Pub. Date:
Princeton University Press
Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind

Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind

by Robert Kurzban
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691154398
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 05/27/2012
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 421,547
Product dimensions: 6.18(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.73(d)

About the Author

Robert Kurzban is associate professor of psychology and founder of the Pennsylvania Laboratory for Experimental Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2008, he won the inaugural Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution from the Human Behavior and Evolution Society.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue 1

Chapter 1: Consistently Inconsistent 4

Chapter 2: Evolution and the Fragmented Brain 23

Chapter 3: Who Is "I"? 45

Chapter 4: Modular Me 57

Chapter 5: The Truth Hurts 76

Chapter 6: Psychological Propaganda 98

Chapter 7: Self-Deception 132

Chapter 8: Self-Control 151

Chapter 9: Morality and Contradictions 186

Chapter 10: Morality Is for the Birds 206

Epilogue 218

Notes 221

References 245

Index 267

What People are Saying About This


Here is a fun counterpoint to the explosion of examples showing that humans do not act in accordance with the predictions of standard rational models. But Kurzban is no defender of the standard models. Rather he seeks an understanding of why our actions may appear contradictory in particular contexts, but serve us well in others, and why that helps to improve our fitness for decision, if not always for a life of liberty.
Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Laureate in Economics

James H. Fowler

In this amazing book, Robert Kurzban carries out a brilliantly thought-provoking conversation with himself that made me think hard—and laugh out loud. Using clever examples and a revolutionary scientific approach, he shows that contradiction is truly a fundamental human experience. No wonder, then, that I wanted to share this book with my friends—but I also wanted to keep it for myself! If you don't read this book, you'll be left wondering what everyone (else) is talking about.
James H. Fowler, coauthor of "Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives"

Steven Pinker

Robert Kurzban is one of the best evolutionary psychologists of his generation: he is distinctive not only for his own successful research and sophisticated understanding of psychology, but also because of his wit—Kurzban is genuinely clever, sly, succinct, and sometimes hilarious.
Steven Pinker, Harvard University

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Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
EmreSevinc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book reminds me a famous quote from Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka' but 'That's funny...'". Kuzban takes the reader on a fantastic tour and explains how the theory of modularity of mind explains lots of mysteries (such as "why do people lock their refrigerators?") related to human cognition. This is a funny book, funny in the Asimov's sense, of course, and yet it does not refrain from strongly arguing for clarification of why modularity of mind makes sense especially from the evolutionary point of view (which is the only scientific point of view when it comes understanding biology).Sometimes the author overuses humor and asks wrong questions such as "Can you beat MS Word in chess?" (this is especially disturbing because a few sentences ago he warns the reader that questions such as "Did you stop beating your wife?" is wrong due to wrong assumptions). Nevertheless his style keeps this very important (and controversial for most of the philosophers as well as laymen) topic alive and pulsating through every page.This book will probably one of the best references I'm going to use when it comes to the mechanisms of mind as well discussions regarding self, illusion of self and consciousness. It is written as a popular science book but it also includes enough pointers to scientific articles with more details and depth. I can assure you that your view of 'being a human and having a single, unified notion of self' will radically change (or at least you'll start to ask some questions) after this scientific gem.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago