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RS 188 - Robert Kurzban on "Being strategically wrong"

Release date: July 9th, 2017

Julia Galef interviews Robert Kurzban

In this episode, recorded live at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, Julia interviews evolutionary psychologist Rob Kurzban, author of "Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite." Rob describes the "modular mind" hypothesis, and how it explains hypocrisy, self-deception, and other seemingly irrational features of human nature. Rob and Julia argue about how useful these kinds of "strategic wrongness" really are.

Rob's Pick: "Society Of Mind" By Marvin Minsky

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science


Full Transcripts 

Reader Comments (7)

Cognitive Dissonance and Compartmentalization are the two most prominent features of human behavior; any remaining factors belong to the recycle bin.

Since the major premise of economics is rooted in rational beings - that speaks volumes about our inclination towards self deception.
July 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPrince Elliot
Every time I see "recorded live" in my podcast feed I cringe inwardly. It wasn't warranted in this case though. Thanks for maintaining a high recording standard and making a live show that was comfortable to listen to. Interesting episode too.
July 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTristan
I'm glad that Julia pointed out that just because some evolved trait served our ancestors a million years ago, doesn't make it advantageous to us today. For example, our love of sugar and fat that now causes obesity, or our fight-or-flight response that causes performance anxiety that only hurts performance on exams or on stage.
July 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMax
Normally I find the interviews provacative and challenging....but this time....I am not a "skeptic" and am thus left very befuddled that terms like "algorithm" "computational", "go online", "in my head" amongst others are bandied about AS IF they are "proven" to explain anything, rather than representing a huge ASSUMPTION about how the brain functions, representing the FAITH that cyberspeak is applicable to the brain?
July 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAd
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July 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercustom essay
In almost all cases, it probably is a bad idea to fool yourself deliberately.
November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJameson
Julia excels at keeping rationality as the focus, what can we do, how can we get better. But this episode was a bit annoying. I wish Kurzban wasn't steered into a focus on self-deception and could have been free to fully explain and develop his ideas before challenged and questioned. I think Julia could benefit from a bit of epistemic humility when she attempts to summarize or re-frame a conversation like a philosopher: "you can mean one of three things..."
January 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDarren

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