More notes at http://tanguay.info/learntracker
C O U R S E 
Buddhism and Modern Psychology
Robert Wright, Princeton University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
What Mental Modules Are Not
Notes taken on January 18, 2016 by Edward Tanguay
if the conscious self is not the thing directing behavior and directing thought, then what is doing this?
the answer that comes from the modular view of the mind is: nothing in particular
this doesn't mean nothing, it just means no single thing
rather, there are a number of things called modules
they take turns exerting decisive on our thought, our feelings, and behavior
there is no conscious self picking the module that gets to be in charge at any given moment
it's more like the modules are competing and seizing control of the system in a kind of free-for-all, self-organizing system
1980s modern evolutionary psychology
critics of evolutionary psychology
asking why we needed to talk of the role of genes in shaping the human mind
the human mind is a blank slate
a general-purpose learning machine
no, you have to have a number of built-in, functional mechanisms
support from artificial intelligence
AI has learning since the 1950s how hard it is to design into machine functions that we take for granted
humans don't spend a lot of time puzzling over how we recognize people's faces, it seems to just happen
Swiss army knife metaphor
the brain has different modules to perform different tasks
but there are three main ways in which the modular view of the brain is not like a Swiss army knife
1. modules are not localized
each blade defines a particular space and are individualized
modules are not so localized in the brain
the facial recognition module is not in one place and no where else
it's a distributed network
2. modules interact and communicate with each other
if you see somebody you know, you also begin to interpret what they mean
the semantic interpretation module takes over from the facial recognition module
3. modules can be more than tools
blades are just tools, if there is no user, they have no use
but modules mobilize other modules
if we find enough modules and find out how they work and how they work together, we may have a more useful concept of the self than the CEO consciousness