We're all hypocrites. Why? Hypocrisy is the natural state of the human mind. Robert Kurzban shows us that the key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind's design. The human mind consists of many specialized units designed by the process of evolution by natural selection. While these modules sometimes work together seamlessly, they don't always, resulting in impossibly contradictory beliefs, vacillations between patience and impulsiveness, violations of our supposed moral principles, and overinflated views of ourselves. This modular, evolutionary psychological view of the mind undermines deeply held intuitions about ourselves, as well as a range of scientific theories that require a "self" with consistent beliefs and preferences. Modularity suggests that there is no "I". Instead, each of us is a contentious "we" - a collection of discrete but interacting systems whose constant conflicts shape our interactions with one another and our experience of the world.
In clear language, full of wit and rich in examples, Kurzban explains the roots and implications of our inconsistent minds, and why it is perfectly natural to believe that everyone else is a hypocrite.
Robert Kurzban is associate professor of psychology and founder of the Pennsylvania Laboratory for Experimental Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2008, he won the inaugural Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution from the Human Behavior and Evolution Society.
Acknowledgments ix Prologue 1 Chapter 1: Consistently Inconsistent 4 Chapter 2: Evolution and the Fragmented Brain 23 Chapter 3: Who Is "I"? 45 Chapter 4: Modular Me 57 Chapter 5: The Truth Hurts 76 Chapter 6: Psychological Propaganda 98 Chapter 7: Self-Deception 132 Chapter 8: Self-Control 151 Chapter 9: Morality and Contradictions 186 Chapter 10: Morality Is for the Birds 206 Epilogue 218 Notes 221 References 245 Index 267