THINK! Book Club: Kenneth R. Miller, “The Human Instinct”
For some time now I’ve wanted to host on-line Meetup events that use a bookclub format to engage people in informed discussions of topics of interest to thoughtful humanists. Now, having just finished the latest rendition of the THINK! series, I’m able to do so. Happily, I recently finished reading a book that serves my purposes well, in that it uses a well-informed but readable account of evolution to guide discussions of human behavior and mental activity, addressing such challenging topics as consciousness and free will.
The book is “The Human Instinct” by Kenneth R. Miller. Its eight chapters occupy 230 pages of text. It can be purchased from Amazon for $16 as a hardcover or $13 on Kindle. Miller’s book is not a definitive or especially original treatment of any of these topics. However, it provides a good introduction that is scientifically informed while avoiding simplistic reductionism.
Rather than covering the entire book in one Meetup session, we will discuss it over five sessions, each spaced two weeks apart on the first and third Tuesday evenings of coming months. The first session will cover the book’s first three chapters which have to do primarily with evolution. Thereafter we’ll spend a session each on Chapters 4 (evolutionary psychology), 5 (mind and thought), and 6 (consciousness), covering Chapters 7 (free will) and 8 in our final session. I will probably post a few links to other useful materials for some of these sessions.
So, if you’d like to participate in thoughtful discussions of these matters, go ahead and purchase “The Human Instinct,” read the first three chapters, and then join us at 7 PM on Tuesday, April 6th, by means of this Zoom-link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88151504678