The Enigma of Reason

Author: Hugo Mercier,Dan Sperber

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674368304

Category: Philosophy

Page: 408

View: 6876

If reason is so useful and reliable, why didn’t it evolve in other animals and why do humans produce so much thoroughly reasoned nonsense? Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber argue that reason is not geared to solitary use. It evolved to help justify our beliefs to others, evaluate their arguments, and better exploit our uniquely rich social environment.

The Enigma of Reason

Author: Hugo Mercier

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 067497784X

Category: Science

Page: 408

View: 4421

If reason is so useful and reliable, why didn’t it evolve in other animals and why do humans produce so much thoroughly reasoned nonsense? Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber argue that reason is not geared to solitary use. It evolved to help justify our beliefs to others, evaluate their arguments, and better exploit our uniquely rich social environment.

The Enigma of Reason

A New Theory of Human Understanding

Author: Dan Sperber,Hugo Mercier

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 1846145589

Category: Psychology

Page: 224

View: 1788

GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2017 'Original and provocative ... likely to have a big impact on our understanding of ourselves' Steven Pinker 'Mercier and Sperber offer a surprising and powerful response to the new orthodoxy propounded by Kahneman and Tversky ... arguing that the supposed flaws of hot, fast, automatic thinking are actually design features which work remarkably well' Julian Baggini Reason, we are told, is what makes us human, the source of our knowledge and wisdom. But, if reason is so useful, why didn't it also evolve in other animals? If it is that reliable, why do we produce so much thoroughly reasoned nonsense? In their ground-breaking account of the evolution and workings of reason, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber set out to solve this double enigma, taking us on a journey from desert ants to modern scientists, and from Aristotle to Daniel Kahneman. 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 they address to us. In other words, reason has evolved to help humans better exploit their uniquely rich social environment. This illuminating interpretation of reason makes sense of strengths and weaknesses that have long puzzled philosophers and psychologists - why reason is biased in favour 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.

Meaning and Relevance

Author: Deirdre Wilson,Dan Sperber

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 052176677X

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 382

View: 9031

When people speak, their words never fully encode what they mean, and the context is always compatible with a variety of interpretations. How can comprehension ever be achieved? Wilson and Sperber argue that comprehension is a process of inference guided by precise expectations of relevance. What are the relations between the linguistically encoded meanings studied in semantics and the thoughts that humans are capable of entertaining and conveying? How should we analyse literal meaning, approximations, metaphors and ironies? Is the ability to understand speakers' meanings rooted in a more general human ability to understand other minds? How do these abilities interact in evolution and in cognitive development? Meaning and Relevance sets out to answer these and other questions, enriching and updating relevance theory and exploring its implications for linguistics, philosophy, cognitive science and literary studies.

Rethinking Symbolism

Author: Dan Sperber

Publisher: CUP Archive

ISBN: 9780521099677

Category: Psychology

Page: 153

View: 5919

An original study on the role that innate, cultural & individual factors play in symbolic knowledge. Argues against the prevailing seminological conception of symbols.

The Knowledge Illusion

Why We Never Think Alone

Author: Steven Sloman,Philip Fernbach

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0399184341

Category: Psychology

Page: 304

View: 8206

“The Knowledge Illusion is filled with insights on how we should deal with our individual ignorance and collective wisdom.” —Steven Pinker We all think we know more than we actually do. Humans have built hugely complex societies and technologies, but most of us don’t even know how a pen or a toilet works. How have we achieved so much despite understanding so little? Cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach argue that we survive and thrive despite our mental shortcomings because we live in a rich community of knowledge. The key to our intelligence lies in the people and things around us. We’re constantly drawing on information and expertise stored outside our heads: in our bodies, our environment, our possessions, and the community with which we interact—and usually we don’t even realize we’re doing it. The human mind is both brilliant and pathetic. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and sequenced our genome. And yet each of us is error prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant. The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individual-oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. But our collaborative minds also enable us to do amazing things. The Knowledge Illusion contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the community around us.

Cognition and Chance

The Psychology of Probabilistic Reasoning

Author: Raymond S. Nickerson

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 113561461X

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 472

View: 1156

Lack of ability to think probabilistically makes one prone to a variety of irrational fears and vulnerable to scams designed to exploit probabilistic naiveté, impairs decision making under uncertainty, facilitates the misinterpretation of statistical information, and precludes critical evaluation of likelihood claims. Cognition and Chance presents an overview of the information needed to avoid such pitfalls and to assess and respond to probabilistic situations in a rational way. Dr. Nickerson investigates such questions as how good individuals are at thinking probabilistically and how consistent their reasoning under uncertainty is with principles of mathematical statistics and probability theory. He reviews evidence that has been produced in researchers' attempts to investigate these and similar types of questions. Seven conceptual chapters address such topics as probability, chance, randomness, coincidences, inverse probability, paradoxes, dilemmas, and statistics. The remaining five chapters focus on empirical studies of individuals' abilities and limitations as probabilistic thinkers. Topics include estimation and prediction, perception of covariation, choice under uncertainty, and people as intuitive probabilists. Cognition and Chance is intended to appeal to researchers and students in the areas of probability, statistics, psychology, business, economics, decision theory, and social dilemmas.

The Splendid Feast of Reason

Author: S. Jonathan Singer

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520239113

Category: History

Page: 242

View: 9012

"The Splendid Feast of Reason is the testament of that rarest of breeds, an honest man, at once fearless and modest and decent, presenting scientific rationalism at its best. Singer's superb humanistic summary of modern biology alone is worth the price."—Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor, Harvard University

Denying to the Grave

Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us

Author: Sara E. Gorman,Lieber Professor and Vice-Chair for Research Department of Psychiatry College of Physicians and Surgeons Jack M Gorman, M.D.

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199396604


Page: 328

View: 7009

Why do some parents refuse to vaccinate their children? Why do some people keep guns at home, despite scientific evidence of risk to their family members? And why do people use antibiotics for illnesses they cannot possibly alleviate? When it comes to health, many people insist that science is wrong, that the evidence is incomplete, and that unidentified hazards lurk everywhere. In Denying to the Grave, Gorman and Gorman, a father-daughter team, explore the psychology of health science denial. Using several examples of such denial as test cases, they propose six key principles that may lead individuals to reject "accepted" health-related wisdom: the charismatic leader; fear of complexity; confirmation bias and the internet; fear of corporate and government conspiracies; causality and filling the ignorance gap; and the nature of risk prediction. The authors argue that the health sciences are especially vulnerable to our innate resistance to integrate new concepts with pre-existing beliefs. This psychological difficulty of incorporating new information is on the cutting edge of neuroscience research, as scientists continue to identify brain responses to new information that reveal deep-seated, innate discomfort with changing our minds. Denying to the Grave explores risk theory and how people make decisions about what is best for them and their loved ones, in an effort to better understand how people think when faced with significant health decisions. This book points the way to a new and important understanding of how science should be conveyed to the public in order to save lives with existing knowledge and technology.

What Stalin Knew

The Enigma of Barbarossa

Author: David E. Murphy

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 9780300130263

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 310

View: 6338

This book - a revised and expanded edition of the definitive biography of Bessie Smith, known as the "Empress of the Blues"--Debunks many of the myths that circulated after her untimely death in 1937. For this new edition, Chris Albertson provides more details of Bessie's early years, new interview material, and a chapter devoted to events and responses that followed the original publication. "Seeking justice for Bessie has been a life's work for Albertson, and this reissue is greatly to be welcomed ... an exemplary biography" John Mole, Times Literary Supplement "The first estimable full-length biography not only of Bessie Smith but of any black musician." Whitney Balliett, New Yorker (on the first edition) "A remarkably clear-eyed examination of Smith's personality (and sexuality) and, more important, of the gritty and greedy music business." Benjamin Schwarz, Atlantic Monthly.


What It Is and Why It Matters

Author: Gloria Origgi

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 140088859X

Category: Psychology

Page: 296

View: 6383

A compelling exploration of how reputation affects every aspect of contemporary life Reputation touches almost everything, guiding our behavior and choices in countless ways. But it is also shrouded in mystery. Why is it so powerful when the criteria by which people and things are defined as good or bad often appear to be arbitrary? Why do we care so much about how others see us that we may even do irrational and harmful things to try to influence their opinion? In this engaging book, Gloria Origgi draws on philosophy, social psychology, sociology, economics, literature, and history to offer an illuminating account of an important yet oddly neglected subject. Origgi examines the influence of the Internet and social media, as well as the countless ranking systems that characterize modern society and contribute to the creation of formal and informal reputations in our social relations, in business, in politics, in academia, and even in wine. She highlights the importance of reputation to the effective functioning of the economy and e-commerce. Origgi also discusses the existential significance of our obsession with reputation, concluding that an awareness of the relationship between our reputation and our actions empowers us to better understand who we are and why we do what we do. Compellingly written and filled with surprising insights, Reputation pins down an elusive subject that affects everyone.

Moral Tribes

Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them

Author: Joshua David Greene

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0143126059

Category: Philosophy

Page: 422

View: 8099

A path-breaking neuroscientist explores how globalization has illuminated the deep moral divisions between opposing sides, drawing on pioneering research to reveal the evolutionary sources of morality while outlining recommendations for bridging divided cultures.

The Enigma of Loch Ness

Making Sense of a Mystery

Author: Henry H. Bauer

Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers

ISBN: 1620322315

Category: Science

Page: 258

View: 4781

Like UFO's, Big Foot, and the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness monster continues to fascinate us by the persistence of its mystery. While many authors have focused upon the search for Nessie, Bauer is the first to present a detailed and balanced look at the history of the controversy surrounding this search.Bauer is much more concerned with examining the sociological, psychological, and philosophical aspects of the Loch Ness controversy than with proving or disproving Nessie's existence. He shows that the Nessie phenomenon has much to tell us about how we acquire our beliefs, about the nature of the scientific enterprise, and about the adversarial relationship between mainstream science and "fringe" subjects, such as Nessie.The result of more than a decade of research, Bauer's study includes both famous and little known photos and illustrations, the most complete bibliography yet compiled on the subject, and a list of close to 800 reported sightings. Whether you believe in Nessie or laugh at the mere thought of believing, you'll find The Enigma of Loch Ness both entertaining and enlightening.

Moral Inferences

Author: Jean-Francois Bonnefon,Bastien Trémolière

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 1317383842

Category: Psychology

Page: 214

View: 7385

Moral Inferences is the first volume to thoroughly explore the relationship between morality and reasoning. Drawing on the expertise of world-leading researchers, this text provides ground-breaking insight into the importance of studying these distinct fields together. The volume integrates the latest research into morality with current theories in reasoning to consider the prominent role reasoning plays in everyday moral judgements. Featuring contributions on topics such as moral arguments, causal models, and dual process theory, this text provides a new perspectives on previous studies, encouraging researchers to adopt a more integrated approach in the future. Moral Inferences will be essential reading for students and researchers of moral psychology, specifically those interested in reasoning, rationality and decision-making.

Gaining Control

How Human Behavior Evolved

Author: Robert Aunger,Valerie Curtis

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199688958

Category: Behavior evolution

Page: 176

View: 8163

The human brain is an astonishingly complex organ, but how did it come to be this way? In this book, the authors argue that evolution is crucial to understanding the brain. If we really want to understand this organ, we need to consider the various steps in evolution that led to our brains evolving in the way that they did, whilst considering how our behavioral capacities might have evolved from those of other animal species.


The Science of Seeing Differently

Author: Beau Lotto

Publisher: Hachette Books

ISBN: 0316300179

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 2060

Beau Lotto, the world-renowned neuroscientist, entrepreneur, and two-time TED speaker, takes us on a tour of how we perceive the world, and how disrupting it leads us to create and innovate. Perception is the foundation of human experience, but few of us understand why we see what we do, much less how. By revealing the startling truths about the brain and its perceptions, Beau Lotto shows that the next big innovation is not a new technology: it is a new way of seeing. In his first major book, Lotto draws on over two decades of pioneering research to explain that our brain didn't evolve to see the world accurately. It can't! Visually stunning, with entertaining illustrations and optical illusions throughout, and with clear and comprehensive explanations of the science behind how our perceptions operate, Deviate will revolutionize the way you see yourself, others and the world. With this new understanding of how the brain functions, Deviate is not just an illuminating account of the neuroscience of thought, behavior, and creativity: it is a call to action, enlisting readers in their own journey of self-discovery.

Decoding the Enigma

The Real Reasons for the Decline of Our Country

Author: Maryalice E. Bonwell

Publisher: Ffront Street Publishing

ISBN: 9780988951143


Page: 360

View: 9563

THE REASON WHY: Other books take a satirical look at America in decline. They tell us we are declining, but they do not tell us why. Why are we declining? That is the enigma. Other books lament Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases, but they do not explain the causes. This is yet another enigma that is covered in the book. See how the search for an understanding of Alzheimer's disease opened new ways of looking at our mental and emotional decline. Gain new understanding of how aspects of our personality such as connectedness, self- control, and attention have changed. Explore research on stomach function, the personality of cancer patients, and the importance of allergies to common foods and chemicals. HEALTH: For caregivers and those suffering with health problems there is a wealth of practical information on Alzheimer's, depression, allergies, anorexia and other degenerative diseases. Learn the techniques the author used to care for her own mother and the four pieces of the Alzheimer's puzzle that she discovered. This book is not only essential for caregivers, it also shows baby boomer how to avoid the nightmare of Alzheimer's disease. This book provides answers: If you are despondent about the decline of America. If you wonder why our personalities are changing. If you want to prevent Alzheimer's or you are a caregiver. If you have a daughter who is anorexic. If you struggle with depression or other degenerative diseases.

The Enigma of Arrival

Author: V. S. Naipaul

Publisher: Vintage Canada

ISBN: 073527715X

Category: Fiction

Page: 368

View: 9526

The autobiographical novel of a journey from the British colony of Trinidad to the ancient countryside of England.

Minds Make Societies

How Cognition Explains the World Humans Create

Author: Pascal Boyer

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300235178

Category: Psychology

Page: 320

View: 3097

A watershed book that masterfully integrates insights from evolutionary biology, genetics, psychology, economics, and more to explore the development and workings of human societies “There is no good reason why human societies should not be described and explained with the same precision and success as the rest of nature.” Thus argues evolutionary psychologist Pascal Boyer in this uniquely innovative book. Integrating recent insights from evolutionary biology, genetics, psychology, economics, and other fields, Boyer offers precise models of why humans engage in social behaviors such as forming families, tribes, and nations, or creating gender roles. In fascinating, thought-provoking passages, he explores questions such as, Why is there conflict between groups? Why do people believe low-value information such as rumors? Why are there religions? What is social justice? What explains morality? Boyer provides a new picture of cultural transmission that draws on the pragmatics of human communication, the constructive nature of memory in human brains, and human motivation for group formation and cooperation.

Reason and Rationality

Author: Jon Elster

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691139005

Category: Philosophy

Page: 79

View: 8938

One of the world's most important political philosophers, Jon Elster is a leading thinker on reason and rationality and their roles in politics and public life. In this short book, he crystallizes and advances his work, bridging the gap between philosophers who use the idea of reason to assess human behavior from a normative point of view and social scientists who use the idea of rationality to explain behavior. In place of these approaches, Elster proposes a unified conceptual framework for the study of behavior. Drawing on classical moralists as well as modern scholarship, and using a wealth of historical and contemporary illustrations, Reason and Rationality marks a new development in Elster's thinking while at the same time providing a brief, elegant, and accessible introduction to his work.