The Mating Mind

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 07:34:44 MDT

I just finished reading "The Mating Mind", by Geoffrey Miller.
I just submitted a review to (my first there), giving
it five stars, and titled "He's asking all the right questions":

"It was wonderful to read someone who realizes what the big puzzling
phenomena are in human behavior, who has read very widely in search of
data and theories to illuminate that phenomena, and who has sufficient
analytical precision to identify the failings in previous theories. Mr.
Miller also does a heroic job of attempting to construct a simple common
framework, primarily sexual selection of costly fitness indicators, to
explain many otherwise puzzling human behaviors, such as sport, art,
morality, and language.

Mr. Miller has probably chosen the right framework for explaining most of
these puzzles, and made some good first steps in fitting human behavior into
that framework. In the end, the fit remains awkward, and an academic I
would rather that Mr. Miller had concluded his book by summarizing the vast
remaining difficulties and open questions, rather than leave many readers
with the impression that he had solved most of the big puzzles. But while
he may not have all the answers, Mr. Miller has done an excellent job of
framing the important questions."

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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