Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Last night I finished Steve Pinker's How the Mind Works. My mind is still working how to incorporate all the new ideas into my own worldview.

I had consciously avoided studying anything related to psychology during my formal schooling days. I had made this choice for a couple of reasons. First, when I thought of psychology, I thought of Skinner boxes and the like and it sounded horribly de-humanizing. As well, I was a student of the sciences (first in biology, then "environmental science") and to me, psychology was clearly not a science. It was a strange form of narrative that looked like a science but couldn't possibly be because people don't act in a reliable and replicable manner.

But I think Pinker's book may have changed some of my prejudices towards psychology. Granted I being the former biology student may have be especially receptive to Pinker's work as it is firmly grounded in the ideas of evolution and natural selection as developed by Darwin.

Pinker is at Harvard now although his MIT "Introduction to Psychology" OpenCourseWare is still available.

It looks like I've already got one of the course readings done.

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