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The Robot's Rebellion

The Robot's Rebellion
Author: Keith E. Stanovich
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226771253
Pages: 374
Year: 2005-10-15
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Responds to the idea that humans are merely survival mechanisms for their own genes, providing the tools to advance human interests over the interests of the replicators through rational self-determination.

The Robot's Rebellion

The Robot's Rebellion
Author: Keith E. Stanovich
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226770893
Pages: 374
Year: 2004-05-15
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The idea that we might be robots is no longer the stuff of science fiction; decades of research in evolutionary biology and cognitive science have led many esteemed scientists to the conclusion that, according to the precepts of universal Darwinism, humans are merely the hosts for two replicators (genes and memes) that have no interest in us except as conduits for replication. Richard Dawkins, for example, jolted us into realizing that we are just survival mechanisms for our own genes, sophisticated robots in service of huge colonies of replicators to whom concepts of rationality, intelligence, agency, and even the human soul are irrelevant. Accepting and now forcefully responding to this decentering and disturbing idea, Keith Stanovich here provides the tools for the "robot's rebellion," a program of cognitive reform necessary to advance human interests over the limited interest of the replicators and define our own autonomous goals as individual human beings. He shows how concepts of rational thinking from cognitive science interact with the logic of evolution to create opportunities for humans to structure their behavior to serve their own ends. These evaluative activities of the brain, he argues, fulfill the need that we have to ascribe significance to human life. We may well be robots, but we are the only robots who have discovered that fact. Only by recognizing ourselves as such, argues Stanovich, can we begin to construct a concept of self based on what is truly singular about humans: that they gain control of their lives in a way unique among life forms on Earth—through rational self-determination.

What Intelligence Tests Miss

What Intelligence Tests Miss
Author: Keith E. Stanovich
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300142536
Pages: 288
Year: 2009-01-27
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Critics of intelligence tests writers such as Robert Sternberg, Howard Gardner, and Daniel Goleman have argued in recent years that these tests neglect important qualities such as emotion, empathy, and interpersonal skills. However, such critiques imply that though intelligence tests may miss certain key noncognitive areas, they encompass most of what is important in the cognitive domain. In this book, Keith E. Stanovich challenges this widely held assumption.Stanovich shows that IQ tests (or their proxies, such as the SAT) are radically incomplete as measures of cognitive functioning. They fail to assess traits that most people associate with good thinking, skills such as judgment and decision making. Such cognitive skills are crucial to real-world behavior, affecting the way we plan, evaluate critical evidence, judge risks and probabilities, and make effective decisions. IQ tests fail to assess these skills of rational thought, even though they are measurable cognitive processes. Rational thought is just as important as intelligence, Stanovich argues, and it should be valued as highly as the abilities currently measured on intelligence tests.

Who Is Rational?

Who Is Rational?
Author: Keith E. Stanovich
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 1135687552
Pages: 312
Year: 1999-04-01
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Integrating a decade-long program of empirical research with current cognitive theory, this book demonstrates that psychological research has profound implications for current debates about what it means to be rational. The author brings new evidence to bear on these issues by demonstrating that patterns of individual differences--largely ignored in disputes about human rationality--have strong implications for explanations of the gap between normative and descriptive models of human behavior. Separate chapters show how patterns of individual differences have implications for all of the major critiques of purported demonstrations of human irrationality in the heuristics and biases literature. In these critiques, it has been posited that experimenters have observed performance errors rather than systematically irrational responses; the tasks have required computational operations that exceed human cognitive capacity; experimenters have applied the wrong normative model to the task; and participants have misinterpreted the tasks. In a comprehensive set of studies, Stanovich demonstrates that gaps between normative and descriptive models of performance on some tasks can be accounted for by positing these alternative explanations, but that not all discrepancies from normative models can be so explained. Individual differences in rational thought can in part be predicted by psychological dispositions that are interpreted as characteristic biases in people's intentional-level psychologies. Presenting the most comprehensive examination of individual differences in the heuristics and biases literature that has yet been published, experiments and theoretical insights in this volume contextualize the heuristics and biases literature exemplified in the work of various investigators.

The Rationality Quotient

The Rationality Quotient
Author: Keith E. Stanovich, Richard F. West, Maggie E. Toplak
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262034840
Pages: 480
Year: 2016-09-30
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Preface -- Acknowledgements -- Theoretical underpinnings -- Definitions of rationality in philosophy, cognitive science, and lay discourse -- Rationality, intelligence, and the functional architecture of the mind -- Overcoming miserly processing : detection, override, and mindware -- A framework for the comprehensive assessment of rational thinking (CART) -- The components of rational thought assessed by the CART -- Probabilistic and statistical reasoning -- Scientific reasoning -- Avoidance of miserly information processing : direct tests -- Avoidance of miserly information processing : indirect effects -- Probabilistic numeracy, financial literacy, sensitivity to expected value, and risk knowledge -- Contaminated mindware -- The dispositions and attitudes of rationality -- Comprehensive rational thinking assessment : data and conclusions -- Associations among the subtests : a short-form CART -- Associations among the subtests : the full-form CART -- The CART : context, caveats, and questions -- The social and practical implications of a rational thinking test -- Appendix: Structure and sample items for the subtests and scales of the comprehensive assessment of rational thinking -- References -- Index

Rationality and the Reflective Mind

Rationality and the Reflective Mind
Author: Keith Stanovich
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195341147
Pages: 328
Year: 2011-02-03
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The author attempts to resolve the debate about how much irrationality to ascribe to human cognition. He shows how the insights of dual-process theory and evolutionary psychology can be combined to explain why humans are sometimes irrational even though they possess cognitive machinery of remarkable adaptiveness.

The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene
Author: Richard Dawkins
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0192860925
Pages: 352
Year: 1989
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An ethologist shows man to be a gene machine whose world is one of savage competition and deceit

How to Think Straight about Psychology

How to Think Straight about Psychology
Author: Keith E. Stanovich
Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
ISBN: 0205512658
Pages: 240
Year: 2007
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Keith Stanovich's widely used and highly acclaimed book helps students become more discriminating consumers of psychological information, helping them recognize pseudoscience and be able to distinguish it from true psychological research. Stanovich helps instructors teach critical thinking skills within the rich context of psychology. It is the leading text of its kind.How to Think Straight About Psychology says about the discipline of psychology what many instructors would like to say but haven't found a way to. That is one reason adopters have called it "an instructor's dream text" and often comment "I wish I had written it. It tells my students just what I want them to hear about psychology".

Cultural Evolution

Cultural Evolution
Author: Kate Distin
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521189713
Pages: 272
Year: 2011
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Expounds a theory of cultural evolution and shows how it can help us to understand the development of human culture.

Why Think?

Why Think?
Author: Ronald de Sousa
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198040938
Pages: 200
Year: 2007-06-25
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In a world where natural selection has shaped adaptations of astonishing ingenuity, what is the scope and unique power of rational thinking? In this short but wide-ranging book, philosopher Ronald de Sousa looks at the twin set of issues surrounding the power of natural selection to mimic rational design, and rational thinking as itself a product of natural selection. While we commonly deem ourselves superior to other species, the logic of natural selection should not lead us to expect that nature does everything for the best. Similarly, rational action does not always promote the best possible outcomes. So what is the difference? Is the pursuit of rationality actually an effective strategy? Part of the answer lies in language, including mathematics and science. Language is the most striking device by which we have made ourselves smarter than our nearest primate cousins. Sometimes the purely instinctual responses we share with other animals put explicit reasoning to shame: the movements of a trained athlete are faster and more accurate than anything she could explicitly calculate. Language, however, with its power to abstract from concrete experience and to range over all aspects of nature, enables breathtakingly precise calculations, which have taken us to the moon and beyond. Most importantly, however, language enables us to formulate an endless multiplicity of values, in potential conflict with one another as well as with instinctual imperatives. In short, this sophisticated and entertaining book shows how our rationality and our irrationality are inextricably intertwined. Ranging over a wide array of evidence, it explores the true ramifications of being human in the natural world.

Emotions

Emotions
Author: Keith Oatley
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 0470777117
Pages: 208
Year: 2008-05-12
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Emotions: A Brief History investigates the history of emotions across cultures as well as the evolutionary history of emotions and of emotional development across an individual's life span. In clear and accessible language, Keith Oatley examines key topics such as emotional intelligence, emotion and the brain, and emotional disorders. Throughout, he interweaves three themes: the changes that emotions have undergone from the past to the present, the extent to which we are able to control our emotions, and the ways in which emotions help us discern the deeper layers of ourselves and our relationships.

A Significant Life

A Significant Life
Author: Todd May
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022623570X
Pages: 240
Year: 2015-04-02
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What makes for a good life, or a beautiful one, or, perhaps most important, a meaningful one? Throughout history most of us have looked to our faith, our relationships, or our deeds for the answer. But in A Significant Life, philosopher Todd May offers an exhilarating new way of thinking about these questions, one deeply attuned to life as it actually is: a work in progress, a journey—and often a narrative. Offering moving accounts of his own life and memories alongside rich engagements with philosophers from Aristotle to Heidegger, he shows us where to find the significance of our lives: in the way we live them. May starts by looking at the fundamental fact that life unfolds over time, and as it does so, it begins to develop certain qualities, certain themes. Our lives can be marked by intensity, curiosity, perseverance, or many other qualities that become guiding narrative values. These values lend meanings to our lives that are distinct from—but also interact with—the universal values we are taught to cultivate, such as goodness or happiness. Offering a fascinating examination of a broad range of figures—from music icon Jimi Hendrix to civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, from cyclist Lance Armstrong to The Portrait of a Lady’s Ralph Touchett to Claus von Stauffenberg, a German officer who tried to assassinate Hitler—May shows that narrative values offer a rich variety of criteria by which to assess a life, specific to each of us and yet widely available. They offer us a way of reading ourselves, who we are, and who we might like to be. Clearly and eloquently written, A Significant Life is a recognition and a comfort, a celebration of the deeply human narrative impulse by which we make—even if we don’t realize it—meaning for ourselves. It offers a refreshing way to think of an age-old question, of quite simply, what makes a life worth living.

Savages, Romans, and Despots

Savages, Romans, and Despots
Author: Robert Launay
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022657542X
Pages: 272
Year: 2018-10-12
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From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, Europeans struggled to understand their identity in the same way we do as individuals: by comparing themselves to others. In Savages, Romans, and Despots, Robert Launay takes us on a fascinating tour of early modern and modern history in an attempt to untangle how various depictions of “foreign” cultures and civilizations saturated debates about religion, morality, politics, and art. Beginning with Mandeville and Montaigne, and working through Montesquieu, Diderot, Gibbon, Herder, and others, Launay traces how Europeans both admired and disdained unfamiliar societies in their attempts to work through the inner conflicts of their own social worlds. Some of these writers drew caricatures of “savages,” “Oriental despots,” and “ancient” Greeks and Romans. Others earnestly attempted to understand them. But, throughout this history, comparative thinking opened a space for critical reflection. At its worst, such space could give rise to a sense of European superiority. At its best, however, it could prompt awareness of the value of other ways of being in the world. Launay’s masterful survey of some of the Western tradition’s finest minds offers a keen exploration of the genesis of the notion of “civilization,” as well as an engaging portrait of the promises and perils of cross-cultural comparison.

The Moral Animal

The Moral Animal
Author: Robert Wright
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307772748
Pages: 496
Year: 2010-11-03
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Are men literally born to cheat? Does monogamy actually serve women's interests? These are among the questions that have made The Moral Animal one of the most provocative science books in recent years. Wright unveils the genetic strategies behind everything from our sexual preferences to our office politics--as well as their implications for our moral codes and public policies. Illustrations. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Subjects of the World

Subjects of the World
Author: Paul Sheldon Davies
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226137643
Pages: 272
Year: 2009-10-15
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Being human while trying to scientifically study human nature confronts us with our most vexing problem. Efforts to explicate the human mind are thwarted by our cultural biases and entrenched infirmities; our first-person experiences as practical agents convince us that we have capacities beyond the reach of scientific explanation. What we need to move forward in our understanding of human agency, Paul Sheldon Davies argues, is a reform in the way we study ourselves and a long overdue break with traditional humanist thinking. Davies locates a model for change in the rhetorical strategies employed by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species. Darwin worked hard to anticipate and diminish the anxieties and biases that his radically historical view of life was bound to provoke. Likewise, Davies draws from the history of science and contemporary psychology and neuroscience to build a framework for the study of human agency that identifies and diminishes outdated and limiting biases. The result is a heady, philosophically wide-ranging argument in favor of recognizing that humans are, like everything else, subjects of the natural world—an acknowledgement that may free us to see the world the way it actually is.