Theories of Independent Intelligences as a Lakatosian Research Program

Philosophia 50 (5):2441-2456 (2022)
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Theories of different and independent types of intelligence constitute a Lakatosian research program, as they all claim that human intelligence has a multidimensional structure, consisting of independent cognitive abilities, and that human intelligence is not characterized by any general ability that is of greater practical importance, or that has greater predictive validity, than other, more specialized cognitive abilities. This paper argues that the independent intelligences research program is degenerating, since it has not led to novel, empirically corroborated predictions. However, despite its flaws, the program provides an illustrative example of some of the philosophical problems that inhere in Lakatos’s so-called “methodology”. Indeed, Lakatos’s conceptions of the negative heuristic, the positive heuristic, and the relationship between scientific appraisal and advice are all vulnerable to objections. The upshot is that theories of independent intelligences indeed teach us more about philosophy of science than about the nature of human intelligence.



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Jonathan Egeland
University of Agder

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References found in this work

The Mismeasure of Man.Stephen Jay Gould - 1984 - Journal of the History of Biology 17 (1):141-145.
History of Science and Its Rational Reconstructions.Imre Lakatos - 1970 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1970:91-136.

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