Macnamara-Bregman Lecture


The annual Macnamara-Bregman Lecture is held in honor of the scientific and academic contributions of John Macnamara (1929-1996) and his friend Albert Bregman (1936-2023).
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February 23, 2024 at 3:30pm
Location: TBA

Paul Bloom, PhD
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto

Perverse Actions

Abstract: We occasionally act in ways that are wrong—morally or otherwise—at least partially because of the wrongness, as when we break a rule just for the sake of breaking it. I explore theories of such perverse actions, including failures of thought suppression, signalling, strategic behaviour, expressions of autonomy, and “hopeful monsters”. Some of these fail to adequately explain perversity, but others are more successful. I suggest that studying perverse actions can tell us interesting things about human nature.

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