Socially Adaptive Minds

Any attempt to understand human psychology must reconcile two characteristics of our species: the extraordinarily adaptive character of human intelligence in some contexts, and the conspicuous manifestations of stupidity and irrationality in others. On the one hand, human beings are remarkable. Not morally or aesthetically remarkable, but remarkable from a quasi-engineering perspective. With astonishing energetic … Continue reading Socially Adaptive Minds

Does politics make us stupid and mean?

Many of us get heavily involved in politics. In addition to voting, we form confident political opinions on highly complex issues that we express—often passionately—in conversations and arguments with others, both in real life and on social media. We watch the news and shout at the tv. We put up stickers advertising our political affiliations. … Continue reading Does politics make us stupid and mean?

The Case for Open Borders

I’ve recently finished Bas van der Vossen and Jason Brennan’s excellent book, “In Defense of Openness: Why Global Freedom Is the Humane Solution to Global Poverty.” Among other things, the book advances the case for open borders. Very roughly, here is how the positive case for that position goes. First, immigration restrictions seem deeply unjust on … Continue reading The Case for Open Borders

Chapter 10: Generative Intentionality

Ok, this is the last substantive chapter in the thesis. In the next post—the concluding one—I’ll summarise the main lessons of previous chapters and outline some important questions and issues to address in future work. In this chapter I address another challenge to representationalist accounts of the mind, this one focused on representational content. Roughly, … Continue reading Chapter 10: Generative Intentionality

Chapter 9. Modelling the Umwelt

In this chapter I’m going to address another challenge to a representationalist understanding of perception. This one is less precise than the one that I addressed in the previous post, but it has nevertheless had a large influence in motivating anti-representationalism among a motley crew of anti-representationalists: pragmatists, ecological psychologists, enactivists, and so on. Roughly, … Continue reading Chapter 9. Modelling the Umwelt

Chapter 8: The World Is Not Its Own Best Generative Model

“Cognition is for action!” “Cognition is not just for action; cognition is action!” “The world is its own best model!” “Organisms don’t represent the world. They enact a world inseparable from their own structure!” And so on. These are just some of the claims you’ve likely come across if you’ve spent any time reading the … Continue reading Chapter 8: The World Is Not Its Own Best Generative Model