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The faculty “doesn’t work like we want it to.” Review: The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber

Reason is more likely to confirm things that we want to be true, or which we already believe. So why does it exist? A new book provides the answer

By Alex Dean   July 2017

The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber (Allen Lane, £25)

Reason is the faculty through which we make logical sense of the world, and is a central part of what makes us human. This has been the settled position of many great thinkers over the centuries: the 17th-century philosopher René Descartes, to name just one. It is troubling, therefore, to discover that “reason” doesn’t work in the way we might want it to.

As the cognitive scientists Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber argue in their new book, The Enigma…

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