Explorations in Common Sense and Common Nonsense
Daniel S. Levine's Explorations in Common Sense and Common Nonsense observes human decision making, ethics, and social organization as illuminated by the scientific disciplines of neural network theory, neuroscience, experimental psychology, and dynamical systems theory. It is a book whose aim is advocacy as well as research. Its goal is to use an understanding of our brains and minds to better operationalize Aldous Huxley's admonition to "try to be a little kinder." It wanders over examples from sociology, politics, economics, religion, literature, and many other fields but looks at all as examples of a few common themes. The "common nonsense" of the book's title refers to widespread popular beliefs that are harmful to human welfare and artificially limit human potential. The "common sense" refers to other popular beliefs that promote positive growth and are largely supported by the emerging results of psychology and neuroscience. A few of the book's major conclusions are listed below, first in the form of "bumper sticker statements" that appear in the preface, then in the form of longer "bullets" that appear in the first chapter.