Why Rationality? - Deepstash
Why Rationality?

Why Rationality?

Why doesn’t rationality seem to matter anymore?

It can be fixed, Steven Pinker argues, and if we don’t our democracy and environment may be at stake.

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Excerpted from “Rationality: Why It Seems Scarce and Why It Matters” by Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology.

Rationality ought to be the lodestar for everything we think and do. (If you disagree, are your objections rational?) Yet in an era blessed with unprecedented resources for reasoning, the public sphere is infested with fake news, quack cures, conspiracy theories, and “post-truth” rhetoric. We face deadly threats to our health, our democracy, and the livability of our planet. 

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Our brains have two "systems" that complement eachother, with their own capabilities, limitations and functions.

  • System One is fast, automated and precise, but can be easily tricked and has a small working window.
  • System Two is slower, can make complex thoughts achieved in a specific algorithm and takes control over it's brother when he needs to with it's long but limited attention buffer.

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Overconfidence bias

Most people think they know more than they really do.

Researchers showed that people believe they understand familiar manufactured objects much better than they really do. For instance, if you think you understand how a can opener works, try to draw a diagram of a can opener on a piece of paper. If you can't draw, write out a detailed explanation. Then, find out how it really works.

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Criticizing and justifying selfies

An assumption that sharing selfies is or should be embarrassing runs throughout the journalistic and scholarly coverage on the topic.

When discussing about this practice, descriptors like "vain" and "narcissistic" inevitably become a part of the conversation. Qualifiers like "special occasion," "beautiful location," and "ironic" are used to justify them.

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