Rethinking Human Reason - Dan Sperber (Central European University)
Abstract: I'll argue that the function of reason is not individual but social. It is not to enhance individual cognition and decision-making but to produce reasons to justify oneself, convince others, and evaluate reasons given by others for the same purposes. Reason is not domain-general, it is a specialized mechanism of metarepresentational inference about reasons with only indirect and virtual domain-generality. Our approach suggests a novel account of the evolution of reason. It explains the prevalence of the confirmation bias and of other apparent flaws of reason. It yields original and testable predictions.