secondly - yes i think most people's definition of intelligence includes a concept of free will.
I would disagree here. For one thing, we just had a lively discussion where many felt that free will was even possible in a deterministic universe. For another, as far as I can tell, most people view intelligence as the ability to problem-solve, which is a very deterministic process. True, the effects are sometimes visualized in the mind, but not always. Science is a process of problem solving, is very determinisitic, and is an example of human intelligence.
Animal intelligence is often categorized the same way. Chimps, ravens, some dogs, dolphins, are viewed as intelligent because they can solve problems put to them.
For example, we can develop robots that do many of the actions that would be described as intelligent in animals but nobody would really call the robots intelligent because we are all to aware why they do each action ( having programmed them ourselves)
If we had a robot that could solve problems I would be more than willing to grant it a small level of intelligence.
I guess the question I have for you is, how are you defining intelligence that A) requires free will and B) cannot be mechanistic?
you might say that an axe is a good example of human intelligence because it 'solved the problem of hunting for food'.
Yes, I would.
equally you could say that for certain animals the development of claws 'solved the problem of hunting for food' and by your definition was a sign of intelligence.
No, I would not. Intelligence is a personal, or unique attribute. "Developing claws" is, at best, a population attribute, evolutionarily speaking. You don't have any animal think to itself, "I need to kill that rabbit, so something sharp on the ends of my paws would be great," then go ahead and grow some.
This is a ludicrous extrapolation of "problem solving."
I am not defining intelligence - I would argue that we cannot meaningfully define it and in a fundamental sense it does not exist.
I just gave a definition. Your argument works just as well for anything: "I don't think streets exist, because I argue that we can't meaningfully define them, so in a fundamental sense, they don't exist." You're playing word games.
The definition of intelligence as the ability to problem solve is rather circular as it requires the definition of what constitutes a 'problem'.
Requiring the definition of a different word in no way makes the definition of the first word "circular." Every definition of every word requires the definition of the words making up that definition. The only way in which you can say a definition is circular, is if you say all definitions are circular because they all require a language, but a language needs words, and those words need to be defined by other words that need definitions, etc. So, either all definitions are circular, or there's nothing wrong with mine.
[ABE] Another way to say a definition is circular is to define a word using that word or a derivative of it, which I clearly did not do.[/ABE]
Beyond that, "problems" are pretty well defined. They are obstacles in the way of attaining goals. Now, I guess you'll just say that "goals" needs to be defined, or "obstacles", or "in."
This was why I asked you to define intelligence. I assumed it was pretty much a given that intelligence was a property of an individual.
i agree if you add a limiting factor that says intelligence can only take place in certain places (as defined arbitrarily by you) then you can rule out certain cases
If by "certain places" you mean, inside an individual's mind, then I guess this is correct, but I disagree that it's defined arbitrarily by me. It's more of, defined by the English language.
you could for example say intelligence is the ability to solve problems but only when achieved by a configuration of matter that is identified as a human being.
But I wouldn't say this, because animals have some form fo intelligence, and a computer or android could achieve intelligence, perhaps even in the near future.
the reason it is circular is because you are placing an artificial perspective on what constitutes a 'problem' and saying it is something that can only be determined by us as intelligent beings. There can then be no objective existence of a 'problem' - if its only a problem when you think its a problem. or it requires our particular brand of intelligence to identify what is or is not intelligent.
But this isn't true. A problem is an obstacle in the way of achieving a goal. An anteater still needs to get at ants in an anthill whether or not human beings are here to define the issue. Again, the word, "problem" may be an artificial, human term, but the thing it describes exists independently of us.
This is surely just as much of a word game? yes i would say what are 'goals'? it is just a restatement of the original definition. you would no doubt tell me that a population cannot have a 'goal' because that is something only humans or animals can have. This is fair enough but you must realize that it is arbitary to define certain sections of the underlying quantum field ( that happen to be in the shape of humans or animals) and say that the quantum field within this section of the universe can have goals but that any other section of the quantum field cannot.
You're a bit out there, you know that. Everything in language is a bit arbitrary. We arbitrarily call a quantum assemblage of forces and fields a "chair" if that assemblage happens to conform to a certain shape and perform a certain function. A definition describes a particular set of circumstances. In the word intelligence, it refers to a property of a certain subset of "things" in the universe. A problem is something that interferes with that particular subset or individual.
Your logic seems to imply that language means absolutely nothing because, it's all just quantum fluctuations. It is, sometimes, useful to us human beings to categorize. Sure, these categorizations may ultimately be arbitrary, but if we all agree to use the same arbitrary definitions, then communication becomes possible.
True this is exactly the every day meaning and I don't dispute this is how it is used - my point is that we are making an arbitary distinction that is not warranted by scientific evidence.
You've got it the wrong way around. Science is the description, or imposition, of distinctions. These distinctions are simultaneously what science does and what science needs.
Occasionally though there is disagreement - some people might say intelligent design only applies to quantum fluctuations in individuals whereas other people might extend that to include things like populations of animals.
And in those cases, we usually explain how we're using the term. If there's a disagreement, it is usually that very point of contention that is the whole point of the discussion. Reasonable people are able to say, "Ok, if I accept your definition for the sake of this argument, then X and Y" etc.