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Reason & rationality

This tag is associated with 129 posts

We can work it out

In a brilliant piece of philosophical jujutsu, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber turn reason’s weaknesses into strengths, arguing that its supposed flaws are actually design features which work remarkably well. All those biases and heuristics are not “quick-and-dirty” but “fast-and-frugal”.

Painful truths

Love is so last century. What the world needs now, the only thing that there’s just too little of, is empathy. Empathy is widely touted as the key to effective management, good government, better medical care, improved wellbeing, higher-achieving schools, excellent parenting, even world peace. It’s clearly time for a backlash…

On Derek Parfit

TODAY – BBC RADIO 4. Talking about Derek Parfit, who died on New Year’s Day. Listen again for a limited time at 02:43:00.

When Derek Parfit published, it mattered

For Derek Parfit, getting it right was more important than getting it out, to the frustration of publishers and editors but to the long-term benefit of readers and scholars. When he published, it mattered, and so as a philosopher, he is one of the few of his generation who unquestionably mattered.

Hierarchy and Inequality in Nietzsche and Falsafa

In many ways medieval Islamic philosophy and the works of Friedrich Neitzsche couldn’t be more different. But as we see in this podcast, both provide interesting, rich challenges to modern western egalitarian ideals. Guests are Carlos Fraenkel (McGill University) and Mathias Risse (Harvard Kennedy School of Government). Produced in association with the Berggruen Institute’s Philosophy and Culture Centre.

Political lies and their consequences

It’s easy to condemn political lies and catalogue their awful consequences. It’s more difficult and important to examine the consequences of not lying. In a world where opponents are using every devious trick in the book to defeat you, can anyone afford to be so high-minded?

Seeing reason

THE PHILOSOPHER’S ZONE – ABC AUSTRALIA. Talking to Joe Gelonesi about some of the main ideas in The Edge of Reason on his excellent long-running show.

“Irrational” Discourse and the Public Square

For the community of reason to thrive, we need to regain our respect for reason and also to bring it closer down to earth. And it is only by using our reason that as a society we can debate our differences and come to, if not agreement, then at least a respectful accommodation.

Simpsons philosophy class makes perfect sense

A scepticism persists that those who claim to see philosophical depth in The Simpsons are simply betraying our shallowness or having a laugh. But far from there being anything paradoxical about a cartoon having philosophical substance, cartoons are actually the ideal artistic vehicle for philosophy.

Trust the people? Not completely

Western democracy is built around a tripartite trust: trust in the people to hold government to account and to set the general direction of policy, but also trust in politicians to make specific decisions, and in institutions to provide safeguards against rash or tyrannical actions. What we are seeing all over the western world are the last two pillars being torn down, leaving all trust resting on the people.