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20 settembre 2018: Dan Sperber: Human Rationality in an Evolutionary Perspective

Conferenza organizzata da Neurophilosophy Research Group - Ciclo Cognition in Action 2018


Dan Sperber (Oxford University)

Human Rationality in an Evolutionary Perspective


20 settembre 2018, h. 14:30-16:30 

Sala Enzo Paci, Direzione del Dipartimento di Filosofia, via Festa del Perdono 7, Milano.



For any item that has a function, one can ask: How well does it perform its function? In other terms any such item can be evaluated normatively. What then is norm in terms of which one can evaluate cognitive mechanisms the function of which is to perform inferences? It is, I will argue, a norm of rationality in a broad sense. Inferential mechanisms are evolved in all animals that locomote, and hence rationality in this sense is not typically human, but, of course, it applies to human inferential mechanisms as well.  Reasons, I will argue, play no role in rationality in this first sense. Humans draw inferences about reasons. In The Enigma of Reason, Hugo Mercier and I have argued that inferences about reasons has two overlapping functions, to produce and evaluate justifications, and to produce and evaluate arguments. The reasons produced as justification or argument are evaluated in term of rationality in a second, narrower and more traditional sense of the term. I will describe this properly human notion of rationality, argue that it is intrinsically social, and discuss its relationship to rationality in the broader cognitive sense of the term.


La conferenza si terrà in inglese. 

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20 settembre 2018
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