Gaining Our Minds

Submitted By:
Jonathan Gold, Moses Brown School, Providence, RI

The Knowledge Illusion by Steve Sloman and Philip Fernbach
Riverhead, March 1, 2017

This readable, insightful book offers an eye-opening treatment of the true nature of human intelligence. In spite of humanity's tremendous accomplishments, many the result of our uniquely powerful intelligence, there are still many ways in which our minds inhibit our ability to think clearly and carefully. Rather than lament human cognition's limitations, Sloman and Fernbach maintain that our intelligence is better conceived not as an isolated ability specific to each knower but rather a network of interconnected brains, somewhat like a cloud computer, pulling information, harnessing creativity, and working collaboratively in our pursuit of and use of knowledge. Intelligence is not innate; it's an emergent property of our communities and relationships. The authors explore some implications for schooling and politics, but the book is at its most compelling when it allows us to marvel at human cognition, intelligence, and ingenuity as a genuinely collaborative, interrelated, and ever-evolving aspect of our lived experiences.

Science of Learning