Read The Enigma of Reason: A New Theory of Human Understanding by Dan Sperber Online


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 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...

Title : The Enigma of Reason: A New Theory of Human Understanding
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780241957851
ISBN13 : 978-0241957851
Format Type : Paperback
Language : Englisch
Publisher : Penguin 5 April 2018
Number of Pages : 416 Seiten
File Size : 980 KB
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

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

  • Gabriela B.
    2019-05-01 17:56

    Dense but very interesting book, with many concrete examples. Not so accessible for the layman though, so not your typical easy evening reading.

  • R. van Es
    2019-04-25 22:48

    Professor Gregg Henriques accuses the authors of intellectual theft and seems to have valid arguments and proof to support his claim. Harvard UP and Penguin should look into this before they continue to offer the book for sale.

  • C.C. Ryan
    2019-04-26 16:41

    I loved this book for a number of reasons. It's generally easy to read, though not too easy. (In fact, it can get very technical.) It's packed with examples of intriguing experiments and case studies, and it's extremely well-researched. It can also be very funny, which is nice when a text is long.But most of all I loved this book because it offers a persuasive, thought-provoking and highly relevant argument (here we go...) for why we continue to persist in beliefs that are, quite literally, unreasonable. The authors' approach taken to reason is called "interactionist", which basically says, "the normal conditions for the use of reasons are social, and more specifically dialogic. Outside of this environment, there is no guarantee that reasoning acts for the benefits of the reasoner. It might lead to distortions and poor decisions" (247). Just like "if your pen doesn't work upside down," or "if your car doesn't start with an empty tank, it is not because they are out of order but because they are not designed to function in such conditions." Not only that, but the authors convincingly establish that "two major features of the production of reason" are that it is both biased and lazy. So not only is our production of reasons plagued by these two features, but reason itself may be designed to work in certain environments.As I mentioned above, the authors provide scores of great examples. A couple that I found very interesting were their studies of the brilliant Alphonse Bertillon and arguably more brilliant Thomas Jefferson, both fascinating and consequential demonstrations of "the use of reasoning to defend preexisting beliefs" (241), warning us that "reasoning can lead everyone on the wrong track" and even to "an unyielding scaffolding of reasons" (242). The more reasons, the more confidence, and so on. Brilliant as Jefferson was, when he "reflects on what is to be done about slavery, he has no trouble finding reasons to oppose emancipation" (303). Regarding recent popular movements, I very much appreciated the statement: "Few conspiracy theorists suffer from psychosis or cognitive impairment." Rather: ""Starting with a mistake, a remorseless logician can end up in bedlam."" "Doubt escalates, alternative answers are found, and pointed questions turn into full-blown paranoia."Finally, I very much enjoyed the authors' last chapter on Solitary Genius. It's interesting on its own, but also tremendously reenforces the interactionist argument, that dialog (regular, informed, educated, thorough, etc.) is absolutely critical to the best reasoning.

  • Andrew M.
    2019-05-14 18:44

    In my opinion, this is a very important book.Though I am now retired, in my career as an engineer I spent many years engaged in risk assessment and decision making. I have been through Stanford's "Strategic Decision Group" training, as well as numerous qualitative and quantitative risk assessment training courses. I spent decades developing and applying these skills, and my most profound realization was that people are ill equipped to make good (objectively justified) decisions about complex issues in the modern world. I became an amateur student of psychology, reading broadly in behavioral economics, evolutionary psychology, developmental psychology and their practical application (sales, decision making, etc.).I am an engineer, not a researcher. I apply models, or metamodels, to achieve an end. We engineers have a saying: all models are wrong, some models are useful - within limits. Until this book revealed its interactionist model of reasoning, I've been very limited in application of what I've learned about reasoning. I've been using tools that work (mostly), but why they work has been a mystery. Until now. The interactionist model of reasoning appears to integrate a suite of tools for application in the real (non-academic) world. This could have huge impact if additional research confirms the remaining areas of uncertainty.Now for the bad news. I think this book is a tough read. For a popular audience, the writing is good, but not brilliant, tending to the verbose. Even as fast as I read, I often had to flip back a few pages to re-establish context before proceeding. I would have been greatly aided by some diagrams to indicate relationship between concepts, rather than a thousand words describing the relationship. Coming from the practical side of the world, a list at the beginning or end of each chapter summarizing the key points would have been fantastic. The focus of the book is on a new model for reasoning so if you have read previous popular books on the subject you will recognize much of the material from other books as the authors build their case from the ground up. The concluding chapter of the book is a nice change of pace, as it cleanly summarizes the main points in just a few pages.In short, if you are a student of human nature, you need to read this book. Don't give up, even when the going gets tough. I predict the model will eventually see broad application in practical decision making, and it certainly gives you a different perspective on your daily social interactions.

  • Amazon Customer
    2019-04-25 20:48

    This is ground-breaking, readable, plausible, and if you are persuaded, as you may well be, your view of people and their minds, and the reasons they have and use, will be fundamentally altered.This book calls into question thousands of years of thinking about reason, reasons, and reasoning - from Aristotle to Kahneman and in between.Just stunning - approachably and entertainingly written - this will be a milestone and have influence beyond the field of evolutionary psychology.Anyone with enough interest in these kinds of topics to be reading this review will want to read it.

  • Diego Espinosa
    2019-05-07 18:28

    This book should be required reading in economics and behavioral economics programs. It's evolutionary approach to cognition takes on the foundations of both of those schools, and in particular the latter. It's not a fair fight. The authors expose grave flaws in the "intellectialist" (Cartesian) view of human reason. In concincing arguments, they supplant it with a social view, or "interactionist approach". Theirs is rooted in an evolutionary approach to cognition as a set of mechanisms for drawing inference, each with a specific function. Reason is just one of these, and as an adaptation it's role is principally a social one: it improves the way we interact in a group by allowing us to convince and evaluate arguments. What reason does not do is drive our decisions, as these result from intuition and other forms of inference. Reason, the authors argue, happens after the fact. The book is accessible and clearly written with an engaging voice. Thanks, authors, for a great read!