The Social Animal

A fascinating talk from David Brooks, author of the Social Animal who featured on SI a few months ago here, about the new understandings of human nature and their consequences for political life and the social world. He suggests that a revolution in our understanding of being human is taking place, driven by cognitive scientists rather than, as might have once been the case, philosophers and theologians.

Social Animal

I’m currently reading his book at the moment and, at least in terms of this sort of popular social science, it’s one of the best I’ve read in a long time. He synthesises an enormous literature in an accessible and enjoyable way, introducing cutting edge research in a range of disciplines (as well as the historical precursors to these modern innovations) to a much wider public than would possibly encounter this stuff. In fact I’d go so far as to say it’s a model for how to do publicly engaged science – so why aren’t more academics writing these sorts of books?


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