The Human Intellect:
A Bahá'í-Inspired Perspective

By Adrian John Davis

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #28
London School of Economics: London, England
July 14–16, 2000
(see list of papers from #28)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 2, pages 45-52
© 2001, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    The term intellect has been used very loosely in psychology, from being equivalent to everything rational to being a generic term covering cognitive processes as a whole. Even in everyday language we hear the term used in a loose cognitive way to denote people who are intelligent, such as, "He has a fine intellect." In this article, however, I wish to show that the term intellect denotes two faculties of the human being. For instance, in the Bahá'í writings, while the term intellect is also used in connection with the rational power of Man, it also denotes a spiritual faculty which transcends such mental faculties. Thus, in general usage, the term has two different meanings although unfortunately they are frequently interchanged, with the second denotation being subsumed and lost under the first meaning, causing a blurring and veiling of the Intellect's higher exalted nature.

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