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Opinion Paper on How the Mind Works, Steven Pinker - Book Report/Review Example

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Book Opinion of How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker There are many books that talk about the mind and how to use it to bring about miraculous things. There are many new age books that state how people can use their minds to control their emotions and to live more fully…
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Book Opinion Paper on How the Mind Works, Steven Pinker
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Download file to see previous pages I thought to myself, “then why die he write the book?” The premise was intriguing enough to make me want to read on. He explains that he’s chosen a variety of theories that he thought would prove insight for the reader as to how the mind works with the rest of the world. The Mind is Comprised of Many Systems Pinker states that he is a cognitive scientist which means that he is used to studying the mind in general terms. According to Nadel and Piattelli-Palmarini (n.d.) cognitive science is “the scientific study of minds” (p. 1). They state that this can be the minds of animals or people, or it can mean artificial intelligence, it does not matter. This was an interesting insight because I wanted to understand exactly what Pinker did so that I could set the stage for an understanding of his work. In the first chapter of the book, he states that he will explore interesting and quirky things and he will show why a child can be a brat, why people lose their tempers, why makeup changes how someone looks and more. Again, these concepts are interesting enough to continue reading. Pinker starts the chapter talking about robots which did not make sense. He was not exactly comparing the human mind to robots, but as he moved into that chapter he said that the mind is actually a “system of organs” which can be thought of as “psychological faculties or mental modules” (p. 27). As humans, we use the words “the mind” very often in conversation. To think of it as a system or one unit was interesting. The author explains that the mind must have a series of components to it because it can do so many things. One of the ways that we can tell this, he suggests, is how our minds begin to act before we really think about it. We have an intuitive psychological sense that guides us in an ability to try and discern how other people will act according to their behaviors. We have to decide that other people have desires and beliefs in order for our intuitive psychology to work. Connecting intuition to psychology seemed to be an oxymoron because psychology is supposed to be scientific. Although Freud did take about consciousness and the unconsciousness, intuition seems to be something that we cannot put into a test tube or examine in a scientific way. Sperber (1997) takes this thought a bit further by stating that humans have two types of beliefs: Intuitive and reflective. Sperber says that the intuition is in the mind. Perhaps this is what Pinker is talking about. Logically, the mind must be made from specialized parts because of what it has to do, according to Pinker. Pinker made it seem as though we could tell exactly what to do in most situations by using our mind. Our mind is able to do so many things because it is made up of so many modules. Pinker also states that “nature does not dictate what we should accept or how we should live our lives” (p. 52). Many people might suggest that he is wrong because of their religious orientation. They would say that God would be the one who would dictate how we should liver or lives based on the dogma that they believe in. The author seems to give a variety of ideas that some people would enjoy be cause he is an out-of-the-box thinker, while others may think he is a bit crazy. The Mind as a Thinking Machine Pinker states that the mind does act like a computer and this is why it can do so many things. But it is better than a computer because it can remember and it can tell the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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