Cognitive Science Reading & Discussion Group Monthly Meetup

  • January 20, 2013 · 2:00 PM
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The location of this meetup will be Espresso Roma on Hopkins St in Berkeley. For this meetup we will be discussing a paper by Keith E. Stanovich titled "On the Distinction Between Rationality and Intelligence." We can also share thoughts & ideas about various other books we have read in the field of cognitive science and other related disciplines (such as evolutionary psychology or neuroscience). I look forward to meeting and discussing cognitive science with you!

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  • Peter

    This meeting was a lot of fun, even with just 5 of us.
    The article "Is Patriotism a Virtue?" by MacIntyre is here:
    It was published in 1984. The part I was talking about is just the very last page (p. 228 here).

    Jonathan Haidt will be interviewed on Philosophy Talk on Sunday, March 10, to talk about THE RIGHTEOUS MIND. Since it doesn't say this show was pre-recorded, I assume it will be a live call-in show.

    1 · January 30, 2013

    • Peter

      Richard, that sounds about right, though we should be wary of Godwin's law. ;) When I summarized that page, you told me your objection was that Americans no longer have a shared morality. You cited Charles Murray.

      1 · January 31, 2013

    • Richard

      Oh, *that* discussion. Hmmm, so to put it in the these terms, I suspect I would say that Sittlichkeit in the U.S. has significantly bifurcated in recent decades. Although the darn place is big enough that various subcultures have always diverged, Murray provided evidence that the dominant elite has shifted from a univeralist-and-prescrip­tivist to a non-universalist-and-non­-prescriptivist attitude. (He then proceeds to draw idiotic conclusions.)

      January 31, 2013

  • Richard

    BTW, several articles I brought and briefly shared around might be of interest. First, Jonah Lehrer wrote "Why Smart People Are Stupid" for the New Yorker last June (, which is pretty amusing.

    The journal article it refers to is "Cognitive sophistication does not attenuate the bias blind spot" (, which, as Lehrer points out, "intelligence seems to make things worse" and "those more likely to engage in deliberation were slightly more vulnerable to common mental mistakes".

    The mildly dumbed-down SciAmMind article had that small selection of questions exploring various flaws in rationality. It is at

    January 20, 2013

  • Richard

    Great discussion, and it was good to see all the hardcore devotees.

    January 20, 2013

  • Peter

    Because of its decoupling from context, the reading may at times be hard to understand for those of us with suboptimal reasoning ability. So if you want to see details about the particular experiments on which these ideas are grounded, I recommend Stanovich's 2003 paper, "The Fundamental Computational Biases of Human Cognition: Heuristics that (Sometimes) Impair Decision Making and Problem Solving"

    January 19, 2013

  • Deborah B.

    Possible reading for a future Meetup: easy, short, thought-provoking: The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking. Here's a review:

    I just started it and it's quite entertaining

    December 19, 2012

    • Peter

      The author of THE ANTIDOTE will be in Berkeley this coming week: Tuesday 7pm at Books Inc., and Thursday 7:30pm at Mrs. Dalloway's. You're welcome!

      January 19, 2013

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We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

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