The Puzzle of Intelligence

Human intelligence–including complex language, advanced tool use, and elaborate social organization–is clearly among the most powerful adaptations ever to evolve on planet earth. So why is it unique to the human species? One would think that such a powerful set of traits would be extremely useful to almost any species, yet no others have evolved these traits. Why? In other words, why have evolved brains always been so small compared to ours? Why, say, have our primate relatives not evolved our level of intelligence? Suggestions welcome.

2 replies
  1. Mike
    Mike says:

    Seems like your theory of consciousness entails in it a hierarchy of mystery. If consciousness, or at least the hard problem of consciousness is untenable due to limitations of the species, it could be the case that intelligence is linked to consciousness much the same as consciousness is linked to the brain.

    • Colin McGinn
      Colin McGinn says:

      Intelligence is not required for consciousness, or not much intelligence anyway, though intelligence probably requires consciousness. Is intelligence a mystery? To some extent it is, but there doesn’t seem to be a deep problem about how brains can be intelligent–no hard problem of intelligence.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.