from month 07/2010

Evolved dispositions and cultural norms. A discussion in Science

In March, Science published a research article by Joe Henrich et al. ("Market, Religion, Community Size and the Evolution of Fairness and Punishment") showing that market integration and participation in world religion covary with fairness (an article that Nicolas Baumard discussed here). ...

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What if there had never been a Cognitive Revolution?

In a previous post, I questioned the relevance of the label “Cognition and Culture” for our institute. Why not ‘Cognition and Society’ instead? Choosing ‘culture’ over ‘society’, I argued, is not arbitrary and implicate that some questions (religion, ...

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Moral camouflage or moral monkeys?

An interesting short essay by Peter Railton on the authenticity of morality from an evolutionary point of view available here and open to discussion here with already some interesting contributions e.g. by Bill Benzon, Frans de Waal or Sally Haslanger. Railton argues: "A picture thus ...

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Paul the Octopus, relevance and the joy of superstition

So, as you all know, Spain beat the Netherlands and won the World Football Cup in Johannesburg on July 11, 2010. As most of you may also know, this victory was predicted by a German octopus named Paul. Paul was presented before the match with two transparent boxes each baited with mussel flesh and ...

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Opacity tasting with Dan and Maurice

A few weeks ago, Maurice Bloch, Dan Sperber and several others had a debate on the nature of those beliefs (in particular 'religious' beliefs) that cannot easily be made fully explicit, or brought to bear on concrete matters (so-called 'semi-propositional beliefs' - here called ...

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The Price of Altruism

A new biography of the theorical biologist George Price by Oren Harman that situates Price's contribution in the history of biological ideas about altruism from Darwin and Kropotkin to Hamilton and Maynard-Smith has received raving reviews (here is Frans de Waal's in the New York Times). ...

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Paul Rozin on what psychologists should study

Paul Rozin, one of the founding fathers of cognition-and-culture studies, is a psychologist with a rich set of interests. Even though he’s often known for his work on food, and disgust in particular (cockroach in your drink anyone?), the list of his current projects alone would make many a ...

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Joint Action: What is Shared

Special issue of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology on "Joint Action: What is Shared?" Guest Editors: Natalie Sebanz & Stephen Butterfill. Call for papers. Deadline for submissions: 15 August 2010. Researchers have appealed to many kinds of sharing in explaining or character...

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The weirdest people in the world?

In a forthcoming issue of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, anthropologist Joe Henrich, and psychologists Steven Heine, and Ara Norenzayan review the available database of comparative social and behavioral science studies (here are Science's and Nature's comments). They found that people from ...

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Homeopathy as witchcraft

The British Medical Association's annual conference of junior doctors has declared that homeopathy is witchcraft. They have voted a blanket ban and an end to all placements teaching homeopathic principles to training doctors (this debate is quite hot in the UK as you can see here).   ...

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Clay Shirky on

Clay Shirky teaches at New York University’s graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program a course named “Social Weather.” He’s the author of Here Comes Everybody, about the power of crowds, and the new Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. In ...

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