How the Mind Works: The video lectures

The Technology, Entertainment, Design conference has strayed from its original focus and now hosts a wide-ranging set of talks, including a number on ‘How the Mind Works‘, all of which are available online as streamed video.

I’m always a bit suspicious of anything in psychology with grand titles like this.

I remember smiling to myself when I started reading Steven Pinker’s (actually very good) book of the same name, where he wrote in the first few pages that the book won’t actually tell you how the mind works, but will just help explain what we’ve worked out already.

I thought it would be better called ‘What I Think About What We Know About How the Mind Works So Far’, but I suspect the publisher’s would have objected.

The joke goes that Daniel Dennett’s equally as grandly titled book ‘Consciousness Explained’ should really be called ‘Consciousness Explained Away’, as he argues that their is no such thing as qualia and no hard problem to solve, two of the main issues thought to be key in consciousness research.

If you want to know more about Dennett’s views on consciousness, you can have a look at his TED lecture.

The other talks are fascinating and diverse. Helen Fisher talks about the psychology and biology of love, Daniel Gilbert talks about happiness and why we are so bad at understanding it, Ray Kurzweil talk about how we’re shortly all to become super evolved drug-enhanced semi-robots.

There’s plenty of other talks as well, so see what catches your interest. None of them will tell you how the mind works, but they’ll tell you some of what we know so far.

Link to videos of TED mind, brain and society talks.

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