Why everyone (else) is a hypocrite (Robert Kurzban)

Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind by Robert Kurzban.
Robert Kurzban is a student of the “modular mind” theory of John Tooby & Leda Cosmides.

The modular mind

“The human mind consists of many, many mental processes – think of them as little programming subroutines, or maybe individual iPhone applications – each operating by its own logic, designed by the inexorable process of natural selection”

“the mind consists of many different parts. These parts often “believe” different, mutually inconsistent things. Sometimes this is obvious, as illustrated in case of brain damage and optical illusions. Other cases are less obvious, but no less interesting.”

“the different bits of our brain have functions. Just as some of our mind’s subroutines are for seeing, some for processing language, and some for controlling muscles, […] choosing mates, […] making friends, and – one subject I currently study – some with morally condemning others for doing things.”

With the concept of the modular mind, human irrationality, ignorance and self deception cease to be a confusing riddle.

“This book is about contradictions. […] It’s about how you can, and one at the same time, want the government to leave people alone as long as they’re not hurting anyone and also very much want the government to interfere with people’s lives even when they’re not hurting anyone.”

Evolutionary Psychology Primer & Reading List

The usefulness of being wrong and ignorant

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