// archives

Reason & rationality

This tag is associated with 141 posts

The Illuminati: maybe not such a mad idea

When we dig for the truth, we flirt with madness. But in a world where hidden power is all too real, it’s the only sane thing to do.

The power of second thoughts

How habits of thinking can challenge unthinking habits.

Never Had It So Good

By the time you read this, something truly dreadful might have blighted the world. Pinker does not prophesy that this won’t happen; he simply reminds us why it should not and need not, as long as we don’t give up the notion of the emancipatory power of reason to help illuminate the way forward. If that is naive, even more naive is the belief that despair, fatalism or superstition supplies a credible alternative.

“Facts alone are wanted in life”

University Challenge and the value of factual recall.

The Thought Police

Detective Ed Gillespie has made the ancient Greek philosopher part of Baltimore Police Department’s annual in-service training. Here are some suggestions for what should be on any police force’s reading list.

Can a dog really be brave?

Seeing animals as too like or too unlike ourselves are equal and opposite mistakes. The way to avoid this error is not to imagine that other animals are more human-like than they really are, but to accept that we are more like other animals than we generally believe.

Our obsession with empathy is flawed

Given a choice between complex cogitations and simple emotional reactions, most of us, most of the time, opt for the latter. This choice is usually automatic and unconscious. The emphasis on empathy encourages us to indulge this weakness, to believe that feelings are all we need to be better people in a better world.

The triage of truth

If we are sincerely interested in the truth we can use expert opinion more objectively without either giving up our rational autonomy or giving in to our preconceptions. I’ve developed a simple three-step heuristic I’ve dubbed ‘The Triage of Truth’ which can give us a way of deciding whom to listen to about how the world is…

Unravelling the Truth

In an exclusive introduction to his new book A Short History of Truth, celebrated philosopher Julian Baggini takes on the thorny problem of veracity, uncovers ten types of truth and examines why, now more than ever, it’s our most valuable commodity.

Truth? It’s not just about the facts

From time to time, not very often, it looks as though the world has given philosophy a job to do. Now is such a moment. At last, a big abstract noun – truth – is at the heart of a cultural crisis and philosophers can be called in to sort it out. Send them back…

twitter