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#128447 - 05/11/04 07:16 AM Re: intelligence vs intellect
jheem Offline

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1475
Loc: California
I would however have to disagree with jheem-based on gut feeling, I definitely would not name intellectual as the pejorative of the two.

Well, I did say: "To me, intellectual has a slightly more pejorative connotation to it than intelligent." Then, you'd say that intelligent and intellectual both have the same connotations? (Because, for me, intelligent cannot be the pejorative of the two.) I guess what I was trying to say is that while one can learn to become an intellectual, one is either intelligent or not. And like with many things that can be learned, one can be a bad intellectual or a good one, but one is either intelligent or not.

#128448 - 05/11/04 07:25 AM Re: intelligence vs intellect
jheem Offline

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1475
Loc: California
Yeahbut, this is a secondary evolution of the word "intellectual", quite separate from "intellect".

Yes, but, words and their meanings usually don't stand still. A secondary or tertiary meaning can easily become the primary or sole meaning. As for the word intellectual's devaluation, I was not thinking of prgamatists, but of anti-intellectuals, especially in US political history.

#128449 - 05/11/04 07:33 AM Re: intelligence vs intellect
reebecca Offline

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 4
It is probably the connotations I am looking to define. While the ability to learn intellect is not counterintuitive to me, I -again, without any form of factual reason- also agree with AnnaStrophic's claim that " 'Intellect suggests to me a type of intelligence. You can be intelligent without being intellectual, but not vice-versa.'" and the whole motor/power theory. Which would logically lead intellect to be some kind of higher, more evolved form of intelligence?

#128450 - 05/11/04 07:39 AM Re: intelligence vs intellect
RhubarbCommando Offline

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
I'm with wsieber on this. Intellect is having the faculty to understand; intelligence is understanding (i.e., using ones intellect.)

And, whilst I agree with the principle that pfranz is stating, I think that the disctinction he makes is that between intelligence (or even intellect) and common sense. Working, as I do, among academics, one soon dicovers that the former is always present, but the latter is a rather rarer commodity.

#128451 - 05/11/04 08:05 AM Re: intelligence vs intellect
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Welcome aBoard, reebecca--good to have you. Good question, indeed. jheem, I was glad to see your expansions on your first statement, because I had misinterpreted it entirely.
I would agree that intellectual is more pejorative, but I would also say that it is considered pejorative because a large part of society uses it that way. (I for one don't.) It seems to be equated with terms such as "square", "nerd",
"snob", and at best, "pretentious".

As to the distinction between say an intelligent person and an intellectual person --that's a tricky one! I don't agree that "intelligence" necessarily always includes common sense, or that the implied opposite, intellectuals don't have common sense, is true. But maybe others have seen the words used in these circumstances. I haven't. If I had to get right down to it, I think I would go with (and I believe this fits wsieber's metaphor) saying that a person might be considered intellectual based on acquired knowledge--what they say, and that someone might be considered intelligent based more on what they do--how they act on knowledge/information, pre-acquired or just-learned. Augh, no--I take it back! I've heard people being described as intelligent who demonstrate by their verbal expressions lots of acquired knowledge! Maybe it's more that a person is considered an intellectual if they demonstrate knowledge that is more esoteric (in one area or more) than most peoples'.

Hmm--where would this instance fit? (And it doesn't necessarily have to be either of the above!) One day many years ago, I noticed at breakfast that I was out of milk. Later in the day I heard a report that we would get a heavy snowfall overnight. It took me till evening to put the two pieces of information together: that hey, it would be a lot easier if I went to the grocery this evening before the snow fell. So I did. What can I say? I was young, and hadn't been out on my own all that long.

#128452 - 05/11/04 08:47 AM Re: intelligence vs intellect
TheFallibleFiend Offline

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA

Intellect refers to a willingness and ability to think deeply on a subject.

Intelligence refers to "how smart you are." It's used in many different ways. It's often used to mean "how much you know," which usage irks me. I think more commonly it's supposed to mean how well one can think. Intelligence is believed to be measured by the Intelligence Quotience, or IQ. I'm very skeptical of this. I think that IQ is what I would call "trivial intelligence."
If one accepts IQ as a measure of real intelligence, it may be true that intellectuals tend to be very intelligent.

I don't believe in common sense. First I don't believe it exists. Second, if it does exist, I don't think it's desirable. (However, I do hold to what Popper referred to as Commonsense Realism.) Nevertheless, Good Sense *is* a desirable thing. It's probably related to intelligence (real and trivial) in some way. I think Gardner is on the right track with multiple intelligences. Also, I completely disagree with the common view that wisdom is how well one uses one's intelligence. Instead I think it is another category of intelligence for which we don't have adequate description. (I mention this because it seems to me that Good Sense and Wisdom are probably related and might even be equivalent.)

Many intellectuals possess a superabundance of trivial intelligence, but are staggeringly poor thinkers. This realization came early on in my university experience and its onset (more aptly, "it's onslaught") initiated a period of profound depression and indifference. (I worked with a person who had published many dozens of papers on a particular subject on which I knew him to be almost entirely ignorant. He was a nice guy, had a few mildly interesting tales, and had the irritating knack of expressing the most trivial ideas in completely impenetrable language. There wasn't anything so straightforward that he was incapable of expressing it poorly. This was not a unique experience.)


#128453 - 05/11/04 12:58 PM Re: intelligence vs intellect
apples + oranges Offline

Registered: 08/30/00
Posts: 46
Loc: Canada
I wonder how the use of "intelligence" as meaning "information" in international security figures in all this.

#128454 - 05/11/04 01:21 PM Re: intelligence vs intellect
musick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2661
Loc: Chicago
I wonder how the use of "intelligence" as meaning "information" in international security figures in all this.

FF called it "trivial intelligence". This goes to the point about intelligence being dependent upon intellect, and versa-vice.

#128455 - 05/12/04 01:25 AM Re: intelligence vs intellect
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1027
Loc: Switzerland
I don't believe in common sense. First I don't believe it exists. You mean, sense is less common than one might think?

#128456 - 05/12/04 07:30 AM Re: intelligence vs intellect
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
A secondary or tertiary meaning can easily become the primary or sole meaning.

I don't think the meaning of intellect has been affected by the meaning of intellectual any more than the meaning of liberate has been affected by the meaning of liberal.

Not that I have any useful ideas about the meaning difference between intellect and intelligence. I think it's one of those word pairs that spark discussions about a lot of fine distinctions that aren't shared.

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