At the Core of Intelligence

I've been reading Godel, Escher, Bach and came across the definition of intelligence (p.26):

Essential abilities for intelligence are:

  • to respond to situations very flexibly;
  • to take advantage of fortuitous circumstances;
  • to make sense out of ambiguous or contradictory messages;
  • to recognize the relative importance of different elements of a situation;
  • to find similarities between situations despite differences which may separate them;
  • to find distinctions between situations despite similarities which may link them;
  • to synthesize new concepts by taking old concepts and putting them together in new ways;
  • to come up with ideas which are novel.

Rodney Cotterill in Enchanted Looms defines intelligence in a similar way (p.6):

...the defining features of intelligence are the faculty for learning from experience, and the ability to apply acquired knowledge to fresh circumstances. ...[it] entails the ability both to imagine a variety of scenarios and to discern between consequences that are similar but not identical. The handling of novel situations thus implies categorization, association and generalization.

In his interview Mind A Moving Story that was taken after the book was published, Cotterill refined his definition of intelligence into:

...a measure of the ability to link elementary motor elements into more complex movement scenarios.

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