SSI | Week Two | 26012014 (draft)

Can a metaphor change your mind? Relational Frame Theory, ACT and Laura’s Raw Ingredients.

The etymology of the word University (the whole – the community of masters and scholars).

The etymology of the word Scholar (leisure… in solidarity!).

Knowledge and Education – Positional Goods or Public Goods (or both?).

The deep (evolutionary) history of co-operation, co-ordination and motivation.

There were twelve in the room, and I only whispered the name Robin Dunbar.

Incidental Haptic Sensations Influence Social Judgements and Decisions.

SSI | Week One | 21012014

… I got through the night without mentioning Darwin.

Sarah’s question about our roles and responsibilities, as teachers, as students, or as scholars (the term I said that I prefer to use), has occupied me since we met last Thursday.* As has my challenge to Gary and Joss about the tasks we were assigned; if you remember, I reminisced that they reminded me of English comprehension exercises from school.

At the time, I responded to Sarah with something about co-learning, the freedom to learn with and from one another, as equals… I think I may have even mentioned ‘plural subjects’. On reflection, I wish I had had the presence of mind to ask the group to indulge me while I tried to unpack Sarah’s question with a few questions of my own, and then that I had given Sarah’s question the time, space and consideration it deserved. This is exactly what Sarah and I usually do when we are riffing together. In the event, I did what most people do in such situations, and simply said the first positive sounding thing that came into my head. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

So, I’d like to ask the group now if we might assign some time during tonight’s session to Sarah’s question. If we decide that now is not the right time, I’d like to suggest that we do schedule a time to return to it during our course, and offer this as a starting point.

By the way, this request is also, in part, my response to my comment about the nature of the activities we did last week.

But I did mention Ben Folds, Damn.

* I’ve also been thinking about Jane’s related question about whether the SSC has any leaders… but that will have to wait until the next time Jane can join us.



Richerson: Human Co-operation is Complex. In response: SSI Week 19 07032013

Richerson, P.J. (2012) ‘Human cooperation is a complex problem with many possible solutions: perhaps all of them are true! Social Evolutionary Forum, 2 December, available online at

At the end of our session on Thursday, I asked everyone if they had any questions… this is my first offering to Alice, Vernon and Mike.

I also think John Bellamy Foster’s Marx’s Ecology (188-189) addresses some of Mike’s concerns; I’ll bring my copy along next Thursday.

Respectfully yours,


What was David on about at the end?


The clear separation of ‘‘you’’ from ‘‘me’’ or one individual from another has historically been accepted as self-evident. That is, ‘‘we,’’ or, ‘‘you’’ and ‘‘I,’’ are faculties in our own right; largely independent, functionally autonomous, and bounded units or systems, separate from other humans and animals that are also largely independent, functionally autonomous, and bounded. The plausibility of this commonly held belief, however, has also been brought into question by research within the field of ECS (e.g., Goldstone & Gureckis, 2009; Marsh, Johnston, Richardson, & Schmidt, 2009b; Sebanz, Bekkering, & Knoblich, 2006), which has begun to provide evidence that the mechanisms of perception, action, and cognition can be defined across, as well as within individuals.

If that has whetted your appetite: