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How the Mind WorksHe nature of our own consciousnessIn this bold extraordinary book Steven Pinker one of the world's leading cognitive scientists and author of the widely praised bestseller The Language Instinct tackles the intricacies of the human mind to decipher how we think feel and act Using reverse engineering determining what natural selection designed the mind to accomplish in a hunting and gathering environment Pinker explains how the mind stores and uses information a proces. I think this a great way of addressing a widespread misunderstanding about genetics biological evolution and human thought behavior Slight background story I was having a discussion with a guy on goodreadscom within his comments on his review of Why I Am Not A Muslim and eventually it came to thisMyself It’s a categorical mistake to think this about biological evolution To put it bluntly our genes are selfish but we are not not necessarily unconditionally so at leastHim One last uestion so how are we different than our genesAnd my reply and the whole point of this postThis may sound mean but it’s simple You are not a gene nor am I We’re animals uniue and beautiful and ugly and all ualities in between both as a species and as individualsHere’s an explanation thoughBut almost everyone misunderstands this theory Contrary to popular belief the gene centered theory of evolution does not imply that the point of all human striving is to spread our genes With the exception of the fertility doctor who artificially inseminated patients with his own semen the donor to the sperm bank for Nobel Prize winners and other kooks no human being or animal strives to spread his or her genes Dawkins explained the theory in a book called The Selfish Gene and the metaphor was chosen carefully People don’t selfishly spread their genes genes selfishly spread themselves They do it by the way they build our brains By making us enjoy life health sex friends and children the gene buys a lottery ticket for representation in the next generation with odds that were favorable in the environment in which we evolved Our goals are subgoals of the ultimate goal of the genes replicating themselves But the two are different As far as we are concerned our goals conscious or unconscious are not about genes at all but about health and lovers and children and friendsThat seems to be enough to get the point across but I think this is such a good point that I’ll type the next paragraph up as wellThe confusion between our goals and genes’ goals has spawned one muddle after another A reviewer of a book about the evolution of sexuality protests that human adultery unlike the animal euivalent cannot be a strategy to spread genes because adulteres take steps to prevent pregancy But whose strategy are we talking about Sexual desire is not people’s strategy to progagate their genes It’s people’s strategy to attain the pleasures of sex and the pleasures of sex are the genes strategy to propagate themselves If the genes don’t get propagated it’s because we are smarter than they are A book on the emotional life of animals complains that if altruism according to biologists is just helping kin or exchanging favors both of which serve the interests of one’s genes it would not really be altruism after all but some kind of hypocrisy This too is a mix up Just as blueprints don’t necessarily specify blue buildings selfish genes don’t necessarily specify selfish organisms As we shall see sometimes the most selfish thing a gene can do is build a selfless brain Genes are a play with in a play not the interior monologue of the players Steven Pinker How The Mind Works pp 43 44Also for anyone interested in listening to the audiobook version reader sounds like one of those prototypical 1950's or 60's educational film narrators It works pretty well

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How the Mind Works characters ✓ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ↠ A fascinating provocative book exploring the mysteries of human thought and behavior by the author of the acclaimed bestseller The Language InstinctThe human mind is fantastically complex we often take its abilities for granted yet few would argue thS that allowed our ancestors to understand and outsmart objects animals plants and each otherHow the Mind Works makes sense of some of the bewildering aspects of everyday life such as why is beauty important to us How is it that we are moved to tears or laughter Why do we feel that a run of heads makes the coin likely to land tails Why is self restraint so difficult This is a witty and compelling work synthesizing the best of cognitive science and evolutionary biolog. This book was an amazing readI cannot get around the fact that it was written by one person let alone one person with a lot of other books on the same topic and yet provocative each time I loved the detailed and comprehensive outlook on each subject matterIt is not a textbook It is a long essay that gives you a rational up to date coherent general yet accurate A frame for thinking about mind cognition and emotions and also changes our day to day worldview about people in generalThe only complaint I have is that this book could have used hierarchical structure

Steven Pinker â 5 characters

A fascinating provocative book exploring the mysteries of human thought and behavior by the author of the acclaimed bestseller The Language InstinctThe human mind is fantastically complex we often take its abilities for granted yet few would argue that any amount of technology will ever duplicate human intelligence How does the human mind work How do we see in three dimensions Why do we fall in love How do we remember names and faces How is it indeed that we ponder t. The book does not lack good ualities but I generally dislike the techniue of argumentation that is too often characterized by poor proof backed by a certain arrogance towards alternative explanations The chapter on the sexes is particularly shoddily presented The proof that Pinker refers to when trying to back his claims that simply put evolution and innateness alone explain the differences between the sexes when it comes to attitudes to sex the male huntergatherer has logically a greater chance of spreading his genes since he doesn't have to carry the baby for nine months and so on is based on polls filled out by university students That these students are also caught up in a social reality doesn't seem to have crossed Pinker's mindGood scholars know where to draw the boundaries between science and speculation Chomsky has said that one can learn about human nature from reading a novel than from scientific psychology In other words he knows that his scientific field is limited to a certain aspect of human nature and language and thus doesn't try to explain than can be deducted by reasoning from the facts presented One can have opinions as to how successful Chomskyan linguistic science actually is but that's another matter Certainly Pinker is allowed to speculate as is any scientist The problem is that Pinker's speculations are sometimes presented as truths Therefore this book does despite some interesting facts being presented in it leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth