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The Robot's Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The idea that we might be robots is no longer the stuff of science fiction; decades of research in evolutionary biology and cognitive science have led many esteemed scientists to the conclusion that, according to the precepts of universal Darwinism, humans are merely the hosts for two replicators (genes and memes) that have no interest in us except as conduits for replicat ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published October 15th 2005 by University Of Chicago Press (first published May 15th 2004)
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If this book does not change your view of yourself and our culture, you are not paying attention. The thesis of the book is profound and tears away a wide range of myths we have about ourselves. I found the writing to be a bit dense. It does not flow, but it is certainly sound in science and logic. My caution to a reader is that this is well worth reading AND understanding, so take your time with it and don't let the less than stellar writing style discourage you. I almost gave it 4 stars due to ...more
Andrei Ștefănucă
An incredibly complex and truly contemporary endeavor to analyze the self, cognition and human rationality. Admirable is the author's intent to provide solutions applicable on an individual level for problems regarding modern day features of existence in a society and reality that is focused more on propagating itself than on considering individual goals, interests and holistic well being. The quality of writing, reasoning and peer reference is excellent, although the book might appear a bit too ...more
Blair Dowden
The Reductionist’s Rebellion

Here is a scary thought: the world was not designed for us. We evolved through a long chain of organisms starting with bacteria. Worse, evolution is not even about improving animal bodies; it is driven by selfish genes trying to copy themselves. We are a random outcome of a process that is mechanical, mindless and purposeless, nothing but a gene copying robot. We are staring into a “Darwinian abyss” that dissolves every traditional concept of purpose, meaning and huma
Nov 11, 2012 Chaundra rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chaundra by: Drake
Shelves: science, stephen-says
This is one of those books that I wish half stars existed for. There are some really incredible ideas in here that unfortunately are smothered in one of the worst writing styles that it's ever been my misfortune to read. Not only does this author need an editor (and NOT a science editor) but he also needs a ghost writer who can explain complex facts in a concise readable way. It's such a shame, because I think if the book were more approachable it could potentially really get the wider culture t ...more
Goddamnit, this one fell of my bike before I was finished. The chapters I had read were interesting and I was just about to start on the really juicy last two chapters. If anyone finds this in Malmö please lend it to me so that I can finish it :].
I came across this book when listening to the Rationally Speaking podcast, dedicated to rational thinking, science, and skepticism. One of the hosts recommended it as a good way to understand rational systems.

To summarize, the implications for Darwin's theory of evolution via natural selection and the Neo-Darwinian synthesis of the 20th Century really hasn't sunk in to the public consciousness and that our autonomy is really not ours. Vehicle/Driver analogies are used to explain how genes, memes
3.5 stars

Much better than I expected. Its arguments didn't seem to get confused by its own short-hand (as is so often the case).
F.D. Wing
I'll never look at myself the same again after reading this - all the selfish genes we carry around, they have immortality and we the "hosts" are little more than robots carrying them around and passing them on to the next generation of children... a great read building on Dawkin's Selfish Gene...
I'm almost certain that reading this book heavily influenced the career path I chose and the current approach I take to cognition. It was eye-opening, to say the least.
The main theme of this book is based on questioning the naive assumption by economists and evolutionary psychologists that humans are rational when it comes to decision making. The book then goes on to explain the numerous competing sub personal entities that create a competitive dual processing system, positing ways in which we can become more autonomous and free ourselves from the invasive presence of these selfish replicators.
Not an easy read by anyone’s standards. The author never uses one
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I started this book several years ago, and only about 50 pages into it realized that I needed to read "The Selfish Gene" first. That sidetracked me into other books as well, such as Andy Clark's "Being There" and Dennett's "Breaking the Spell". Just today I finally finished "The Robot's Rebellion", and it feels like an accomplishment. This is an important book that integrates evolutionary psychology with behavioral economics and modern motivation theory and several other disciplines. It's going ...more
challenging read at times.
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