Abstract

Are we innately superstitious? Is it possible for even the most hardened atheist-existentialist not see the hand of destiny, traffic deities, or other disembodied psychological agents when a fortuitous parking spot transforms his life? Maybe our adaptive ability to infer intentionality to other people's behavior evolved at some point into an innate drive to infer intentionality to the gestures of the universe? Kundera's Czech novel The Joke (1965) can be read as prescient obsession with our insistence on deciphering existential meanings. I explore Bering's "Existential Theory of Mind" hypothesis to re-examine The Joke in a post-Cold War context.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 201-217
Launched on MUSE
2010-04-10
Open Access
No
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