An Epistemology & A Concept Map on Intelligence Theories


Intelligence is like my multi-colored concept map. It comprises highly diversified yet related dimensions. So many theories have been formulated. Some introduce concepts that are interrelated like the practical intelligence shared by Goleman, Sternberg and Perkins. Still there are those that are totally new, like the concept of existentialism and naturalism by Gardner. I know that there are still many concepts and dimensions to be realized in the future.

One of our objectives in our course EDS is to “critically examine the epistemological assumptions that underpin theoretical concepts, educational goals, and teaching practice.” (epistemology- a branch of philosophy that investigates the nature and limits of human knowledge) To meet this goal, I have decided to form my own analysis of the six theories on intelligence.

David Perkins is one of the few theorists who consider the neurological make up of individuals a crucial factor of intelligence. Harvard University recognizes the truth behind this theory. Now they offer Neurological Education as a course. David Perkins also considers reflective and experiential abilities as part of intelligence. I believe that his theory is limited by its lack of consideration on the influence of emotions to performance.

In addition to ones neurological make up and cognitive faculties, humans also have appetitive faculties which can greatly enhance or deter the development of intelligence. If this is the case, the limitations in Perkin’s theory may be collaborated with Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Quotient Theory.

Goleman proposes that humans reason out while using their emotions at the same time. Perkin’s and Goleman’s Theories if put together will lead us to define intelligence as Emotions or Appetitive Faculties + Cognitive Faculties + Neural Intelligence.

Moreover, I have observed another limitation to the first two theories that I mentioned. Humans are also physical beings. Aside from brain neurons that was mentioned in neural intelligence, I believe that body parts like hands, feet, etc. can be used to demonstrate intelligence. At this point, Gardner’s Theory on Bodily – Kinesthetic Intelligence comes into play. Gardner’s consideration on the role of the body may enhance one’s “experiential or practical intelligence” (Goleman, Sternberg and Perkins).

A thorough reading of our Module 4 on Intelligence leads me to a conclusion that theories somehow have their limitations. These limitations can be improved by collaborating theories with the others.

Using my concept map, I have come up with a composite definition of intelligence based on the six theories presented above.

Intelligence includes all dimensions of mental processes (please see all dimensions in red font color in my map which include cognitive, reasoning, linguistic, spatial, among many others.) It also includes practical and experiential intelligence (Goleman, Perkins and Sternberg.)

Mothers and teachers need not fret when children do not excel in the aforementioned aspects of intelligence. Gardner also defines intelligence as one which includes bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic factors. Goleman also added the facets of emotions in intelligence.

For teachers, mothers and learners, study time and performance should not be a source of stress and frustration. There is no single test that can measure all of this intelligence. One may excel in one aspect and may not do well in another. An understanding of intelligence gives us hope that there is still a great chance for success despite the differences in performance among learners. We only have to identify and strengthen our weak points and optimize the strong ones. Everyone has a fair chance of success because all learners and humans are gifted with intelligence only in varying degrees.

I would like to refer to Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory and the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church in order to formulate my personal definition of intelligence. Intelligence is the capability of a person to determine the meaning of his existence (Existential Intelligence). A person who has a well developed existential intelligence clearly understands his reason for living and therefore would know how to improve and make use of all his other intelligences in order to make life worth living. He can clearly define success in his own terms and move towards its achievement.

As a mother and teacher to my children, I help them improve their intelligence (whether it is intelligence as defined by Sternberg or the others) by: 1. first and foremost, informing them that we are all created by God;

2. that whatever we have, including our intelligence, should be used for His glory (and not for selfish reasons);

3. and that a truly intelligent being is one who is able to be of service to His Creator

Knowing this, my children may become truly intelligent and successful…


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