Human Societies as Collective Brains

Innovation in the collective brain

Throughout history and common to the folk psychologies of many modern cultures, humans sometimes don’t see all the complex, contextual, incremental, coincidental, and otherwise, non-agential processes that may contribute to the successful innovation of an individual or community. That is, folk narratives often engage the “myth of the heroic inventor”; ascribing capacities more akin to Gods, Genies, or Geniuses, than of average humans, in the creation of some novelty or cultural success. What can we learn from the analogy of the collective brain?

For a deeper look, watch the video below with Dr. Michael Muthukrishna:

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The Decentralized Self

The human brain is the seat of human agency, and yet this agency is caused by cellular agents unaware of our larger human goals.

The Learning:Evolution Analogy

Learning and Evolution are processes that are both similar and different, in important respects. What can humans learn by comparing these processes?

More from the Understanding Agency collection

Understanding Agency is an OpenEvo Lesson collection for learning about the origins, diversity, and flexibility of goal-directed behaviors. Explore the network of resources through the links below.