Announcing the New Season of Lectures at Caltech
From Particles to People: The Laws of Nature and the Meaning of Life
with Dr. Sean M. Carroll
Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 2 pm
HUMAN BEINGS DO NOT STAND OUTSIDE NATURE; we are a part of it. Ultimately we are made of particles, evolving and interacting according to the laws of physics. And we know what those laws are — the progress of modern science has reached a point where the laws underlying everyday life are completely understood. This understanding lets us draw strong conclusions about the milieu in which we live. There is no telekinesis, astrology, or life after death. What does this mean for our understanding of consciousness, free will, and the meaning of life? Taking the laws of nature seriously opens a vista of possibility, freeing us from outmoded ideas about what it means to be human.
Why Everyone Else is a Hypocrite:
Evolution and the Modular Mind
with Dr. Robert Kurzban
Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 2 pm
"WE’RE ALL HYPOCRITES. Why? Evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban shows us that the key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind’s design. The human mind consists of many specialized units designed by natural selection. While these modules sometimes work together seamlessly, they don’t always, resulting in impossibly contradictory beliefs, vacillations between patience and impulsiveness, violations of our supposed moral principles, and overinflated views of ourselves. This modular view of the mind undermines deeply held intuitions about ourselves. Modularity suggests that there is no “I.” Instead, each of us is a contentious “we” — a collection of discrete but interacting systems whose constant conflicts shape our interactions with one another and our experience of the world."
Whew, I thought this was just me.