Christian Long

Dan Dennett: Cute, Sexy, Sweet, Funny

In TED Talks on May 26, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Extra credit reflection by RYAN S.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Dan Dennett:  Cute, Sexy, Sweet, Funny

We think backwards. As a species we tend to think of cause and effects as reversible: “post hoc ergo propter hoc.” That means “after this, ergo because of this.” This is of course a logical fallacy, because saying that “since something came after this event, it was obviously caused by the event it came after”. Yet it is the way we as human beings think all the time.

In this video Dan explains a very similar idea. We think of something a certain way, not because of a quality innate in it’s materials, but because of our brains interpretation of it. As Dan used in his example, Babies in and of themselves are not cute. Cute is just our interpretation in our brain, explaining our need to keep it alive. Humans can sometimes learn this way, as a child we can learn, that things are dangerous, not because they actually are, but because we have mental associations with it (ex: we’re spanked if we steal.) In and of itself, the act of stealing is not negative, but because of our brains, we interpret it as bad.

This video is simple in it’s approach. It has a simple point, and over all it’s well done. Its content could be summarized in a one minute video, but I think it’s introduction, and examples, are worth keeping. I liked this video, and I think other will like it too. I plan to recommend it to my friends in the future, and advise all who read this to do the same. It’s definitely with the seven minutes to watch it.


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