What, in your view is the least artificial thing about intelligence?

Philosopher's reply

Dear Robert,

There are at least two ways in which one can think about the ‘least artificial thing about intelligence’. On the one hand, one can try to identify some 'natural' aspect of intelligence unique to human beings. It could be self-consciousness, rationality, etc. For example, there is a heated and ongoing debate about what distinguishes human intelligence from artificial intelligence (in artificial systems).

On the other hand, one could try to identify the least ‘contrived aspect’ of human intelligence that all human beings can be said to possess. If intelligence is understood as one’s "ability to learn, understand, and think about things",* a good candidate that guides such ability could be genuine curiosity. Looking up at the sky at night and asking ‘what are stars?’, is an example of genuine curiosity. Insofar as curiosity leads to learning, and learning leads to understanding, a curious person ought to count as intelligent.

Take care,


**This is the definition of intelligence in the Longman Dictionary (online)

Philosopher's profile

Ana-Maria Cretu

University of Edinburgh, UK

I discovered Iris by chance. After reading an article about her first novel I bought it&read it forthwith. I liked it a lot especially as I was also struggling with writing at the time. I work on history&philosophy of science, particularly on classifications. The philosophy&the science challenge me while the history fascinates me. I often find myself absorbed in the details of a case study. What draws me to Iris is her unfathomable ability to write both philosophy&fiction well at the same time.

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