History of Intelligence Theories

Fun quote from Raymond Cattell on the importance of taxonomies

Raymond Cattell (1987, p. 61):

A taxonomy of abilities, like a taxonomy anywhere else in science, is apt to strike a certain type of impatient student as a gratuitous orgy of pedantry. Doubtless, compulsions to intellectual tidiness express themselves prematurely at times, and excessively at others, but a good descriptive taxonomy, as Darwin found in developing his theory, and as Newton found in the work of Kepler, is the mother of laws and theories.

Raymond Cattell

Raymond Cattell (1905–1998)


One thought on “Fun quote from Raymond Cattell on the importance of taxonomies

  1. Ruben Lopez says:

    Hopefully it’s just not my impatience or stupidity, but I dig Cattell’s “gratuitous orgy of pedantry” because I very much think he unwittingly hits on the chink in the armor of multiple-abilities taxonomies, especially Joy Paul Guilford’s SOI (structure of intelligence), probably the ultimate gratuitious orgy of pedantry and pedagogy. As a person concerned with the relevance of abilities taxonomies to teaching, I’d definitely recommend a lot less orgy and a lot more parsimony–boring but reliable.

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