The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier

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Read The Enigma of Reason Online Free - Reason, we are told, is what makes us human, the source of our knowledge and wisdom. If reason is so useful, why didn't it also evolve in other animals? If reason is that reliable, why do we produce so much thoroughly reasoned nonsense? In their groundbreaking account of the evolution and workings of reason, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber set out to solve this double enigma. Reason, they argue with a compelling mix of real-life and experimental evidence, is not geared to solitary use, to arriving at better beliefs and decisions on our own. What reason does, rather, is help us justify our beliefs and actions to others, convince them through argumentation, and evaluate the justifications and arguments that others address to us.

In other words, reason helps humans better exploit their uniquely rich social environment. This interactionist interpretation explains why reason may have evolved and how it fits with other cognitive mechanisms. It makes sense of strengths and weaknesses that have long puzzled philosophers and psychologists--why reason is biased in favor of what we already believe, why it may lead to terrible ideas and yet is indispensable to spreading good ones.

Ambitious, provocative, and entertaining, The Enigma of Reason will spark debate among psychologists and philosophers, and make many reasonable people rethink their own thinking.

Title : The Enigma of Reason
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0674368304
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 0 pages


Satyajeet rated it ★★★★☆

December 06, 2017

This is an interesting read if you struggle (like me) with understanding societal inclinations to disregard science and data and facts. The assessment is really good overall, research analysis is done very well with appropriate parameters. I'd definitely recommend this one. This book compliments...

Thore rated it ★★★★☆

June 20, 2017

Reasoning, as we know today, sucks. People are able to convince themselves of all kinds of bullshit, and the smarter we are and the longer we think, the more stubborn we seem to become. The function of Reason seems to be to justify our intuitions, not matter how silly they are. Many recent books...

Steve rated it ★★★★★

September 04, 2017

Really loved this book! Can't believe two French academics could write so beautifully in English. Not an easy read exactly, but far from impenetrable- it takes a little work to read but ideas are explained slowly and carefully and convincingly. Basic premise is that the ability of humans to reaso...

Carl Nelson rated it ★★★★★

April 16, 2017

A persuasive and well argued claim for the interactionist view of reason in contrast to the intellectualist view of reason. By this view reason evolved to support social interaction including the statement of claims and their evaluation by others. Thus reason advances through arguments with audie...

Jeff rated it ★★★☆☆

October 01, 2017

The Enigma of Reason posits that the evolutionary function of reasoning is not to enhance individuals’ ability to arrive at better solutions to problems, but rather to provide social, group benefits. This is a striking proposition, and one that is reasonably well-developed over the course of this...

Daniel rated it ★★★★★

May 05, 2017

A fantastic book. Presents a very compelling alternative to (expansion of?) the Kahneman-ian dual systems model of cognition and a compelling enough evolutionary explanation for the existing state of human cognitive affairs. The core concepts can be difficult to get your head around (due to the si...

Rhys rated it ★★★★☆

May 04, 2017

A compelling case for an interactionist perspective of human reason. "The ability to produce and evaluate reasons has not evolved in order to improve psychological insight but as a tool for defending or criticizing thoughts and actions, for expressing commitments, and for creating mutual expectat...

Eric rated it ★★★☆☆

October 26, 2017

Some interesting ideas but falls short of a thoroughly convincing argument This is not an easy book to read. I would only recommend it for people who are truly curious about the current state of play of cognitive science debates. My main problem with it was its conceit to put forward a model aime...

Simon rated it ★★★★★

January 08, 2018

La raison des philosophes est un super-pouvoir distinctif de l'humain; celle des psychologues expérimentaux une capacité biaisée, paresseuse et fautive ("flawed") (voir Daniel Kahneman Système 1 / système 2 : les deux vitesses de la pensée pour une exposition détaillée). Ces deux perspectives son...

Paul rated it ★★★★★

December 01, 2017

Of what might be one of the last in my series of books on reason for a while, I’ll have to say that this one was also great. This book was more daring than some others because it pillories the intellectualist ideal of reason that sees reason as the means of arriving at improving ones own beliefs;...

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