Inaugural Cultural Evolution Society Conference, Jena, 13-15 September 2017

Call for abstracts: submission deadline: June 1, 2017. The Cultural Evolution Society supports evolutionary approaches to culture in humans and other animals. We are committed to fostering an integrative interdisciplinary community spanning traditional academic boundaries from across the social, psychological, and biological sciences, and including archaeology, computer science, economics, history, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy and religious studies....

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Conviction, persuasion and manipulation: the ethical dimension of epistemic vigilance

In today’s political climate moral outrage about (alleged) propaganda and manipulation of public opinion dominate our discourse. Charges of manipulative information provision have arguably become the most widely used tool to discredit one’s political opponent. Of course, one reason for why such charges have become so prominent is that the way we consume information through online media has made us more vulnerable than ever to such manipulation. ...

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Culture Conference in Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is organising a Culture Conference on the 25th and 26th of May 2017, on the topic of Innovation in cultural systems. Keynote speakers include:...

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“True self” Journal Club General Discussion

Join the discussion of Nina Strohminger, George Newman, and Joshua Knobe's article and of the commentaries by Simon Cullen, Ophelia Deroy, Victoria Fomina, Larry Hirschfeld, Gloria Origgi, Brent Strickland, and Radu Umbres. To post a comment,...

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Nina Strohminger’s response: A friendly desultory philippic

Hello, everyone, and thank you for tuning in. I would like to start by saying the opinions expressed below are purely my own. Josh Knobe and George Newman may or may not be on board with anything I’m about to say, though I do try to give a fair representation of what we, as a team, argue for in our paper....

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Aegina Summer School 2017 – The Social Brain : embodiment and culture

Call for Applications (Deadline: 27 Feb.!): We invite applications from PhD students, post-doc and early-career researchers to attend the Summer School on “The Social Brain : embodiment and culture “jointly organized by the Institute of Philosophy &  the Warburg Institute at the University of London, Royal Holloway, and the Berlin School of Mind and Brain....

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Anthropological doubts about the moral “true self”

Do people everywhere believe there is a true self – a moral true self, what is more? This is a question of obvious anthropological relevance. Most anthropologists, however, would question the basic assumptions of the hypothesis , not to mention its validity for many of the societies they have studied. After Marcel Mauss’s famous 1938 essay “A category of the human mind: the notion of person; the notion of self” that made this a standard anthropological issue, the universality of the category of self or personhood has been contested. ...

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Is there really no such thing as the true self?

In “The True Self: A psychological concept distinct from the self,” Strohminger, Knobe, and Newman (henceforth “SKN”) outline a fascinating and compelling body of research on people’s naïve intuitions regarding the “true self.” The evidence suggests that there is a cross-culturally robust notion of the true self, which people conceive of as an intrinsically moral part of the self which causes positive personal changes and importantly contributes to establishing personal identity....

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The “true self,” more complex, more social

I have entered upon a performance which is without example, whose accomplishment will have no imitator. I mean to present my fellow-mortals with a man in all the integrity of nature; and this man shall be myself.” Thus wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau as the incipit of his Confessions, a narrative elaboration of his authentic, “true self” as opposed to a hypocritical social identity. Rousseau confessed many weaknesses and failings but the message was clear: his true self, while rich and complex, was better than some of his objectionable actions....

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Truth and consequences

I was delighted to discover that deep down the authentic me is a happy go lucky sort of guy, and others recognize this too. I am also a little skeptical, to be honest. The authors of acknowledge that there may be some individual variation in this tableau—although the choice between psychopath and seriously mentally ill is not what I had hoped for. The authors also place great emphasis on moral qualities; indeed, the inner, authentic, true self is bounded by a sort of moral paradise; falling out of the true self represents a morally “bad case” whereas falling into authentic self is a good moral case. ...

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Article for February: All forms of writing

Hi everyone! For February we chose to read Greg Downey's critique of Stanislas Dehaene's  2009 book Reading in the Brain. In his article titled All Forms of Writing (Mind & Language 2014), ...

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