In Praise of Reason Why Rationality Matters for Democracy

ISBN-10: 0262526050
ISBN-13: 9780262526050
Edition: 2014
Authors: Michael P. Lynch
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Description: Why does reason matter, if (as many people seem to think) in the end everything comesdown to blind faith or gut instinct? Why not just go with what you believe even if it contradictsthe evidence? Why bother with rational explanation when  More...

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Book details

List price: $15.95
Copyright year: 2014
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 2/14/2014
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 184
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.440
Language: English

Why does reason matter, if (as many people seem to think) in the end everything comesdown to blind faith or gut instinct? Why not just go with what you believe even if it contradictsthe evidence? Why bother with rational explanation when name-calling, manipulation, and force are somuch 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 ofwidespread skepticism--when, for example, people reject scientific evidence about such matters asevolution, climate change, and vaccines when it doesn't jibe with their beliefs andopinions.In recent years, skepticism about the practical value of reason hasemerged even within the scientific academy. Many philosophers and psychologists claim that thereasons we give for our most deeply held views are often little more than rationalizations of ourprior convictions. In Praise of Reason gives us acounterargument. Although skeptical questions about reason have a deep and interesting history, theycan be answered. In particular, appeals to scientific principles of rationality are part of theessential common currency of any civil democratic society. The idea that everything isarbitrary--that reason has no more weight than blind faith--undermines a key principle of a civilsociety: that we owe our fellow citizens explanations for what we do. Reason matters--not just forthe noble ideal of truth, but for the everyday world in which we live.

Gina Neff is Associate Professor of Communication and Sociology at the University of Washington and the School of Public Policy at Central European University. She is the coeditor of the book Surviving the New Economy.Michael P. Lynch is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut and the author of Truth in Context: An Essay on Pluralism and Objectivity and True to Life: Why Truth Matters, both published by the MIT Press.

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