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Rationality - Steven Pinker - Release in Sept 2021
https://www.booktalk.org/rationality-steven-pinker-t32526.html
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Author:  Mr. P [ Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Rationality - Steven Pinker - Release in Sept 2021

amazon.com/dp/0525561994/ref=cm_sw_r_cp ... PWVCPJM2PS

Can reading a book make you more rational? Can it help us understand why there is so much irrationality in the world? Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now (Bill Gates’s "new favorite book of all time”) answers all the questions here


Today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding--and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for Covid-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing?

Pinker rejects the cynical cliché that humans are simply irrational--cavemen out of time saddled with biases, fallacies, and illusions. After all, we discovered the laws of nature, lengthened and enriched our lives, and set out the benchmarks for rationality itself. We actually think in ways that are sensible in the low-tech contexts in which we spend most of our lives, but fail to take advantage of the powerful tools of reasoning we’ve discovered over the millennia: logic, critical thinking, probability, correlation and causation, and optimal ways to update beliefs and commit to choices individually and with others. These tools are not a standard part of our education, and have never been presented clearly and entertainingly in a single book--until now.

Rationality also explores its opposite: how the rational pursuit of self-interest, sectarian solidarity, and uplifting mythology can add up to crippling irrationality in a society. Collective rationality depends on norms that are explicitly designed to promote objectivity and truth.

Rationality matters. It leads to better choices in our lives and in the public sphere, and is the ultimate driver of social justice and moral progress. Brimming with Pinker’s customary insight and humor, Rationality will enlighten, inspire, and empower.

Author:  geo [ Sat Jun 19, 2021 6:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rationality - Steven Pinker - Release in Sept 2021

I haven't read anything by Pinker yet (though I have one of his books on my shelf). But I'm looking forward to this one.

Author:  Mr. P [ Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rationality - Steven Pinker - Release in Sept 2021

I enjoy his writing style. His language books are interesting.

Author:  DWill [ Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rationality - Steven Pinker - Release in Sept 2021

In their conversation, Dawkins and N.D. Tyson agreed on a basic illogicality in the human make-up, saying that we are equipped through evolution with coping tools that that lead us to actions and beliefs that don't stand up to reasoned scrutiny. Belief in gods, spirits, miracles are examples of this evolutionary heritage, and so are emotions that are probably more precious to us than our ability to use frontal lobes. Mr. Spock is an alien being because he doesn't really "do" emotion. We can accept and even welcome our illogical side, as we have no choice in the matter, anyway. And there really is no dichotomy between emotion and logic/reason, as Antonio Damasio's famous research showed: without intact emotion, even our ability to act in ways people consider rational, suffers (in that regard, Spock may be a fantasy).

The reason I say all this is wondering whether 'irrational' is equivalent to 'illogical,' and I would guess it's not; the two are quite different. Believing a God controls our affairs is illogical (of course, that's my own view), but it's not evidence of an irrational person. Dawkins and Tyson are perhaps aware of the distinction in choosing 'illogical' over 'irrational.'

So I wonder if Pinker will have a perspective on this matter in his book, which sounds like a worthwhile read.

Author:  Brooks127 [ Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rationality - Steven Pinker - Release in Sept 2021

This looks like an interesting book. I noticed Gate's name. His appears on lots of conspiratorial podcasts thumbnails.

Quote:
Pinker rejects the cynical cliché that humans are simply irrational--cavemen out of time saddled with biases, fallacies, and illusions.


I haven't read the book, but I agree that humans aren't simply irrational. I think many feel like they're not listened to, and it makes them agitated.

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