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Week 6 round-up

This week, we focused on how incredible complexity can emerge in the absence of design – where do languages, cultures and societies come from? Termites, which are incredibly simple beings, …

Introduction to Week 6

This week, we are picking up on some threads from last week and focusing on the origin of language and the complexity of society more generally, but shifting focus from …

What makes humans special?

Is ‘we-thinking’ really crucial to the construction of human culture and society? Does this create a fundamental divide between human society and ‘societies’ of non-human animals (such as termites, ants …

The puzzle of the Hi-Lo Game

In this first video of the week I begin to expand the discussion from the ways we each make decisions on our own, to the factors that come into play …

Introduction to Week 5

So far, in weeks 1 to 4, we have been thinking, primarily, about individual minds; although we have thought from time to time about how our beliefs, preferences and actions …

Why do we have personalities?

A natural perspective on personality is to think we just have them and they determine our behaviour. So the personality’s in there, and that just shapes the way we do …

The mind as a crossword puzzle solver

The general point that the mind can only do one thing at a time (with some exceptions) is a crucial and very general limit on how we think. Now clearly …

Introduction to Week 4

Psychologists often seem to paint people in a pretty poor light. It is certainly newsworthy, and often very informative, when an experiment shows that people make inconsistent choices, or we …

Becoming a money pump

It turns out that ‘money pump’ arguments can be made to justify a lot of different national principles. For example, rather incredibly, it turns out that if you violate the …

Introduction to week 3

In the last two weeks, we have talked about the idea that hidden mental depth is an illusion and that our brains, in particular, see the world in comparative, rather …

Issue: Maximising happiness

Governments have to have some way of figuring out whether they’re succeeding or failing, and the way they’ve tended to do this is by looking at some sort of measure …

The Easterlin Paradox

This week, we’re going to talk about the relativity of the mind. You’ve heard about relativity in physics, of course, and luckily, relativity in the context of psychology is much …

Week 1 round-up

We covered a lot of ideas this week! Here’s a brief summary to help you get your head around it all. There’s an intuitive picture of the mind that most …

Introduction to week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of The Mind is Flat. Last week, we focused on challenging the notion of ‘mental depth’. This suggested we do not really know how big or …