Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 30 October 2023 | 1h 17m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Michael Muthukrishna about his book A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going. Brings together ideas from cultural evolution, energy engineering, economics, and psychology to outline an integrated theory providing basic organising principles for society based on how people relate to each other and to the physical resources available spelled out as ‘laws’ of energy, innovation, cooperation, and evolution.
Have you bought this book yet? You really must. The highest praise I can give it is that it feels like the next book that Matt Ridley might have written.
The Dissenter | 25 September 2023 | 1h 40m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Michael Muthukrishna about his book A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going. Discusses the premise of the book; the four laws of life: energy, innovation, cooperation, and evolution; how cooperation expands in human societies, and what distinguishes us from other animals; intelligence and IQ, and the collective brain and the idea of “genius”; the importance of institutions and cultural norms, and the role of ideas; multiculturalism, and how to solve the “paradox of diversity”; our current energy ceiling, and the problems that derive from it and how to solve them; and the challenges of studying human behavior cross-culturally.
It’s finally here! Michael Muthkrishna launched what will surely be the most important book this year in conversation with Matthew Syed at the London School of Economics. You can watch the launch on LSE’s YouTube channel (the presentation starts 7 min 15 s into the video. You should definitely subscribe to his Substack.
LSE London Alumni Talks | 29 August 2021 | 0h 50m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Michael Muthukrishna about Culturalytics, his initiative that helps organisations measure and manage organisational culture and how this can be used in strategic planning and policy. Discusses what we mean by culture, useful ways to think about culture and the insights this provides for mergers and acquisitions, corporate innovation, employee retention, and policy-making around fake news and climate change.
I listened to this to salve my hunger waiting for Muthukrishna’s book, A Theory of Everyone, which I expect to be the best book of 2023.
Big Biology | 15 June 2023 | 1h 11m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Andreas Wagner about his book Sleeping Beauties: The Mystery of Dormant Innovations in Nature and Culture. Explains how novel traits sometimes lie dormant for millions of years waiting until the environment changes to become useful, leading to speciation or offering novel solutions to ecological problems. These long fuses are also evident in our history, namely the life-changing technologies we invent but don’t fully exploit until the right social or economic context arises.
The Ezra Klein Show | 26 May 2023 | 1h 11m | Listen Later | Spotify
Interview with Joseph Henrich about his book The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous. Discusses Henrich’s theory of how “cultural evolution” leads to psychological – even genetic – changes in humans, the difference between societies that experience “shame” as a dominant emotion as opposed to “guilt,” the unique power of religion in driving cultural change, how cultural inventions like reading have reshaped human biology, why religious communes tend to outlast secular ones, why Henrich believes there is no static “human nature” aside from our cultural learning abilities, how differences in moral psychology across the United States can predict Donald Trump’s 2016 and 2020 vote share, why higher levels of immigration tend to lead to far more innovation, and more.
See also episodes with Joseph Henrich on Conversations with Tyler and The Insight.
The Dissenter | 29 August 2022 | 1h 26m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Victor Kumar about his book A Better Ape: The Evolution of the Moral Mind and How it Made us Human. Discusses gene-culture coevolution; the three ingredients of the moral mind: core moral emotions, core moral norms, and a capacity for open-ended moral reasoning; moral intuition; moral reasoning; moral progress; institutional moralities; the role of religion, and moral philosophy; whether it is possible to a universal ethical code; political correctness, and a theoretical framework for addressing injustice and inequality.
The Dissenter | 17 June 2022 | 1h 09m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Manvir Singh about his paper Human Social Organization During the Late Pleistocene: Beyond the Nomadic-Egalitarian Model. Argues that some of our late Pleistocene forbears lived in large, sedentary, dense communities, not just as nomadic-egalitarian hunter-gatherers. Discusses the nomadic-egalitarian hunter-gatherer model, his diverse histories model, the implications it has for our evolved psychology, and how we think about evolutionary mismatches; how human societies get organized; the origins of agriculture; the transition to large-scale agricultural societies, and non-agricultural state societies; the sympathetic plot in fiction, and its psychological origins; and the functionality of beliefs.
I nearly missed this episode – don’t make that mistake – it is truly excellent. I suggest checking out his writing. I also recommend Razib Khan’s interview.
Factually! with Adam Conover | 23 March 2022 | 1h 19m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Alice Evans about ideas from her forthcoming book The Great Gender Divergence. Explains how male governance springs from systems of inheritance, why matrilineal systems tend to convert to patrilineal ones, and why we’re seeing progress on gender equality around the world.