Sometimes we can hold people to a higher standard.... - Deepstash

Sometimes we can hold people to a higher standard. They can be taught to spot a deep problem across its superficial guises. They can be goaded into applying their best habits of thinking outside their comfort zones. And they can be inspired to set their sights higher than self-defeating or collectively destructive goals.

Copyright © 2021 by Steven Pinker. “Rationality” is published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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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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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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Overconfidence bias

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