It would be a measure of the extent to which our affective responses were "rationally" based.
A person with a high degree of emotional intelligence would be one who responded to situations with feeling states that "made good sense," given what was going on in those situations.
I shall argue that it does make sense to speak of emotions as being, in some given context or other, "intelligent" or not, and, consequently, that it does make sense to speak of emotional intelligence.
However, I will also suggest that the way the concept of emotional intelligence is now being popularized — by psychologist Daniel Goleman (1995), in his book Emotional Intelligence — is fundamentally flawed.
In this paper, I shall focus on the problems inherent in the manner in which the idea of emotional intelligence is being conceptualized and presented.
The main questions I am concerned with are: Does it make sense to speak of emotions as being intelligent or not?
What is more, it is evident that to learn to solve problems effectively, one must have the desire to do so. Thus the affective dimension, comprised of feelings and volition, is a necessary condition and component of high quality reasoning and problem solving.
Every "defect" in emotion and drive creates a "defect" in thought and reason.
Once some preliminary distinctions are set out, I will focus on a conceptualization of the mind, its functions, and primary motivators, including a brief analysis of the relationship between thoughts, emotions and desires.
I will then develop a critical analysis of the primary theoretical views of Goleman. In Standard English usage ’intelligence’ is understood as "the ability to learn or understand from experience or to respond successfully to new experiences"; "the ability to acquire and retain knowledge (Webster’s New World Dictionary)." Its possession implies the use of reason or intellect in solving problems and directing conduct. In standard usage, the term ’emotion’ is used to designate "a state of consciousness having to do with the arousal of feelings (Webster’s New World Dictionary)." It is "distinguished from other mental states, from cognition, volition, and awareness of physical sensation." Feeling refers to "any of the subjective reactions, pleasant or unpleasant" that one may experience in a situation.