Socially Adaptive Minds

Any attempt to understand human psychology must reconcile two things: 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 efficiency and speed, … 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

Bayes Mania, Just-So Stories, and the Irrational Mind

In a recent article and then blog post I put forward a challenge to highly influential (e.g. here and here) hierarchical Bayesian models of psychosis in computational psychiatry. Phil Corlett—one of the most prominent champions of such models—has offered a compelling response to this challenge. What follows is partly an elaboration and defence of the claims … Continue reading Bayes Mania, Just-So Stories, and the Irrational Mind