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[ODP] Semantic discussions of intelligence and the (un)importance of the study of rac
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Abstract
A commentary on parts of Hunt and Jaeggi (2013) dealing with the definition of intelligence, changes in intelligence, and the importance of the issue of race and intelligence.

Keywords: intelligence; definition; g-factor; race and intelligence

Files attached: PDF layout, TEX source.
It's "Runquist", not "Runquest". Also, this paper addresses the importance of g far more than the definition of the term "intelligence". However, by and large this is an acceptable paper and should be published.
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It's "Runquist", not "Runquest". Also, this paper addresses the importance of g far more than the definition of the term "intelligence". However, by and large this is an acceptable paper and should be published.


Fixed the spelling. New version uploaded.

Yes, but that is the point of the paper -- to argue that the focus on semantic definitions is unproductive and one should stick to measured, latent traits. I have since changed my mind a bit, but more on that in a future paper.

It should also be noted that the editor of Journal of Intelligence thinks the paper is "meaningful". The reason it was not published is that apparently their special issue was an invite-only affair. I didn't know that when I wrote the paper. Here's the words of the assistant editor in his email after my submission:

Thank you very much for your submission to our first special issue. I am sorry to tell you that comments were invited by the Editor-in-Chief only. However, I have forwarded him your manuscript and he regards it as meaningful. Indeed we are currently thinking about opening the special issue for non-invited submissions once the remaining invited comments have been published. I will let you know once a decision on this has been made and would be very glad if you would re-submit your manuscript should the special issue be opened.
This is a most interesting topic which has fascinated me since I was 12. Reading Jensen's paragraph leads one to the logical conclusion that he wanted to abandon the concept of intelligence and that g instead represented general mental abilities. Thus, he proposes that g is NOT intelligence. With this, I entirely agree. However, it seems to me that many Jensenists later wrongly interpreted g to represent intelligence, betraying his words. An example is Gottredson you cited "researchers are far from fully understanding the physiology and genetics of intelligence,but they can be confident that, whatever its nature, they are studying the same phenomenon when they study g".
Jensen's solution of equating g with general mental ability instead of intelligence is brilliant, and is based on the rationale that it is probably easier to have a definition of "ability" than of "intelligence". But a drawback of Jensen's work is that, as far as I am aware, he never defined "Ability". However, intuitively I do agree with him that ability is more easily defined than intelligence. For example, I think we could define "ability" as any mental task that requires conscious effort, which comprehends learning to play the piano or memorizing a list of words,and different skills from remembering what to buy at the shop to solving complex mathematical equations.
Thus, I propose that you introduce a definition of "ability" and, consistent what Jensen said, you regard "g" as general mental ability and not as general intelligence. As Jensen correctly said, intelligence is too imbued with vague common sensical definitions from folk psychology and also too loaded with emotional garbage. Thus, I'd like to see in this paper a discussion of what the word "ability" mean, otherwise it's like replacing a hand with a foot. Also you might as well make clear that g is not intelligence.
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This is a most interesting topic which has fascinated me since I was 12. Reading Jensen's paragraph leads one to the logical conclusion that he wanted to abandon the concept of intelligence and that g instead represented general mental abilities. Thus, he proposes that g is NOT intelligence. With this, I entirely agree. However, it seems to me that many Jensenists later wrongly interpreted g to represent intelligence, betraying his words. An example is Gottredson you cited "researchers are far from fully understanding the physiology and genetics of intelligence,but they can be confident that, whatever its nature, they are studying the same phenomenon when they study g".


For "Jensenists" such as Gottfredson "intelligence" simply means g. When people start wanting to discuss semantics of the word "intelligence", Gottfredson just falls back to talking about g itself, thus avoiding the semantic issue entirely. That is a sensible approach, copied from physics.

Jensen's solution of equating g with general mental ability instead of intelligence is brilliant, and is based on the rationale that it is probably easier to have a definition of "ability" than of "intelligence". But a drawback of Jensen's work is that, as far as I am aware, he never defined "Ability". However, intuitively I do agree with him that ability is more easily defined than intelligence. For example, I think we could define "ability" as any mental task that requires conscious effort, which comprehends learning to play the piano or memorizing a list of words,and different skills from remembering what to buy at the shop to solving complex mathematical equations.


Carroll (1993) came up with a formal, very precise definition of "ability". I don't recall Jensen citing that though.

Thus, I propose that you introduce a definition of "ability" and, consistent what Jensen said, you regard "g" as general mental ability and not as general intelligence. As Jensen correctly said, intelligence is too imbued with vague common sensical definitions from folk psychology and also too loaded with emotional garbage. Thus, I'd like to see in this paper a discussion of what the word "ability" mean, otherwise it's like replacing a hand with a foot. Also you might as well make clear that g is not intelligence.


The idea of g as an operative definition of "intelligence" (Gottfredson's position) is that one does not need to further define other words like "ability" to use it. In the simplest form, it is simply the first unrotated factor/component extracted from a set of tests. Jensen instead went for the option of just getting rid of the word entirely (in contrast to his 1980 book, where he spent nearly 100 pages discussing whether IQ tests really measure intelligence).

In a longer discussion of the topic, I think it is proper to also discuss the matter of how to define "ability" (as Carroll 1993 does), but not this paper. The purpose of this paper is to comment on some claims made by Hunt and Jaeggi, not to advance a full fledged model of human cognitive abilities, for which discussion of "ability" is proper.
I do not understand Gottfredson's position. To me, it seems an easy way out of the debate. G then becomes a totally undefined property, based solely on a statistical technique (factor analysis). I prefer Jensen's solution of dropping the word intelligence entirely and adopting "ability" instead. Be it as it may, if you think that an operational definition is preferable, please state this clearly in the paper. Also, please clarify why it's better to use g than full scale IQ as an operational definition of intelligence.

This is a most interesting topic which has fascinated me since I was 12. Reading Jensen's paragraph leads one to the logical conclusion that he wanted to abandon the concept of intelligence and that g instead represented general mental abilities. Thus, he proposes that g is NOT intelligence. With this, I entirely agree. However, it seems to me that many Jensenists later wrongly interpreted g to represent intelligence, betraying his words. An example is Gottredson you cited "researchers are far from fully understanding the physiology and genetics of intelligence,but they can be confident that, whatever its nature, they are studying the same phenomenon when they study g".


For "Jensenists" such as Gottfredson "intelligence" simply means g. When people start wanting to discuss semantics of the word "intelligence", Gottfredson just falls back to talking about g itself, thus avoiding the semantic issue entirely. That is a sensible approach, copied from physics.

Jensen's solution of equating g with general mental ability instead of intelligence is brilliant, and is based on the rationale that it is probably easier to have a definition of "ability" than of "intelligence". But a drawback of Jensen's work is that, as far as I am aware, he never defined "Ability". However, intuitively I do agree with him that ability is more easily defined than intelligence. For example, I think we could define "ability" as any mental task that requires conscious effort, which comprehends learning to play the piano or memorizing a list of words,and different skills from remembering what to buy at the shop to solving complex mathematical equations.


Carroll (1993) came up with a formal, very precise definition of "ability". I don't recall Jensen citing that though.

Thus, I propose that you introduce a definition of "ability" and, consistent what Jensen said, you regard "g" as general mental ability and not as general intelligence. As Jensen correctly said, intelligence is too imbued with vague common sensical definitions from folk psychology and also too loaded with emotional garbage. Thus, I'd like to see in this paper a discussion of what the word "ability" mean, otherwise it's like replacing a hand with a foot. Also you might as well make clear that g is not intelligence.


The idea of g as an operative definition of "intelligence" (Gottfredson's position) is that one does not need to further define other words like "ability" to use it. In the simplest form, it is simply the first unrotated factor/component extracted from a set of tests. Jensen instead went for the option of just getting rid of the word entirely (in contrast to his 1980 book, where he spent nearly 100 pages discussing whether IQ tests really measure intelligence).

In a longer discussion of the topic, I think it is proper to also discuss the matter of how to define "ability" (as Carroll 1993 does), but not this paper. The purpose of this paper is to comment on some claims made by Hunt and Jaeggi, not to advance a full fledged model of human cognitive abilities, for which discussion of "ability" is proper.
"I have since changed my mind a bit, but more on that in a future paper."

Then say so in this one.
"I have since changed my mind a bit, but more on that in a future paper."

Then say so in this one.


Exactly!
Admin
I do not understand Gottfredson's position. To me, it seems an easy way out of the debate. G then becomes a totally undefined property, based solely on a statistical technique (factor analysis). I prefer Jensen's solution of dropping the word intelligence entirely and adopting "ability" instead. Be it as it may, if you think that an operational definition is preferable, please state this clearly in the paper. Also, please clarify why it's better to use g than full scale IQ as an operational definition of intelligence.


Gottfredson (1997)'s position is: Define "intelligence" as g and g is in turn operationally defined as the first unrotated factor from a dimensional reduction technique (factor analysis, principle components, or any of the other vary similar methods discussed by Jensen and Weng (1992). She is practically minded and wants to avoid the semantic discussions that others like, especially humanistic-minded critics who want to obscure the issue.

Jensen 1980's position is: "intelligence" is well-defined and there is general agreement about what it means. IQ tests measure intelligence well.

Jensen 1998's position is: the "intelligence" is not well-defined and it is better to not use it and speak instead of the purely operationally defined term, g.

Probably what caused Jensen to change his mind is the introduction of first multiple intelligence theory and its great popularity and later all kinds of others like emotional intelligence theory.

Extracted g is better than full-scale IQ because full-scale IQ is just an arbitrary equal weighting of the subtests. The dimensional reducing methods find the most important tests in the battery and give them more weight. Jensen (1998) showed that the predictability of full-scale IQ is due mostly to the g factor. If one removes it, the remaining variance has little validity. This is why, as I wrote in the paper, that Jensen called g the active ingredient.
Admin
"I have since changed my mind a bit, but more on that in a future paper."

Then say so in this one.


In this paper I wanted to go with the hardliner g-position. It is not uncommon for authors to express different opinions in different papers and I want to stick with my hardliner position for this paper. My current position is very close to the one expressed in the paper here.
Then explain these things clearly in the paper.Also state the three positions (Gottfredson 1997; Jensen 1980; Jensen 1990) clearly and say which your position is closer to.

I do not understand Gottfredson's position. To me, it seems an easy way out of the debate. G then becomes a totally undefined property, based solely on a statistical technique (factor analysis). I prefer Jensen's solution of dropping the word intelligence entirely and adopting "ability" instead. Be it as it may, if you think that an operational definition is preferable, please state this clearly in the paper. Also, please clarify why it's better to use g than full scale IQ as an operational definition of intelligence.


Gottfredson (1997)'s position is: Define "intelligence" as g and g is in turn operationally defined as the first unrotated factor from a dimensional reduction technique (factor analysis, principle components, or any of the other vary similar methods discussed by Jensen and Weng (1992). She is practically minded and wants to avoid the semantic discussions that others like, especially humanistic-minded critics who want to obscure the issue.

Jensen 1980's position is: "intelligence" is well-defined and there is general agreement about what it means. IQ tests measure intelligence well.

Jensen 1998's position is: the "intelligence" is not well-defined and it is better to not use it and speak instead of the purely operationally defined term, g.

Probably what caused Jensen to change his mind is the introduction of first multiple intelligence theory and its great popularity and later all kinds of others like emotional intelligence theory.

Extracted g is better than full-scale IQ because full-scale IQ is just an arbitrary equal weighting of the subtests. The dimensional reducing methods find the most important tests in the battery and give them more weight. Jensen (1998) showed that the predictability of full-scale IQ is due mostly to the g factor. If one removes it, the remaining variance has little validity. This is why, as I wrote in the paper, that Jensen called g the active ingredient.
Admin
Then explain these things clearly in the paper.Also state the three positions (Gottfredson 1997; Jensen 1980; Jensen 1990) clearly and say which your position is closer to.


The point of the paper is not to give an in debt discussion of the views of Jensen (1980, 1998) and Gottfredson (1997) but to comment on the target paper which was published in a special issue in the Journal of Intelligence. There is no reason why one cannot publish commentaries on the target article in another journal. I quote them to show the hardliner position, in either Jensen's or Gottfredson's version.

My opinion in the paper is rather clearly given, namely:

It seems rather moot, as Gottfredson put it, to again bring up the verbal definition debates on intelligence in any interest beyond endless semantic quibbling as is often found in philosophy.


So I am clearly showing agreement with Jensen 1998 and Gottfredson 1997.

I honestly don't understand the continued criticism of this reviewer. He seems to want the paper to be something else that I don't want it to be. It is to be a short commentary paper (and it is already 8 pages), not a fully fledged theoretical paper on intelligence, "intelligence", abilities in general, latent trait analysis etc.. If this were a fully fledged theoretical paper these would be appropriate or even mandatory to discuss, but it is not. I ask the reviewer the view the paper in light of this.
I can't in good conscience approve a paper with which the author presently disagrees.
Admin
I can't in good conscience approve a paper with which the author presently disagrees.


Why not?
I think that a paper should clearly state your views. From this paper, it is not clear which views you subscribe to and as you've admitted, you now have a different opinion from what is stated in this paper. I do not think that a simple commentary of the target paper published in the special issue of the Journal of Intelligence is that original. It seems rather just a repetition of Jensen's or Gottfredson's view. I am not overly criticizing your paper, I am just trying to make it better.

The point of the paper is not to give an in debt discussion of the views of Jensen (1980, 1998) and Gottfredson (1997) but to comment on the target paper which was published in a special issue in the Journal of Intelligence.

My opinion in the paper is rather clearly given, namely:


I honestly don't understand the continued criticism of this reviewer. He seems to want the paper to be something else that I don't want it to be. It is to be a short commentary paper (and it is already 8 pages), not a fully fledged theoretical paper on intelligence, "intelligence", abilities in general, latent trait analysis etc.. If this were a fully fledged theoretical paper these would be appropriate or even mandatory to discuss, but it is not. I ask the reviewer the view the paper in light of this.
I can't in good conscience approve a paper with which the author presently disagrees.


Why not?


When you publish a paper with which you do not agree (except under a pseudonym for the purposes of critiquing your own theories, as David Lewis once did), you are being dishonest.
Admin
I have a new draft. Its attached. I have tried to amend it to suit the criticism of the reviewers. It now contains my current view and is shorter. Also includes the new formatting.
The author has successfully addressed criticisms, the paper is much improved and should be published.
But a drawback of Jensen's work is that, as far as I am aware, he never defined "Ability".


Jensen defined ability on page 51 of the g-factor.

"Ability. Going from an IP [item performance] to an ability is going from a direct observation to an abstraction or inference, although of the lowest order. The universe of abilities is open-ended but bounded by certain qualifications.
An ability is an IP that meets the following three criteria: (1) it has some specified degree of temporal stability (consistency or repeatability); (2) it can be reliably classified, measured, ranked, rated, graded, or scored in terms of meeting some objective standard of proficiency; and (3) it
has some specified degree of generality."
Fine, publish