? Male order | Main | GorillazGroove Session ?

October 21, 2005

How the mind works

If I had not recently read Steven Pinker's "How the Mind Works" I would have been utterly baffled by My Humps. "Monkey business", indeed.

This arguments in the book are as bold as its title. Pinker rehabilitates unfashionable ideas, such as that the mind is a computer and that human nature was shaped by natural selection. And he challenges fashionable ones, such as that passionate emotions are irrational, that parents socialize their children, that creativity springs from the unconscious, that nature is good and modern society corrupting, and that art and religion are expressions of our higher spiritual yearnings.

Actually, whatever his publisher's copy has to say, Pinker does not argue "the mind is a computer". He spends a good deal of time distancing himself from this position instead arguing for the applicability of computational theory to a mind whose design is modular. From this starting point it is possible to account for rather complex behaviours arising from - quite literally - primitive rules.

It is not that Pinker demystifies difference in behaviour between sexes in species who reproduce sexually. It is not even that Black Eyed Peas have rendered consequently differing priorities with such brutal clarity. It is that despite knowing what I know that I cannot help but find the video fascinating. Enthralling.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at October 21, 2005 09:14 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


I watched Much Music tonight. I understand. I do. I understand.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 21, 2005 10:16 PM

heh. all hiphop is basically about fighting and sex--did you need Pinker for that?

Posted by: matoko kusanagi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 25, 2005 04:27 AM