Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind Kurzban, Robert Princeton University Press (January 23, 2011)
An excellent source for understanding morality based on the evolved structure of the human mind. Rather than being a unified whole, there are multiple modules, each designed to carry out a particular function—much like the various apps on a smartphone. Using this framework provides an interesting perspective on moral hypocrisy, may untangle some of the problems with the concept of well-being (e.g., what modules are performing the computations that underlie the experience of well-being).
Mod makes a comeback in an entertaining explanation of brain functioning that cuts the two-hemispheres theory down to size and minces the mind into modules. Coming from a background in evolutionary psychology, Kurzban suggests that the human mind is not the unified operator of actions contributing to survival and success, as many claim and even more assume, but rather a multi-faceted system of functioning parts that are not always on the same side-or even aware of the same information. The modules perform different, often separate, functions, which can account for confusing, inconsistent, and apparently contradictory behavior and speech. Bolstered by recent studies and research, Kurzban makes a convincing and coherent, though hardly comprehensive, case for the modular mind, greatly helped by humorous footnotes and examples. Despite the first-time author’s near absolution of hypocrites, promotion of ignorance, comparisons of humans to machines, and criticism of moral stances on abortion and drugs, his most controversial statements lie in the realm of the self; indeed, conventional understanding of a “self” ceases to even be plausible with the modular mind theory. Taking on lofty topics, including truth and belief, Kurzban makes a successful case for changing-and remapping-the modern mind