Cheaters

Wilson, E.O, 1978

Page Number: 
85

The buzz of conversation is a constant background to the camp’s activities: there is an endless flow of talk about gathering, hunting, the weather, food distribution, gift giving, and scandal. No !Kung is ever at a loss for words, and often two or three people will hold forth at once in a single conversation, giving the listeners a choice of channels to tune in on. A good proportion of this talk in even the happiest of camps verges on argument. People argue about improper food distribution, about breaches of etiquette, and about failure to reciprocate hospitality and gift giving… almost all the arguments are ad hominem. The most frequent accusations heard are of pride, arrogance, laziness, and selfishness.

Dennett, 1996

Page Number: 
488

How logical are we human beings? In some regards very logical, it seems, and in others embarrassingly weak. In 1969, the psychologist Peter Wason devised a simple test that bright people—college students. for instance—do rather badly on. You may try it yourself. Here are four cards, some letter- side-up, and some number-side-up. Each card has a numeral on one side and a letter on the other:

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