Category Archives: Human Nature

Posts that deal with claims, research and the science and philosophy of human nature

Is that all there is?

Apparently, McDonald’s hamburgers are the result of the best technology that food and taste engineers can provide. All ingredients and processing events are managed to within an inch – maybe less – of their lives. The consumable item is the culmination … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Human Nature, New Zealand Politics, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

On the very idea of ISIS – Part II

In the first part of this post I argued that beliefs held by individuals are not a good basis on which to analyse geopolitical events. Both beliefs and their associated collective-level behaviours are the result of other forces operating in the environment … Continue reading

Posted in Human Nature, International Politics, Media, Military, Philosophy, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

On the very idea of ISIS – Part I

The very idea of wanting to explain a practice–for example, the killing of the priest-king–seems wrong to me. All that Frazer does is to make them plausible to people who think as he does. It is very remarkable that in … Continue reading

Posted in Human Nature, International Politics, Military, Philosophy, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

When is bias no longer bias? When it’s everything.

Is Mike Hosking politically biased? I think the answer is ‘yes’. Is our media politically biased? I think the answer is also  ‘yes’. Is our society politically biased? That’s not quite so easy to answer. But for a more worrying reason … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Economics, Free Market, Human Nature, Media, New Zealand Politics, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Why Syrian refugees?

There’s two aspects to the Syrian refugee crisis that are worth thinking about a bit more deeply. That’s because both of them represent something of a departure from past behaviour. The first is the question which a few commentators, such … Continue reading

Posted in Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, International Politics, Media, New Zealand Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

PMs just wanna have fun …

According to John Key it was all just innocent “horsing around“. It wasn’t, of course – as John Armstrong in the New Zealand Herald understands. And Key knew that too. All his protests to the contrary amount to him pulling our collective … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Human Nature, National Identity, New Zealand Politics, Political Polls, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Seven Sharp, Campbell Live and TV Ratings – The ‘Nudge’ Factor

University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler and Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein  wrote a generally well-received book in 2008 called ‘Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness‘. It was an accessible assemblage of very well known work in psychology … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Free Market, Human Nature, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The politics of the empty tomb – Part I

An advantage of a few days holiday is that it allows time to let the mind reflect and run free from the routine daily tasks it has to perform in work-a-day life. Given the last few days holiday (‘Holy-day’) were about … Continue reading

Posted in Freedom, Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, New Zealand Politics, Philosophy | 3 Comments

Adam Smith on the appeal of the iPhone

“How many people ruin themselves by laying out money on trinkets of frivolous utility? What pleases these lovers of toys is not so much the utility, as the aptness of the machines which are fitted to promote it.” (Part IV, … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Free Market, Freedom, Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, Philosophy, Political Psychology, Poverty, Welfare | 10 Comments

Adam Smith and the Left and Right of Moral Sentiment – A Christmas Tale

[I’m on holiday in a place with very limited and irregular cellphone coverage and access to the internet. That means I haven’t included links in this post but, when I’ve quoted from Adam Smith’s work, I’ve referenced the ‘Part’ and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Free Market, Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, National Identity, New Zealand Politics, Philosophy | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments