davidberreby.com

Murray Gell-Mann's Quest

How do people come to know things about human kinds -- about things like race and national character and culture? It's a specialized question, but it leads straight to a general one: How do people come to know about anything? What is knowledge of reality? This is a particularly important question for me, who's proposing that scientific knowledge has something new to say about problems like prejudice and intolerance. What's the nature of science?

When I can, then, I write about these fundamental epistemological questions. It is something of an understatement to say these topics are not popular with magazine editors. But now and again, an article gets commissioned. This was one of them. It's about Murray Gell-Mann, the co-discoverer (or co-inventor, if you prefer) of the quark. PDF only, at the moment.

Recent Writing

Nudge
Math, Weather and War
My profile of the remarkable Lewis Fry Richardson, pioneer of both meteorology and the study of conflict
Xenobiology
When we find intelligent aliens, how will we recognize them?
Secrecy
The mind is biased to see secret information as better than open knowledge.
Obesity
How Not to Think About Obesity
Fiction
Ghastly gastronomy, as published in Nature
A genomic nightmare
Us and Them 2008 Edition
Preface to the Paperback Edition
Essay
Are we really running out of attention?
Is it always the lone maverick who's right, when s/he refuses to play along? That's how American psychologists have taught it, but recently they have been taking another look at conformism.
Other Species