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The Enigma of Reason



705 books


711 books

It seems that the reason that makes us human is the source of knowledge and wisdom. However, why didn't it evolve in other animals? And if it's so useful, why do we produce so much thoroughly reasoned nonsense? In their groundbreaking account of the evolution and workings of reason, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber set out to solve this double enigma. They argue that reason isn't designed to help us arrive at better beliefs and decisions on our own; instead, what reason does is help us justify our beliefs and actions to others through argumentation and convince them through arguments. This interactionist interpretation explains why reason may have evolved and how it fits with other cognitive mechanisms.

Understanding Reasoning

In The Enigma of Reason, Hugo Mercier explores the concept of reasoning. He suggests that reasoning isn't about reaching logical conclusions, but more about winning arguments. This perspective can change the way you approach discussions and debates.

The Social Aspect of Reasoning

Mercier digs into the social aspect of reasoning. He argues that reasoning is a social, rather than solitary, activity. It's about convincing others and understanding their point of view. This can help you see the importance of empathy and active listening in communication.

The Evolution of Reasoning

The book also explores the evolution of reasoning. Mercier suggests that reasoning has evolved as a tool for social interaction, not for individual problem-solving. This can make you rethink the role of reasoning in your daily life.

The Limitations of Reasoning

Mercier also highlights the limitations of reasoning. He points out that reasoning can lead to biases and errors, especially when we use it to justify our pre-existing beliefs. This can encourage you to be more critical and open-minded in your thinking.

The Power of Group Reasoning

Finally, The Enigma of Reason looks into the power of group reasoning. Mercier argues that reasoning works best in groups, where different viewpoints can challenge and refine our ideas. This can inspire you to seek diverse perspectives and foster collaborative problem-solving.


Scott Young

Scott Young