Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press (2017)

Authors
Hugo Mercier
Institut Jean Nicod
Abstract
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.--
Keywords argument evaluation
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ISBN(s) 9780674977860   7508692284   067423782X   0674368304   0674977866   9780674237827
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Illegitimate Values, Confirmation Bias, and Mandevillian Cognition in Science.Uwe Peters - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (4):1061-1081.
Bias in Science: Natural and Social.Joshua May - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3345–3366.
Empathetic Understanding and Deliberative Democracy.Michael Hannon - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):591-611.

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Similar books and articles

Introduction: A Double Enigma.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 1-12.
16. Is Human Reason Universal?Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 277-298.
Conclusion: In Praise of Reason After All.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 328-336.
13. The Dark Side of Reason.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 237-250.
15. The Bright Side of Reason.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 262-274.
8. Could Reason Be a Module?Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 128-147.
1. Reason on Trial.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 15-33.
10. Reason: What Is It For?Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 175-202.
14. A Reason for Everything.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 251-261.
Index.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 387-400.
Acknowledgments.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 383-384.
Contents.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press.
Frontmatter.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press.
6. Metarepresentations.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 90-106.
Notes.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 337-356.

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