Who has a mind, and why does it matter?
Kurt Gray’s investigates the mysterious inner lives of animals, machines, and human beings. His research finds that minds are a matter of perception—how else can we make sense of people treating their cats like humans, and treating homeless people like objects? Such "mind perception" is immensely important because entities seen to have minds are afforded moral standing while those without minds are merely "things." Mind perception can help explain why people believe in God, debates about gay marriage, and how good deeds make us stronger. Mind perception also forms the essence of morality, as judgments about right and wrong seem to hinge upon whether people see harm to other minds.
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New Book: The Mind Club
It's clear that you have a mind, but what about a cow or a computer? Can they think and feel like you do? Do they belong in the "Mind Club" with you? This is an important question because entities with minds are afforded moral status.
Kurt's new book with Daniel Wegner explores the moral dimensions of mind perception, revealing the surprisingly simple basis for what compels us to love and hate, to harm and to protect.