Dan Sperber


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Dan Sperber is a philosopher and social and cognitive scientist, researcher at the Institut Jean Nicod in Paris, and professor in the departments of Cognitive Science and of Philosophy of the Central European University in Budapest.

He is the author of numerous articles in anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, and psychology and of six books: Rethinking Symbolism (Cambridge UP 1975), On Anthropological Knowledge (Cambridge UP 1985), and Explaining Culture (Blackwell 1996) plus (in collaboration with Deirdre Wilson) Relevance: Communication and Cognition (Blackwell 1986 – Second Revised Edition, 1995) ) and Relevance and meaning (Cambridge UP, 2012); (in collaboration with Hugo Mercier) The Enigma of Reason (Harvard UP & Penguin 2017).

He has edited Metarepresentations: A multidisciplinary perspective (Oxford University Press 2000) et, co-edited with David Premack et Ann James Premack Causal cognition: A multidisciplinary debate (Oxford University Press 1995), and with Ira Noveck, Experimental Pragmatics (Palgrave 2004).

Dan Sperber has developed a naturalistic approach to culture under the name of the epidemiology of representations or, more recently, cultural attraction theory. Deirdre Wilson has developed a cognitive approach to communication known as relevance theory. Hugo Mercier has developed an argumentative theory of reasoning and expanded it into an interactionist approach to reason. Cultural attraction theory, relevance theory, and the interactionist approach to reason have been influential and also controversial.

Best author’s book


The Enigma of Reason

Scott Young