The Enigma of Reason

Author: Hugo Mercier,Dan Sperber

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674368304

Category: Philosophy

Page: 408

View: 2501

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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: 7116

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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: 9386

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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.

The Enigma of Reason

A New Theory of Human Understanding

Author: Dan Mercier,Hugo Mercier,Dan Sperber

Publisher: Allen Lane

ISBN: 9780241957851

Category: Reason

Page: 300

View: 1955

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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 ground-breaking 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.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: 1677

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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: 7480

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

Cognition and Chance

The Psychology of Probabilistic Reasoning

Author: Raymond S. Nickerson

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 113561461X

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 472

View: 3647

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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.

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

Category:

Page: 328

View: 7024

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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.

A New Unified Theory of Psychology

Author: Gregg Henriques

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9781461400585

Category: Psychology

Page: 290

View: 8293

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Concern about psychology’s fragmentation is not new, but there has for the past decade been increasing calls for psychologists to acknowledge to the costs associated with fragmentation and to search for ways to unify the discipline. A New Unified Theory of Psychology introduces a new system that addresses psychology’s current theoretical and philosophical difficulties. The new theory consists of four interlocking pieces that together provide—for the first time—a macro-level view that clarifies the nature of psychology’s problems and offers a clear way to unify the various elements of the field. The unified theory provides the field of psychology with a well-defined subject matter, allowing both academic and professional psychologists will be able to develop a shared language and conceptual foundation.

The Splendid Feast of Reason

Author: S. Jonathan Singer

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520239113

Category: History

Page: 242

View: 8943

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"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

The Assault on Reason

Our Information Ecosystem, from the Age of Print to the Age of Trump, 2017 Edition

Author: Al Gore

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9781101202319

Category: Political Science

Page: 352

View: 3372

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Now With a New Preface and Final Chapter: “Post-Truth: On Donald Trump and the 2016 Election” What has happened to our country and how can we fix it? We are in the midst of a deepening crisis for our democracy. After the strangest election cycle in modern American history it is important that we address the grave threats to our way of life that were glaringly revealed in this campaign. In The Assault on Reason, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore examines how faith in the power of reason—the idea that citizens can govern themselves through rational debate—is in peril. Our democracy depends on a well-informed citizenry and a two-way conversation about ideas, but our public sphere has been degraded by fake news and the politics of fear, partisanship, and blind faith. Now updated to investigate the rise of Trump and post-truth politics, The Assault on Reason is a call to rebuild the vitality of American democracy by restoring the nation’s information ecosystem so that we can start making good decisions again.

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: 480

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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.

A Spy Named Orphan: The Enigma of Donald Maclean

Author: Roland Philipps

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393608581

Category: History

Page: 416

View: 5115

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The first full biography of one of the twentieth century’s most notorious spies. Donald Maclean was one of the most treacherous spies of the Cold War era and a key member of the infamous "Cambridge Five" spy ring, yet the full extent of this shrewd, secretive man’s betrayal has never been explored—until now. Drawing on a wealth of previously classified files and unseen family papers, A Spy Named Orphan meticulously documents his extraordinary story. Roland Philipps unravels Maclean’s character and contradictions, informed by a domineering father in a childhood at once liberal and austere. Maclean became infatuated with Communism during his school days, even before his time at Cambridge. A model diplomat, he rose through the ranks of the British Foreign Office rapidly, never arousing suspicion of his chilling double life. He married an American woman despite his sexual ambivalence and increasing antipathy to the United States. He was prone to alcoholic binges that should have blown his cover, yet they never found their way onto his record. A sworn enemy of capitalism, he had access to some of the greatest secrets of the time, transmitting invaulable intelligence to his Soviet handlers on the atom bomb and the shape of the postwar world. Maclean was a spy who loved and loathed the role. In a brazen escapade, he successfully eluded the incredulous authorities to defect to the Soviet Union, where he worked and lived unrepentantly for the next thirty years. Philipps offers memorable portraits of Maclean’s coconspirators—Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, and Anthony Blunt—as well as the gifted Russian spymasters of the period; a vibrant evocation of Cambridge and London between the wars; colorful descriptions of Maclean’s postings in Paris, Cairo, and Washington, D.C.; and a riveting re-creation of the tense international code-breaking operation that ultimately exposed him. A gripping tale of blind faith and fierce loyalty alongside dangerous duplicity and human vulnerability, Philipps’s narrative will stand as the definitive account of the mysterious and elusive man first codenamed "Orphan."

Reputation

What It Is and Why It Matters

Author: Gloria Origgi

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 140088859X

Category: Psychology

Page: 296

View: 2602

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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.

The Knowledge Illusion

Why We Never Think Alone

Author: Steven Sloman,Philip Fernbach

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0399184341

Category: Psychology

Page: 304

View: 6489

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“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.

Deviate

The Science of Seeing Differently

Author: Beau Lotto

Publisher: Hachette Books

ISBN: 0316300179

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 7519

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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

Category:

Page: 360

View: 8451

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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: 6068

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

Cognitive Gadgets

The Cultural Evolution of Thinking

Author: Cecilia Heyes

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674985133

Category: Psychology

Page: 264

View: 3536

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How did human minds become so different from those of other animals? What accounts for our capacity to understand the way the physical world works, to think ourselves into the minds of others, to gossip, read, tell stories about the past, and imagine the future? These questions are not new: they have been debated by philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, evolutionists, and neurobiologists over the course of centuries. One explanation widely accepted today is that humans have special cognitive instincts. Unlike other living animal species, we are born with complicated mechanisms for reasoning about causation, reading the minds of others, copying behaviors, and using language. Cecilia Heyes agrees that adult humans have impressive pieces of cognitive equipment. In her framing, however, these cognitive gadgets are not instincts programmed in the genes but are constructed in the course of childhood through social interaction. Cognitive gadgets are products of cultural evolution, rather than genetic evolution. At birth, the minds of human babies are only subtly different from the minds of newborn chimpanzees. We are friendlier, our attention is drawn to different things, and we have a capacity to learn and remember that outstrips the abilities of newborn chimpanzees. Yet when these subtle differences are exposed to culture-soaked human environments, they have enormous effects. They enable us to upload distinctively human ways of thinking from the social world around us. As Cognitive Gadgets makes clear, from birth our malleable human minds can learn through culture not only what to think but how to think it.