In Praise of Reason: Why Rationality Matters for Democracyby Michael P. Lynch
Why does reason matter, if (as many people seem to think) in the end everything comes down to blind faith or gut instinct? Why not just go with what you believe even if it contradicts the evidence? Why bother with rational explanation when name-calling, manipulation, and force are so much more effective in our current cultural and political landscape? Michael Lynch
Why does reason matter, if (as many people seem to think) in the end everything comes down to blind faith or gut instinct? Why not just go with what you believe even if it contradicts the evidence? Why bother with rational explanation when name-calling, manipulation, and force are so much more effective in our current cultural and political landscape? Michael Lynch's InPraise of Reason offers a spirited defense of reason and rationality in an era of widespread skepticismwhen, for example, people reject scientific evidence about such matters as evolution, climate change, and vaccines when it doesn't jibe with their beliefs and opinions.
In recent years, skepticism about the practical value of reason has emerged even within the scientific academy. Many philosophers and psychologists claim that the reasons we give for our most deeply held views are often little more than rationalizations of our prior convictions. In Praise of Reason gives us a counterargument. Although skeptical questions about reason have a deep and interesting history, they can be answered. In particular, appeals to scientific principles of rationality are part of the essential common currency of any civil democratic society. The idea that everything is arbitrarythat reason has no more weight than blind faithundermines a key principle of a civil society: that we owe our fellow citizens explanations for what we do. Reason mattersnot just for the noble ideal of truth, but for the everyday world in which we live.
- MIT Press
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What People are Saying About This
"Objective reason stands to reason, and is to be followed for that reason. How can this be so and what are the implications? The extensive answer in this book combines philosophical depth with historical and thematic breadth. It attains rigor without jargon, clarity with concision. It makes its case against currents of relativism in philosophical thought, and against currents of dogmatic conservatism in political thought. This needs to be done again and again, and Michael Lynch does it very well."Ernest Sosa, Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University
Meet the Author
Michael P. Lynch is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut and the author ofTruth in Context: An Essay on Pluralism and Objectivity and True toLife: Why Truth Matters, both published by the MIT Press.
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