Summary of The Function of Reason

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The Function of Reason summary
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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.

 

Summary

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...


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