The Knowledge Illusion

Why We Never Think Alone

Philip Fernbach

3.97 based on 64 ratings & 14 reviews on Goodreads.com
Macmillan Digital Audio

Publication date: 06.04.2017
ISBN: 9781509845262
Number of pages: 0

Synopsis

Human reasoning is remarkably shallow - in fact, our thinking and justifications just scratch the surface of the true complexity of the issues we deal with. The ability to think may still be the greatest wonder in the world (and beyond), but the way that individuals think is less than ideal. In The Knowledge Illusion, Sloman and Fernbach show that our intelligence resides not in individual brains but in the collective mind. To function, individuals rely not only on knowledge that is stored within our skulls but also on knowledge stored elsewhere, be it in our bodies, in the environment or especially in other people. Put together, human thought is incredibly impressive, but at its deepest level it never belongs to any individual alone.

And yet the mind supports the most sublime, incredible phenomenon of all: consciousness. How can any of this be possible with a mind that is so imperfect? This is one of the key challenges confronted in this book. The Knowledge Illusion ties together established scientific facts whilst also considering what the mind is for. Understanding why the mind is as it is, and what it is for, will show why we need to consider it as extending beyond our skulls; why we should think about 'the mind' as far more than an extension of the brain but as an emergence from multiple brains interacting. Simply put, individuals know relatively little, but the human hive that emerges when people work together knows a lot.

In the media

"We radically overestimate how much we know. In this fascinating book, Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach examine the origin and consequences of this knowledge illusion, exploring both the extent of our ignorance and the clever ways in which we overcome it. This is an exceptionally clear and well-reasoned book, and it has some important and radical things to say about everything from the allure of stories to how iPhones make us smarter to the pros and cons of democracy. This is psychology at its best."
Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology at Yale University, and author of Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion
In The Knowledge Illusion, the cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach hammer another nail into the coffin of the rational individual... positing that not just rationality but the very idea of individual thinking is a myth.
Yuval Harari, bestselling author of Sapiens and Homo Deus
In The Knowledge Illusion, the cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach hammer another nail into the coffin of the rational individual... positing that not just rationality but the very idea of individual thinking is a myth.
Yuval Harari, bestselling author of Sapiens and Homo Deus