Minds Make Societies

How Cognition Explains the World Humans Create

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Author: Pascal Boyer

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300235178

Category: Psychology

Page: 320

View: 4359

A watershed book that masterfully integrates insights from evolutionary biology, genetics, psychology, economics, and more to explore the development and workings of human societies “There is no good reason why human societies should not be described and explained with the same precision and success as the rest of nature.” Thus argues evolutionary psychologist Pascal Boyer in this uniquely innovative book. Integrating recent insights from evolutionary biology, genetics, psychology, economics, and other fields, Boyer offers precise models of why humans engage in social behaviors such as forming families, tribes, and nations, or creating gender roles. In fascinating, thought-provoking passages, he explores questions such as, Why is there conflict between groups? Why do people believe low-value information such as rumors? Why are there religions? What is social justice? What explains morality? Boyer provides a new picture of cultural transmission that draws on the pragmatics of human communication, the constructive nature of memory in human brains, and human motivation for group formation and cooperation.

On Trade Justice

A Philosophical Plea for a New Global Deal

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Author: Mathias Risse,Gabriel Wollner

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192574361

Category: Political Science

Page: 288

View: 2163

Trade has made the world. Still, trade remains an elusive and profoundly difficult area for philosophical thought. This novel account of trade justice makes ideas about exploitation central, giving pride of place to philosophical ideas about global justice but also contributing to moral disputes about practical questions. On Trade Justice is a philosophical plea for a new global deal, in continuation of, but also at appropriate distance to, post-war efforts to design a fair global-governance system in the spirit of the American New Deal of the 1930s. This book is written in the tradition of contemporary analytical philosophy but also puts its subject into a historical perspective to motivate its relevance. It covers the subject of trade justice from its theoretical foundations to a number of specific issues on which the authors' account throws light. The state as an actor in the domain of global justice is central to the discussion but it also explores the obligations of business extensively, recognizing the importance of the modern corporation for trade. Topics such as wages injustice, collusion with authoritarian regimes, relocation decisions, and obligations arising from interaction with suppliers and sub-contractors all enter prominently. Another central actor in the domain of trade is the World Trade Organization. The WTO needs to see itself as an agent of justice. This book explores how this organization should be reformed in light of the proposals it makes. In particular, the WTO needs to endorse a human-rights and development-oriented mandate. Overall, this book hopes to make a theoretical contribution to the creation of an exploitation-free world.

Hanging on to the Edges

Essays on Science, Society and the Academic Life

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Author: Daniel Nettle

Publisher: Open Book Publishers

ISBN: 1783745835

Category: Science

Page: 262

View: 7682

I love this book. I love the essays and I love the overall form. Reading these essays feels like entering into the best kind of intellectual conversation—it makes me want to write essays in reply. It makes me want to get everyone else reading it. I almost never feel this enthusiastic about a book. —Rebecca Saxe, Professor of Cognitive Science at MIT What does it mean to be a scientist working today; specifically, a scientist whose subject matter is human life? Scientists often overstate their claim to certainty, sorting the world into categorical distinctions that obstruct rather than clarify its complexities. In this book Daniel Nettle urges the reader to unpick such distinctions—biological versus social sciences, mind versus body, and nature versus nurture—and look instead for the for puzzles and anomalies, the points of connection and overlap. These essays, converted from often humorous, sometimes autobiographical blog posts, form an extended meditation on the possibilities and frustrations of the life scientific. Pragmatically arguing from the intersection between social and biological sciences, Nettle reappraises the virtues of policy initiatives such as Universal Basic Income and income redistribution, highlighting the traps researchers and politicians are liable to encounter. This provocative, intelligent and self-critical volume is a testament to the possibilities of interdisciplinary study—whose virtues Nettle stridently defends—drawing from and having implications for a wide cross-section of academic inquiry. This will appeal to anybody curious about the implications of social and biological sciences for increasingly topical political concerns. It comes particularly recommended to Sciences and Social Sciences students and to scholars seeking to extend the scope of their field in collaboration with other disciplines.

Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

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Author: Cordelia Fine

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 9780393079258

Category: Social Science

Page: 304

View: 6311

“[Fine’s] sharp tongue is tempered with humor. . . . Read this book and see how complex and fascinating the whole issue is.”—The New York Times It’s the twenty-first century, and although we tried to rear unisex children—boys who play with dolls and girls who like trucks—we failed. Even though the glass ceiling is cracked, most women stay comfortably beneath it. And everywhere we hear about vitally important “hardwired” differences between male and female brains. The neuroscience that we read about in magazines, newspaper articles, books, and sometimes even scientific journals increasingly tells a tale of two brains, and the result is more often than not a validation of the status quo. Women, it seems, are just too intuitive for math; men too focused for housework. Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience and psychology, Cordelia Fine debunks the myth of hardwired differences between men’s and women’s brains, unraveling the evidence behind such claims as men’s brains aren’t wired for empathy and women’s brains aren’t made to fix cars. She then goes one step further, offering a very different explanation of the dissimilarities between men’s and women’s behavior. Instead of a “male brain” and a “female brain,” Fine gives us a glimpse of plastic, mutable minds that are continuously influenced by cultural assumptions about gender. Passionately argued and unfailingly astute, Delusions of Gender provides us with a much-needed corrective to the belief that men’s and women’s brains are intrinsically different—a belief that, as Fine shows with insight and humor, all too often works to the detriment of ourselves and our society.

Mind-Society

From Brains to Social Sciences and Professions (Treatise on Mind and Society)

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Author: Paul Thagard

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190686405

Category: Psychology

Page: 400

View: 598

How do minds make societies, and how do societies change? Paul Thagard systematically connects neural and psychological explanations of mind with major social sciences (social psychology, sociology, politics, economics, anthropology, and history) and professions (medicine, law, education, engineering, and business). Social change emerges from interacting social and mental mechanisms. Many economists and political scientists assume that individuals make rational choices, despite the abundance of evidence that people frequently succumb to thinking errors such as motivated inference. Much of sociology and anthropology is taken over with postmodernist assumptions that everything is constructed on the basis of social relations such as power, with no inkling that these relations are mediated by how people think about each other. Mind-Society displays the interdependence of the cognitive and social sciences by describing the interconnections among mental and social mechanisms, which interact to generate social changes ranging from marriage patterns to wars. Validation comes from detailed studies of important social changes, from norms about romantic relationships to economic practices, political institutions, religious customs, and international relations. This book belongs to a trio that includes Brain-Mind: From Neurons to Consciousness and Creativity and Natural Philosophy: From Social Brains to Knowledge, Reality, Morality, and Beauty. They can be read independently, but together they make up a Treatise on Mind and Society that provides a unified and comprehensive treatment of the cognitive sciences, social sciences, professions, and humanities.

Culture in Minds and Societies

Foundations of Cultural Psychology

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Author: Jaan Valsiner

Publisher: SAGE Publications India

ISBN: 8132101383

Category: Social Science

Page: 434

View: 2563

In short, Culture in Minds and Societies: Foundations of Cultural Psychology presents a new look at the relationship between people and society, produces a semiotic theory of cultural psychology and provides a dynamic treatment of culture in human lives. This book makes a decisive break from the post-modernist theoretical framework that considers knowledge as local and situation-specific. It restores the goal of construction of general knowledge to the social sciences. While recognizing the uniqueness of all human personal experience from birth to death, it emphasizes the universality of cultural organization of human minds and societies.

Luhmann Explained

From Souls to Systems

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Author: Hans-Georg Moeller

Publisher: Open Court

ISBN: 0812697510

Category: Philosophy

Page: 312

View: 9199

What are systems? What is society? What happens to human beings in a hypermodern world? This book is an introduction to Niklas Luhmann's social system theory which explains specific functions like economy and mass media from a cybernetic perspective. Integrating various schools of thought including sociology, philosophy and biology Luhmann Explained results in an overall analysis of "world society". Special attention is given to the present-day relevance of Luhmann's theory with respect to globalization, electronic mass media, ethics, and new forms of protest.

Meaning in Mind and Society

A Functional Contribution to the Social Turn in Cognitive Linguistics

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Author: Peter Harder

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter

ISBN: 3110216051

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 527

View: 5345

Meaning is embodied - but it is also social. If Cognitive Linguistics is to be a complete theory of language in use, it must cover the whole spectrum from grounded cognition to discourse struggles and bullshit. This book tries to show how. Cognitive Linguistics knocked down the wall between language and the experiential content of the human mind. Frame semantics, embodiment, conceptual construal, figure-ground organization, metaphorical mapping, and mental spaces are among the results of this breakthrough, which at the same time provided cognitive science as a whole with an essential human dimension. A new phase began when Cognitive Linguistics started to see itself as part of the wider movement of 'usage-based' linguistics. Bringing about an alliance between mind and discourse, it complemented the conceptual dimension that had been dominant until then with a 'use' dimension - thereby living up to the explicit 'experiential' commitment of Cognitive Linguistics. This outward expansion is continuing: The focus on 'meaning construction', which began with the theory of blending, highlights emergent, online effects rather than underlying mappings. Cognitive Linguistics is integrating the evolutionary perspective, which links up individual and population-based features of language. The empirical obligations incurred by this expansion have led to greatly increased attention to corpus and experimental methods, especially in relation to sociolinguistic and language acquisition research. The book describes this development and goes on to discuss the foundational challenge that it creates for Cognitive Linguistics as it begins to cover issues that are also central to types of discourse analysis focusing on social processes of determination. The book argues for a synthesis based on a renewed Cognitive Linguistics, which can accommodate everything from bodily grounding to deconstructible floating signifiers in an integrated complete picture, which also covers the roles of arbitrariness and structure.

A Vindication of the Rights of Men; A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; An Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution

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Author: Mary Wollstonecraft

Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks

ISBN: N.A

Category: Political Science

Page: 464

View: 3804

This volume brings together the major political writings of Mary Wollstonecraft in the order in which they appeared in the revolutionary 1790s. It traces her passionate and indignant response to the excitement of the early days of the French Revolution and then her uneasiness at its later bloody phase. It reveals her developing understanding of women's involvement in the political and social life of the nation and her growing awareness of the relationship between politics and economics and between political institutions and the individual. In personal terms, the works show her struggling with a belief in the perfectibility of human nature through rational education, a doctrine that became weaker under the onslaught of her own miserable experience and the revolutionary massacres. Janet Todd's introduction illuminates the progress of Wollstonecraft's thought, showing that a reading of all three works allows her to emerge as a more substantial political writer than a study of The Rights of Woman alone can reveal. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.