Mental Immune Collapse: Mind-Parasites and the Roots of Mass Irrationality

Why are ideologies poisoning public discourse? Why is extremism on the rise? How did we get here, and what can we do about it?

It turns out some influential assumptions are suppressing our culture’s “immune response” to dangerous ideas. These assumptions prevent us from normalizing critical thinking, and leave us vulnerable to epidemics of unreason. In this talk, philosopher Andy Norman will identify the root cause of mass irrationality, and argue that we can inoculate minds against unhinged thinking.

Andy Norman studies how ideologies short-circuit minds and corrupt moral understanding. Then he develops tools that help people reason together in more fruitful ways. In his book Mental Immunity, he lays out the conceptual foundations of cognitive immunology—the emerging science of mental immune health. He’s currently testing a “mind vaccine”—a way to inoculate minds against infectious ideas. Andy directs the Humanism Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University.