How the Mind Works
How much do I want to read more? 8/10
This is a fascinating book. A journey in the most sophisticated thing the world has ever created.
Steven Pinker studied experimental psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience. with a focus on language acquisition in children. (The Language Instinct)
When we face a problem, we may not know its solution, but we have insight, increasing knowledge, and an inkling of what we are looking for. When we face a mystery, however, we can only stare in wonder and bewilderment, not knowing what an explanation would even look like.
I wrote this book because dozens of mysteries of the mind, from mental images to roman- tic love, have recently been upgraded to problems.
the mind is a sys- tem of organs of computation designed by natural selection to solve the problems faced by our evolutionary ancestors in their foraging way of life.
our higher callings: art, music, literature, humor, religion, and philosophy.
1 - STANDARD EQUIPMENT
I will try to explain what the mind is, where it came from, and how it lets us see, think, feel, interact, and pursue higher callings like art, religion, and phi- losophy.
Why do memories fade? How does makeup change the look of a face? Where do ethnic stereotypes come from, and when are they irra- tional? Why do people lose their tempers? What makes children bratty? Why do fools fall in love? What makes us laugh? And why do people believe in ghosts and spirits?
the first step we must take in knowing Ourselves: appreciating the fantastically complex design behind feats of mental life we take for granted.
Nature, once again, has found ingenious solutions that human engineers cannot yet duplicate.
In a well-designed system, the components are black boxes that per- form their functions as if by magic. That is no less true of the mind. The faculty with which we ponder the world has no ability to peer inside itself or our other faculties to see what makes them tick.
I want to convince you that our minds are not animated, by some godly vapor or single wonder principle. The mind, like the Apollo space- craft, is designed to solve many engineering problems, and thus is packed with high-tech systems each contrived to overcome its own obstacles.
For I bejlieve that the discovery by cognitive science and artificial intelligence of the tech- nical challenges overcome by our mundane mental activity is one of the great revelations of science, an awakening of the imagination comparable to learning that the universe is made up of billions of galaxies) or that a drop of pond water teems with microscopic life.