Center Calendar

"Why humans do not understand humans societies: Evolved Intuitive Sociology and the Social Sciences", Pascal Boyer (Psychology and Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis) -- (VIDEO RECORDING AVAILABLE)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 01:00pm - 02:30pm

Busch Campus, Psych 101

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Talk Recording

NOTE: Due to technical difficulties we only have the first 1/2 hour of the recording.


"Why humans do not understand humans societies: Evolved Intuitive Sociology and the Social Sciences"

Abstract: People’s representations of their own societies often do not describe or explain social processes very well, especially in large-scale societies. This folk-sociology seems based on misguided, metaphorical notions found in most human cultures, e.g., that human groups are quasi-agents, that political power is a force, and that social norms are external realities outside people’s heads. Why is that the case? Here I describe plausible evolutionary background for this phenomenon. Our description of social and political processes hijacks the inferential power from evolved intuitive systems, especially intuitive physics and intuitive psychology, in a way that makes coordination possible. One central problem with much traditional social science is that it believes in folk-sociology instead of explaining it. Understanding the evolutionary challenges of coordination helps provide more psychologically plausible social sciences.


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