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Jeremy E. Sherman Ph.D., MPP


Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D., MPP, is a social science writer/researcher with a Masters in Public Policy and a Ph.D. in evolutionary epistemology, which simply means a focus on how different kinds of organisms make an interpretive effort.

For the past 25 years, he has collaborated closely with Harvard/Berkeley neuroscientist and biological anthropologist Terrence Deacon. Together, they study the emergence and nature of selves and effort, how organisms struggling for existence emerged from chemistry. Sherman presents their approach in his book Neither Ghost Nor Machine: The emergence and nature of selves (Columbia University Press, 2017).

Deacon’s first major project was on the evolution of language in humans. Sherman is focused on how having language has changed how humans adapt to reality. While there are plenty of super-predator species, Sherman argues that being a total jerk is uniquely human. Hence, his focus on Jerkology. Sherman offers a free 14-session podclass course on psychoproctology: how to spot and stop total jerks.

Sherman’s first career was environmental activism. Though he has written academically, he prioritizes making advanced ideas easy and intuitive for the curious general readers.

Science has been weirdly silent about total jerks (or, as they’re more commonly identified, a-holes), a category that encompasses more than the diagnostic terms narcissist, psychopath, sociopath, or dark triad personality. We might agree that Stalin was a dark triad personality, but that diagnostic would not necessarily apply to all of his enthusiastic supporters. This blog attempts to address that gap in current research.

Sherman also writes the Psychology Today Blog called “Ambigamy: Insights for the Deeply Romantic and Deeply Skeptical” for which he has generated close to 1000 articles on life’s tough judgment calls.

He has been a consultant on critical thinking to the U.S. Army, a consultant on drug discovery to one of the big-5 pharma companies, the head of public affairs for a large multi-national, the founder of a 75-chapter grassroots environmental lobbying organization, a potable water engineer in Guatemala, and an elected elder on the world’s largest hippie commune. He writes a lot of deep-light, bumper-sticker-size posts on social media. He exercises in VR and plays bass and sings in jazz, funk, Latin, soul, reggae, and West African bands.

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