : Where are the ideas which are contained in this voice coming from?
the voice does nothing except make us feel like we are doing something intelligent. All of the intelligence is done behind the scenes. If we can allow our subconscious to get on with the work without being smothered by the noise of the super conscious, we would all be a lot more intelligent.
Thats my theory.
it links up with a theory that the super conscious is important because we are social beings, and we need to communicate with each other. The super conscious communicates.
My understanding of intelligence comes from a computer science background. My masters project was about computers analyzing and classifying images in a way that would try to match human perception. From my musings at the time I came to the conclusion that to be intelligent you need to be able to create a model of the situation.
So in my theory all of us have a model/s of the world. We first must recognise and classify a collection of objects. Then use the models we posses to ascertain their likely attrbutes and behaviour, now and in the future. So to be intelligent we need to perceive, so we can classify. Then we can predict.
Looking at the idea of a conscious, it fits in with my model of intelligence, you need the some appartus of perception and then prediction. Of your actions and the actions of others. So to me intelligence and conscious form a continium that can not be seperated.
What Another God metions about conscious and the super conscious I totally agree with. I've heard of studies which show/suggest the super consciousness act rectrospectivally to what you actually do. So your subconscious does something, and then your super conscious tries to explain it. Those studies changed my world view quite abit.
I like your theory. I have no idea if it is applicable to how the mind works, but it is dead-on about how a laboratory works. We scientists labor away (like your subconcious) thinking of all sorts of wonderful things, gaining understanding of the world around us. Managers, akin to your super-conciousness, then tell us what we should be trying to understand. A bad manager can really screw us over, misinterpret our work or force us into directions of research that are pointless. A good manager facilitates the flow of the information we generate.
It's all about information gathering and filtering
I agree with AG about the need to define different 'levels' of consciousness.
When we do certain things 'automatically' (eg driving along a road) we are still 'conscious' (otherwise we would veer off the first bend in the road), but that is different from being 'introspectively aware'.
My 'theory' is as follows: our brain is constantly receiving information from the external world - but most of it is pretty useless. Consciousness is a way for the brain to sort out the more important incoming information. Imagine thousands of potential thoughts/sensations/awareness competing and only a few of them reaches the conscious level at any one moment - our experience of being conscious is made by the 'winners' among the signals.
What decides which thoughts get through and which don't? That's where the intelligence of the system comes in. There are processes that 'filter out' signals that are considered to be unimportant - all done subconsciously of course. A simple example is our tendency to pay attention to rapidly changing features of the environment and ignore the constant features - ie the act of taking certain things for granted. The reason for this is most likely an evolutionary one - things that endanger our survival usually involve rapid change in the environment.
'Intelligence' should be a measure for how effective the information filtration system works. I said that the filtration is automatic and unconscious, but that's only partly true. We can also train ourselves to observe things that we normally ignore, or vice versa.
So in short, consciousness is the process of bringing filtered information to our attention, and intelligence has to do with how information is being filtered in the first place.
I think there is also another important level which you have ommited. Not only does important information need to be brought to our attention, but all of the information we recieve, even the trivial information, should be 'recombined' in various novel ways, trying to see if there are peculiar relations etc which aren't obvious.
I think it is this element of sub-consciousness which makes people particularly intelligent or not.
Putting old experiences/ideas together in new and novel ways is the sort of intelligence which allows people to create clocks with radios in them, and stoves with clocks on them etc.
The interaction of intelligence and consciousness manifests foremost in self identity. There consciousness underlies, and intelligence suffices to embody the reflective image of a sentient. Conscious awareness needs the extended focus of intelligence of other to define ego.
My thread about Subjectivity and the conscious mind
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