The Enigma of Reason
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The Enigma of Reason : A New Theory of Human Understanding

4.15 (459 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

If reason is what makes us human, then why do we humans often behave so irrationally? Taking us from desert ants to Aristotle, cognitive psychologists Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber explore how our 'flawed superpower' of reason works, how it doesn't, and how it evolved to help us develop as social beings.

'Original and provocative ... likely to have a big impact on our understanding of ourselves' Steven Pinker

'Brilliant, elegant and compelling ... turns reason's weaknesses into strengths, arguing that its supposed flaws are actually design features that work remarkably well ... A timely and necessary book' Julian Baggini, Financial Times

'Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber have solved one of the most important and longstanding puzzles in psychology' Jonathan Haidt

'Reason is more likely to confirm things that we want to be true, or which we already believe. So why does it exist? This book provides the answer' Alex Dean, Prospect
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 23mm | 303g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241957850
  • 9780241957851
  • 14,398

Review quote

Reason is more likely to confirm things that we want to be true, or which we already believe. So why does it exist? This new book provides the answer * Prospect * Timely ... an antidote to the dual-process models behind Kahneman's famous Thinking, Fast and Slow. We need a faith in reason, and this book provides strong arguments that such faith is reasonable * Times Higher Education * Elegant and compelling ... Mercier and Sperber delight in turning conventional wisdom on its head ... A timely and necessary book * Financial Times * 'Filled with lively stories and vivid examples (involving ants, monsters, mosquitoes and dust bunnies, as well as paltry humans) ... its central thesis is sharp and convincing ... the argumentative theory of reason makes sense of human irrationality. * Times Literary Supplement *
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About Dan Sperber

Hugo Mercier (Author)
Hugo Mercier is a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, working in the Cognitive Science Institute Marc Jeannerod in Lyon.

Dan Sperber (Author)
Dan Sperber is a researcher in the departments of Cognitive Science and of Philosophy at the Central European University, Budapest, and in the Institut Jean Nicod at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris.
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Rating details

459 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 42% (192)
4 38% (174)
3 15% (70)
2 4% (18)
1 1% (5)
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