We're all hypocrites. Why? Hypocrisy is the natural state of the human mind. Robert Kurzban shows us that the key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind's design. The human mind consists of many specialized units designed by the process of evolution by natural selection. While these modules sometimes work together seamlessly, they don't always, resulting in impossibly contradictory beliefs, vacillations between patience and impulsiveness, violations of our supposed moral principles, and overinflated views of ourselves. This modular, evolutionary psychological view of the mind undermines deeply held intuitions about ourselves, as well as a range of scientific theories that require a "self" with consistent beliefs and preferences. Modularity suggests that there is no "I." Instead, each of us is a contentious "we"--a collection of discrete but interacting systems whose constant conflicts shape our interactions with one another and our experience of the world. In clear language, full of wit and rich in examples, Kurzban explains the roots and implications of our inconsistent minds, and why it is perfectly natural to believe that everyone else is a hypocrite.
Bestselling author Michael Shermer's exploration of science and morality that demonstrates how the scientific way of thinking has made people, and society as a whole, more moral From Galileo and Newton to Thomas Hobbes and Martin Luther King, Jr., thinkers throughout history have consciously employed scientific techniques to better understand the non-physical world. The Age of Reason and the Enlightenment led theorists to apply scientific reasoning to the non-scientific disciplines of politics, economics, and moral philosophy. Instead of relying on the woodcuts of dissected bodies in old medical texts, physicians opened bodies themselves to see what was there; instead of divining truth through the authority of an ancient holy book or philosophical treatise, people began to explore the book of nature for themselves through travel and exploration; instead of the supernatural belief in the divine right of kings, people employed a natural belief in the right of democracy. In The Moral Arc, Shermer will explain how abstract reasoning, rationality, empiricism, skepticism--scientific ways of thinking--have profoundly changed the way we perceive morality and, indeed, move us ever closer to a more just world.
Release on 2016-09-06 | by Jason Weeden,Robert Kurzban
How Self-Interest Shapes Our Opinions and Why We Won't Admit It
Author: Jason Weeden,Robert Kurzban
Pubpsher: Princeton University Press
When it comes to politics, we often perceive our own beliefs as fair and socially beneficial, while seeing opposing views as merely self-serving. But in fact most political views are governed by self-interest, even if we usually don't realize it. Challenging our fiercely held notions about what motivates us politically, this book explores how self-interest divides the public on a host of hot-button issues, from abortion and the legalization of marijuana to same-sex marriage, immigration, affirmative action, and income redistribution. Expanding the notion of interests beyond simple economics, Jason Weeden and Robert Kurzban look at how people's interests clash when it comes to their sex lives, social status, family, and friends. Drawing on a wealth of data, they demonstrate how different groups form distinctive bundles of political positions that often stray far from what we typically think of as liberal or conservative. They show how we engage in unconscious rationalization to justify our political positions, portraying our own views as wise, benevolent, and principled while casting our opponents' views as thoughtless and greedy. While many books on politics seek to provide partisans with new ways to feel good about their own side, The Hidden Agenda of the Political Mind illuminates the hidden drivers of our politics, even if it's a picture neither side will find flattering.
A brilliant inquiry into the origins of human nature. "Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read..also highly persuasive." -Time Now updated with a new afterword One of the world's leading experts on language and the mind explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts. Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.
Release on 2013-06-24 | by Kyle Summers,Bernard Crespi
The Foundational Works of Richard D. Alexander
Author: Kyle Summers,Bernard Crespi
Pubpsher: Oxford University Press
Richard D. Alexander is an accomplished entomologist who turned his attention to solving some of the most perplexing problems associated with the evolution of human social systems. Using impeccable Darwinian logic and elaborating, extending and adding to the classic theoretical contributions of pioneers of behavioral and evolutionary ecology like George Williams, William Hamilton and Robert Trivers, Alexander developed the most detailed and comprehensive vision of human social evolution of his era. His ideas and hypotheses have inspired countless biologists, anthropologists, psychologists and other social scientists to explore the evolution of human social behavior in ever greater detail, and many of his seminal ideas have stood the test of time and come to be pillars of our understanding of human social evolution. This volume presents classic papers or chapters by Dr. Alexander, each focused on an important theme from his work. Introductions by Dr. Alexander's former students and colleagues highlight the importance of his work to the field, describe more recent work on the topic, and discuss current issues of contention and interest.
Alternately vilified as a publicity-seeking egoist and lauded as a rambunctious, fearless advocate, William Kunstler consistently embodied both of these qualities. Kunstler's unrelenting, radical critique of American racism and the legal system took shape as a result of his efforts to enlist the federal judicial system to support the civil rights movement. In the late 60s and the 70s, Kunstler, refocusing his attention on the Black Power and anti-war movement, garnered considerable public attention as defender of the Chicago Seven, and went on to represent such controversial figures as Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement leader charged with killing an FBI agent, and Jack Ruby, the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald. Later, Kunstler briefly represented Colin Ferguson, the Long Island Railroad mass murderer, outraging fans and detractors alike with his invocation of the infamous "black rage" defense. Defending those most loathed by mainstream, conventional America, William Kunstler delighted in taking on fiercely political cases, usually representing society's outcasts and pariahs free of charge and often achieving remarkable courtroom results in seemingly hopeless cases. Though Kunstler never gave up his revolutionary underpinnings, he gradually turned from defending clients whose political beliefs he personally supported to taking on apolitical clients, falling back on the broad rationale that his was a general struggle against an oppressive government. What ideological and tactical motives explain Kunstler's obsessive craving for media attention, his rhetorical flourishes in the courtroom and his instinctive and relentless drive for action? How did Kunstler migrate from a comfortable middle-class background to a life as a staunchly rebellious figure in social and legal history? David Langum's portrait gives depth to the already notorious breadth of William Kunstler's life.
The town has lost its famed falafel king, but the Dadon family have also lost a father and husband. Living with the daily threat of Katyusha missiles from neighbouring Lebanon, and struggling to survive amid the rubble of their lives, Simona and her three children each find their own way of coping with their grief, their fear and their hopes. Raw, lyrical, shocking and moving, Sara Shilo's powerful debut novel recounts the life of an ordinary Israeli family over the course of a single, extraordinary day in prose that we have never before encountered in contemporary Hebrew literature.
What Cognitive Science Can Tell Us about Popular Culture
Author: Lisa Zunshine
Pubpsher: JHU Press
Category: Literary Criticism
We live in other people's heads: avidly, reluctantly, consciously, unaware, mistakenly, and inescapably. Our social life is a constant negotiation among what we think we know about each other's thoughts and feelings, what we want each other to think we know, and what we would dearly love to know but don't. Cognitive scientists have a special term for the evolved cognitive adaptation that makes us attribute mental states to other people through observation of their body language; they call it theory of mind. Getting Inside Your Head uses research in theory of mind to look at movies, musicals, novels, classic Chinese opera, stand-up comedy, mock-documentaries, photography, and reality television. It follows Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy as he tries to conceal his anger, Tyler Durden as he lectures a stranger at gunpoint in Fight Club, and Ingrid Bergman as she fakes interest in horse races in Notorious. This engaging book exemplifies the new interdisciplinary field of cognitive cultural studies, demonstrating that collaboration between cognitive science and cultural studies is both exciting and productive.
Release on 2009-01-24 | by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Author: Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Pubpsher: Seed of Life Publishing
Dr. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866) was a lifelong resident of Belfast, ME and a clockmaker, by trade. From the late 1840s until the time of his transition, he wrote down his own particular philosophical, psychological and metaphysical views on life, death, health, religion and the mind. His early studies of hypnosis, then called mesmerism, led him later on to develop his unique method of healing for both mental and physical affirmities. Proud of his New England heritage, passionate in his love of liberty and equality for all, outspoken in his admonitions against what he considered aristocracy and priestcraft, empathetic toward the sick and suffering, he recorded his experiences, experiments and case studies of his own life journey's explorations into humanity and spirituality, in order to leave behind, for us, what he found, for himself, to be universally applicable truths, for the benefit of all mankind. For this reason, he wrote this book. (Hardcover Edition) (700 pages)
R.M. Ahmoses extensive background in psychology plays a key role in the three short stories presented in R.M. Ahmose Presents Tales You Never Saw Coming. Add this element to the keen observations taken from life in the inner city of Baltimore, and a plethora of knowledge gained from university classes, and the result is an imaginative, quirky collection of stories that elicit deep thought and expansive thinking. R.M. Ahmose Presents Tales You Never Saw Coming is a collection of three stories, each of which is meant to delight with its imaginativeness, quirkiness, and sometimes eyebrow-raising social commentary. While robots are the stated central characters in the lead story Better Design, this tale actually highlights features of human society. Saved blends religion, devoutness, doubt, agnosticism, and ill fortune. The final story, Psychotherapy and Desserts, presents a tale of intrigue based on an experience at a community mental health center. A suspenseful collection of stories, R.M. Ahmose Presents Tales You Never Saw Coming pays heed to the idea that nothing is as it seems.