Response to Flynn: Searching for justice: The discovery of IQ gains over time

5/17/02

John Raven

This paper was prepared as a commentary on Flynn's "Searching for justice: The discovery of IQ gains over time" which was published in the American Psychologist in 1999. In that paper, Flynn essentially argued that it would be possible to advance humane ideals (justice) by, on the one hand, discrediting "IQ" tests and, on the other, establishing a just meritocracy. In this paper it is argued that route to advancing humane ideals lies instead in both broadening the range of talents that we are able to adequately conceptualize, measure, develop, utilize, and reward, and also discrediting faith in the effectiveness of hierarchy and the concept of "ability" which sustains it. To do either, it will be necessary to introduce radical paradigm shifts in the ways in which we think about psychological measurement, the nature of society, and the nature of science.

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