The Chandaria Lectures 2017 with Prof Cecilia Heyes

The Chandaria Lectures 2017 with Prof Cecilia Heyes
8 December 2017, 6.00pm - 7.00pm
The Chancellor's Hall, First Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Cognitive Gadgets

Evolutionary psychology casts the human mind as a collection of cognitive instincts - organs of thought shaped by genetic evolution and constrained by the needs of our Stone Age ancestors.  This picture was plausible 25 years ago but, I argue, it no longer fits the facts.  Research involving infants and nonhuman animals now suggests that genetic evolution has merely tweaked the human mind, making us more friendly than our pre-human ancestors, more attentive to other agents, and giving us souped-up, general-purpose mechanisms of learning, memory and control.  Using these resources, our special-purpose organs of thought are built in the course of development through social interaction.  They are products of cultural rather than genetic evolution; cognitive gadgets rather than cognitive instincts.

Cecilia Heyes is a Senior Research Fellow in Theoretical Life Sciences, and Professor of Psychology, at All Souls College, University of Oxford.  She was educated at UCL and, after postdoctoral research as a Harkness Fellow in the United States, and at the University of Cambridge, she taught at UCL for many years.  A philosophical psychologist, her research interests focus on the evolution of cognition; the ways that natural selection, developmental and cultural processes conspire to produce adult human minds.  She is a Fellow of the British Academy.

 This event is free to attend but advanced booking is required.  Please book using the link below.


Institute of Philsophy
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