Thursday, January 19, 2012

Great quote by Steven Pinker

I'm listening to an audiobook version of How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker. It's excellent, if long (over 26 hours!). But it's a tour de force of human behaviour, with explanations from both neurology and evolutionary psychology.

Near the beginning of chapter 8, entitled "The Meaning of Life", Pinker writes,
Given that the mind is a product of natural selection, it should not have a miraculous ability to commune with all truths. It should have a mere ability to solve problems that are sufficiently similar to the mundane survival challenges of our ancestors.
According to a saying, "If you give a boy a hammar, the whole world becomes a nail", if you give a species an elementary grasp of mechanics, biology and psychology, the whole world becomes a machine, a jungle and a society.
He goes on to say that religion and philosophy are, in part, the application of mental tools to problems they were not designed to solve.

No comments:

Post a Comment