Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind by Gary Marcus pp, Faber, £ Why do I find it so difficult to remember a string. Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind. Gary Marcus. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, pages, ISBN: (hbk); $ Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind is a non-fiction book by American psychologist Gary Marcus. A “kluge” is a patched-together.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. At the end, Marcus explains successfully how the science of evolutionary psychology roundly debunks intelligent design theory. We can barely tell the difference between a valid syllogism, such as All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal, and a fallacious counterpart, such as All living things need water, roses need water, therefore roses are living things which seems fine until you substitute car batteries for roses.

The lives of the three astronauts were saved.

Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind

I’ve held my memory in contempt for quite a while, and that was one of the chapters of the book. Marcus uses the term “kluge” from engineering to describe the many ways in which the human mind is sub-optimal from the point of view of some imagined “perfect” design. It was an enjoyable book, especially the many references to study that showed just how ‘kluge-y’ thf brain is.

In the chapter on choice, for example, he points out that we often make highly irrational decisions when it comes to money because our mind is basically trying to wing it with a system that was developed not to deal with money but rather with food. Marcus relies heavily on the metaphor of the brain as computer and employs an engineerig term, “kluge”, to say just how effective a computer he thinks it is.

But, nonliving things need water too Marcus offers the example of a car battery. I have a clearer picture of my cognitive biases and with this I can hopefully make better decisions. On another level, his purpose in writing this book is to poke a hole in the arguments of starry-eyed evolutionary psychologists, who believe that every aspect of our psychology can be discovered to have an underlying adaptive basis.

It was accordingly temperamental, subject to frequent breakdowns, and devilishly difficult to repair–but oh, so clever! It was even compared to a brand of paper feeder which was described as Accordingly temperamental, subject to frequent breakdowns, and devilishly difficult to repair—but oh so clever! The New Musician and the Science of Learning.


In Kludge, Gary Marcus highlights a number of design problems with the mind and explains the corresponding evolutionary reasons why these problems have arisen.

It’s a very easy read but also very deep in knowledge. Feb 03, Rebecca minr it really liked it. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. While evolution does lead to supremely well-designed and efficient organisms and biological processes, it also leads to a lot of junk.

Lf recalling the list is just walking through the building. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt- Psychology – pages. He would’ve given homo sapiens memory like a computer’s, what he calls “postal code memory,” in which each memory is at a specific address in the brain. We have thus come to learn that no human being’s body is ‘perfect’: Virtually everybody agrees that the term was first popularized in Februaryin an article titled “How to Design a Kludge,” written, tongue in cheek, by a computer pioneer named Jackson Granholm, who defined a kluge as “an ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole.

The deliberative system is the younger, rational system.

Kluge, The Book, by Gary Marcus

Hence a tasty goody may be too much to resist despite a long-term rational goal of healthy eating. This book takes a quick trip through the human mind and what sort of evolutionary construction could have led to a mind that is a mess of half-developed solutions and new structures built on top of While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them.

Jun 28, Robert rated it really liked it. Though this book does revisit some territory I was already familiar with, his fundamental premise was compelling enough that it added a new dimension of understanding to the things that frustrate me about my own brain. He does justifiably grind his ax against the absurdity of creationism at times, but overall the book is very light-hearted, amusing, and engaging.

Trial-and-error evolution

Evoluttion enjoy reading about the imperfections of humans so was excited to read this. Marcus indeed provides a final chapter entitled ‘True Wisdom’ which offers 13 suggestions anyone would do well to adopt in their everyday dealings with themselves and with others.

You know, perhaps anxiety and depression are bad side effects of a haphazardly put together brain — perhaps homosexuality is due more to people being more interested in the pleasure that might be derived from sex you know, like The Panda has no thumb, but it has a wrist bone it has more or less successfully evolved to use for the purpose.

The book’s breezy style is evidently attuned to an American market in which the target reader is – in Marcus’s own phrase – “Joe Sixpack” or, presumably, his female partner. There was no way to send a replacement filter up to the crew–the evo,ution shuttle hadn”t been invented yet–and no way to bring the capsule home for several more days. Og is a glork. We all too often surrender our judgment to the subconscious, or blindly trust our instincts without actually thinking.


Before agriculture, our hunter gathering ancestors were not guaranteed a constant supply of kluye as most of us are today. Using a pastiche of horoscopes, Marcus illustrates his point.

This turned out to be a wonderful little book which surveyed many of the ways in which the human brain doesn’t function rationally or ideally. He is also the author of the book Guitar Zero: Others cobble together kluges out of a mixture of desperation and resourcefulness, like the TV character MacGyver, who, needing to make a quick getaway, jerry-built a pair of shoes from duct tape and rubber mats. The most exciting thing I learnt is that memory is context-dependent.

This wonderful book confronts a truth about evolution as it relates to hapuazard science.

Nov 15, Melody rated it really liked it. The hindbrain has been around the longest and is in charge of the real basics, breathing, hunger, balance, awareness, things that animals need from humble newt on “up.

It begs the question by analogy that if because simple physical tools such as the lever improve the function of the human arm, that that means the human arm is deficient in whole because it doesn’t measure up to the specialized application in this regard. A Kluge of Beliefs The elegance and kluginess of the human mind continues through the way we believe things.

Houghton Mifflin Company, Might have been too pop for my tastes — but it sparked my curiosity to read more academic treatments of adaptationism and optimality in cognitive science. Jun 15, Julian Eaton rated it it was amazing. This is the very crux of the problem, according to Marcus. Instead God desifned man with contextual memory which has us retrieve memory by thinking of something related to what we want to remember.

Our memories are weak, we are credulous and easily led to believe improbable or impossible things, our language is not optimally constructed.