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flutherother's avatar

Does intelligence lead to morality?

Asked by flutherother (22455 points ) July 11th, 2012

Intelligence gives understanding which should result in more moral behaviour. But does it and if it doesn’t why doesn’t it?

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14 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

No. Wisdom leads to morality not intelligence. Morality is not a trainable skill but more of an innate quality.

Coloma's avatar

Plenty of highly intelligent sociopaths, so no, I do not believe intelligence is a factor to a more or less degree.
I think, as usual, it is the combo plate of nature vs. nurture, temperament, mental and emotional health, personal growth and a desire to be as decent and aware as is possible, which is often more finely honed in ones maturity.
I am a very honest and transparent type, not that I have never engaged in modest truth tweaking, but, I am the type that would spontaneously combust within 48 hours should I ever commit an act of extreme infidelity or treason against another.

The very few times in my life I have intentionally defied that little voice of conscience I have been busted coming and going. lol
Not only does duplicity not come naturally for me, but the universe KNOWS that I KNOW and reacts swiftly in swinging it’s karmic axe down upon my shoulder. lol

josie's avatar

Morality is recognizing your circumstances and acting accordingly, in a fashion that avoids threats to your existence, happiness and values. Intelligence is part of the reasoning power required to acurately recognize your circumstances. So yes, intellegence and morality no doubt have a relationship.

thorninmud's avatar

A specific kind of intelligence, perhaps. A fair bit of neurological research has been done on the physiology of the criminal brain, and one characteristic feature that’s often seen is a lack of activity in the orbital cortex. This is the region of the brain that acts as a restraint on the areas that drive rage, eating, sex, violence, drinking, etc. When the orbital cortex is silent, in other words, your id takes over.

But this restraining function of the orbital cortex doesn’t have much to do with the kinds of reasoning capabilities that we commonly call intelligence. Maybe you could say that the ability to restrain harmful impulses is a form of intelligence in its own right, a moral intelligence to add to the list of other intelligences.

The fact is that the main use we humans tend to make of our reasoning powers is to cook up rationales for our feelings. Intelligent people just cook up better rationales.

Coloma's avatar

@thorninmud You mean as I am able to rationalize that a bloody mary with celery stalks counts as 3 servings of vegetables? lol

Pandora's avatar

Plenty of intelligent killers and rapist are in our prison system and many that haven’t been caught. Like Wall street stock brokers. So I would have to say no.

cazzie's avatar

Nope. If you are speaking strictly to a high IQ, that has nothing to do with morals or emotional intelligence. People can have the capacity to solve intricate detailed pattern puzzles, but have no control over certain emotional responses.

augustlan's avatar

Perhaps to a certain degree. Without any intelligence, one would be amoral, right? So a certain intelligence threshold must be met before one could even consider the idea of morality in the first place. Beyond that, other factors would become more important, I think.

Blackberry's avatar

No. Even people most would deem blithering idiots still have great morals.

Paradox25's avatar

No, because if you’re very clever but have bad intentions then you’ll even be a worse type of evil over someone with a more rudimentary mindset. Love, and I mean true unconditional love is what leads to morality. It is all about intentions and motivations, not just the actions themselves.

ETpro's avatar

What an interesting question. After reading through the list of contradictory answers above, I believe you are all right. Now why can’t we all just get along?

jerv's avatar

No, morality and intelligence are unconnected.

JSpeer's avatar

knowledge (intelligence) is what you know, WISDOM is how you USE what you know.

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