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Lecture 4: The Model in Action: Revisiting The Problem of Co-Operation

This session is about the distinctive feedback loops that drove our evolutionary trajectory, and in particular, about the role of co-operation in human evolution. An important theme is that the defection problem, while real and important, has been both over-played and misdescribed. It has been overplayed: understanding how the threat of defection has been contained is not the only challenge to understanding co-operation. It has been misdescribed: in most environments, the defection problem is not one of identification but control. Instead of focusing on defection and its potential costs, I focus on the profit of co-operation, and how that profit ...
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Lecture 2: The Model in Action: Against Moral Nativism

Language, complex tool-use, extensive co-operation between non-relatives; religion and ritual are all distinctive features of the human mind. They seem to be found in no other living primate, and they seem to be features of all human cultures and of most (perhaps all) their members. We are tool-using, talking, co-operating, god-bothering apes. We are also moralising apes: arguably, making moral judgements is both typically human, and unique to humans. Recently, this has been grist for the modular nativist mill; Marc Hauser and John Mikhail (most notably) have explicitly based their models of moral cognition on language. I draw on the ...
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