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Tag: Intelligence theory

Itai Shapira | Strategic and Tactical Intelligence & Philosophical Approaches to Intelligence Theory | Intelligence & Interview N.37 | Giangiuseppe Pili

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The very notion of intelligence is nuanced and broad. An entire branch of intelligence studies is devolved to exploring what intelligence is. This is what Mark Phythian and Peter Gill called “definitional project” in their taxonomy. Several scholars tackled the definition of intelligence, starting with Michael Warner’s pioneering paper Wanted: A definition of intelligence published in 2002 (almost achieving the twenty years anniversary). After him, many more tackled it (be kind if I advertise that I also proposed a philosophical definition of intelligence in 2019). But another crucial topic is the exploration of intelligence analysis functions such as strategic intelligence and tactical intelligence. Interestingly, strategic intelligence is still a difficult nut to be cracked. Probably because of its dependency on theory. Basically, strategic intelligence allows the identification of the enemy’s intentions to avoid surprises at the strategic level. Easy to say, but very difficult to achieve. Indeed, at least in the public debate, there is a sense that the Cold War was a predictable confrontation from a strategic perspective. Unfortunately, strategic intelligence was pursued with risk and uncertainty as everything else in intelligence. Although it is so important, it is still an underexplored topic. When I first read Itai Shapira’s paper, published by Intelligence and National Security (2019, Strategic Intelligence as an Art and a Science), I hoped we could have covered this topic, and now I am even more persuaded of this choice. Sure, the fact that he tackles the issue from theoretical and philosophical perspectives allured me even more. But, as you will see, there is a good reason for tackling strategic intelligence from this angle. Itai helps us understand the nature of strategic intelligence and tactical intelligence with a very innovative (fresh, I would venture to say) approach. It is then with my distinct pleasure to publish the interview on Scuola Filosofica – for those who don’t know it yet; it is one of the leading cultural blogs in Italy. In the name of Scuola Filosofica Team, our readers, and myself, Giangiuseppe Pili, Itai: thank you!

1# Itai Shapira, let’s start from the basics. How would you like to present yourself to the International readers and Philosophical School (Scuola Filosofica)? 

I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester, studying Israeli national intelligence culture. I am a retired Colonel from the Israeli Defense Intelligence (IDI), where I have served for more than 25 years in various intelligence analysis and management roles – on the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. As a great believer in the dialectic of practice and theory, and after such a long period in the practice of intelligence, I am devoting the current period to a more theoretical perspective, trying to develop some theoretical concepts which in turn could influence practice.

James Cox | Personal Experience, Canadian Intelligence & Intelligence Theory | Intelligence & Interview N.24 | Dr Giangiuseppe Pili

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Words sometimes are not enough. They are never as such when gratitude is involved. As William Shakespeare said, the words to express love are always a few and always the same. I’m neither Shakespeare nor Dante (to stay closer to my mother-language), but at least you can really have a gist of my own appreciation for this interview.

Dr James Cox is a Brigadier-General (ret.) and served as the Deputy Chief of Staff Intelligence at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). He is an Adjunct Faculty – Wilfrid Laurier University, and he has too many important positions but, as I’m a member of the International Association of Intelligence Education (IAFIE), at least I must report that he is part of the IAFIE’s Board of Directors as Director, beyond being Chair of the Board of Directors, IAFIE-CANADA. I must confess that Dr Cox is one of the persons with who I can talk forever. Meanwhile, I was preparing my interview, I wrote down at least twenty or so questions, realizing that I couldn’t ask anybody to use so much time, especially in this case. Then, to meet the Intelligence & Interview 10 questions standard, I finally compromised arriving at 12 questions where I tried to explore three topics: Dr Cox’s career and experience in the field, the Canadian intelligence, and intelligence theory.

Intelligence and social knowledge – A philosophical inquiring on the social epistemological nature of intelligence as a state institution

It is with my great pleasure that I post the abstract of my second paper in an international journal of intelligence (RISW). I am particularly proud of this piece of research, which is the first attempt toward a social epistemological theory of intelligence as a state institution. In addition, this paper is based on my Ph.D. thesis (second Chapter – social epistemology of organization and institution). Did you always believe, as I believed that Ph.D. thesis are not always useful? You are not alone, but sometimes it turns to be useful! And, hopefully, this is just the beginning of a long series of works on intelligence and epistemology. Some of you still remember (dont’ you?) my recent paper “Epistemology and intelligence – Some philosophical problems to be solved“, proudly published in the International Journal of Security, Intelligence and Public Affairs. However, I am working on an ambitious set of papers on my topics in prominent journals! Then, stay in tuned with me and my research and don’t esitate to contact me if you would like to read my works!


Intelligence is about speaking the truth to the policy-maker. However, this truth is not simply the result of an intellectual inquiring on something which is not in the eyes of the beholder. Intelligence is a social enterprise performed by a collective agent, namely the intelligence agency. Then, intelligence strives for the truth although this endeavor is a very difficult achievement indeed, so much so that intelligence is grounded on performing an entire intelligence cycle completed by an entire institution. Social epistemology is a new branch of analytic philosophy and it inquires the nature of social knowledge and collective agents. This paper considers the role of social knowledge inside intelligence as an institution of the state and it tries to address some fundamental questions related to the social epistemological nature of intelligence.

Epistemology and Intelligence – Some philosophical problems to be solved

E’ con mio grande piacere annunciare la pubblicazione del mio articolo Epistemology and intelligence ( nella rivista internazionale The international Journal of Intelligence, Security, and Public Affairs. Invito tutti gli interessati a segnalarmi eventualmente il loro interesse e nel frattempo li rimando alla pagina del giornale.

Giangiuseppe Pili (2018) Epistemology and Intelligence – Some Philosophical Problems to be Solved, The International Journal of Intelligence, Security, and Public Affairs, 20:3, 252-270, DOI: 10.1080/23800992.2018.1532180

The International Journal of Intelligence, Security, and Public Affairs, 2018

I want to consider puzzles that must be solved to formulate a theory of epistemology of intelligence. My aim is not to build a theory. I want to create the foundations of a good approach to an epistemological theory of intelligence. To reach this step, unsolved problems must be considered; I formulate them in an analytical manner, that is, I consider them as philosophical puzzles, similar to epistemology. This is the preliminary step toward a new way of thinking about old issues. We must face our primary difficulties in the best manner, that is, we need an epistemology of intelligence.