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Andy Norman


“Important, provocative, and just what humanity needs!”

Angela Duckworth, New York Times bestselling author of Grit

Introduced by Lee McIntyre

Astonishingly irrational ideas are spreading. Covid denial persists in the face of overwhelming evidence. Anti-vaxxers compromise public health. Conspiracy thinking hijacks minds and incites mob violence. Toxic partisanship is cleaving nations, and climate denial has pushed our planet to the brink. Meanwhile, American Nazis march openly in the streets, and Flat Earth theory is back. What the heck is going on? Why is all this happening, and why now? More important, what can we do about it?  

In Mental Immunity, Andy Norman shows that these phenomena share a root cause. We live in a time when the so-called “right to your opinion” outweighs personal and cultural responsibilities, resulting in an ethos that compromises mental immune systems and allows “mind parasites” to overrun them. This is more than mere analogy: Norman demonstrates that minds and cultures do have immune systems that can break down. Fortunately, they can also be built up: strengthened against ideological corruption. Norman calls for a rigorous science of mental immune health – what he calls “cognitive immunology” – and explains how it could revolutionize our capacity for critical thinking.

Hailed as “a feast for thought,” Mental Immunity melds cutting-edge work in science and philosophy into an “astonishingly enlightening and productive” solution to the signature problem of our age.

Andy Norman directs the Humanism Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University. He studies how ideologies short-circuit minds and corrupt moral understanding. Norman also develops tools that help people think together in more productive ways. His research includes the evolutionary origins of human reasoning and the norms that make dialogue fruitful. He works to clarify the foundations of responsible thinking about what matters. 



Signed copies of Mental Immunity are available from White Whale Bookstore.

Andy Norman's Mental Immunity book cover


Thursday, June 3, 2021


Virtual Event
Free, with registration
Closed captioning will be available, watch on-demand on any device that supports YouTube




Upcoming Lectures

Hernan Diaz


Ed Yong

APR 29

Jesmyn Ward

MAY 13

Anna Monardo

MAY 23