Summary of The Function of Reason

Looking for the article?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 5 minutes.

The Function of Reason summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




  • Analytical
  • Innovative
  • Scientific


Human reasoning is often flawed. So why has it evolved in the first place? Dan Sperber, a Paris-based social and cognitive scientist, believes that reason didn’t evolve to enhance individual cognition but support humans in their social interactions. This isn’t a light read, but getAbstract recommends Sperber’s deliberations to anybody who likes to take time to ponder one of the great philosophical questions about what makes people human.

About the Author

Dan Sperber is a Paris-based social and cognitive scientist.



Reasoning viewed as a way of processing information isn’t a sort of “superpower” but mere inference within a specific cognitive sphere. Any animal that moves draws inferences from the environment and acts on them. What differentiates human reason from the inferential capacities of animals?

To answer this question, Daniel Kahneman and others have used a dual system approach. System 1 is an automatic system, a “more intuitive kind of inference.” Intuition is a time- and energy-efficient way for humans and animals to go about their days. For example, intuition allows humans and animals...

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

How to Teach Artificial Intelligence Some Common Sense
3 Reasons You Make Terrible Decisions (and How to Stop)
The Genius Neuroscientist Who Might Hold the Key to True AI
Using AI to Enhance Business Operations
The Cognition Crisis
How Algorithms Can Diversify the Startup Pool

Related Channels

Comment on this summary