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Julia Galef

Julia Galef

Soldiers and Scouts: Why our minds weren't built for truth, and how we can change that

Julia Galef is a writer and speaker with a focus on the question, “How can we improve human judgment, especially on complex, high-stakes decisions?” Galef runs the Update Project, sits on the board of the New York City Skeptics and hosts the podcast Rationally Speaking.

An expert on rationality, judgement, and strategy, Julia Galef notes that "our capacity for reason evolved to serve two very different purposes that are often at odds with each other. On the one hand, reason helps us figure out what’s true; on the other hand, it also helps us defend ideas that are false-but-strategically-useful. I’ll explore these two different modes of thought — I call them “the scout” and “the soldier” — and what determines which mode we default to. Finally, I’ll argue that modern humans would be better off with more scout mode and less soldier mode, and I’ll share some thoughts on how to make that happen.”

Galef is founder of The Update Project and hosts the podcast Rationally Speaking.

Stewart Brand's Summary will be posted after the Seminar takes place.

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SALT Summaries Book

$2.99 Also available as a paperback book

Condensed ideas about long-term thinking summarized by Stewart Brand
(with Kevin Kelly, Alexander Rose and Paul Saffo) and a foreword by Brian Eno.

Seminar Sponsors

Will and Margaret Hearst • David and Abby Rumsey • Kim Polese • Shel Kaphan • Garrett Gruener • The Libra Foundation • Peter Baumann • Brian Eno • Greg Stikeleather • Richard and Angie Thieriot • Nion McEvoy • Cameo Wood • Susie Tompkins Buell Fund • Panta Rhea Foundation • Ping Fu • Peter Schwartz • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation • Dean Ornish • The Baum Foundation • Lawrence Wilkinson • Mercy Burton Russell • Asia Society Northern California • Stripe • The Long Now Membership

We would also like to recognize George Cowan (01920 - 02012) for being the first to sponsor this series.