Steven Pinker - You're Already Committed to Reason

One thing that we philosophers love is questions and spirited friendly debate. This dialectical process helps us get a better grasp on various subjects, and though we may not always reach consensus, we do gain intellectual growth.

But this kind of attitude is not ubiquitous, especially for those just getting acquainted with philosophy. On many occasions, when dealing with some elusive topic, whether in epistemology, the philosophy of religion, or ethics, and especially when their beliefs have been challenged, some students will start to complain that maybe we should just abandon reason.

My tactic at that point is to ask them why that should be the case, at which point they will begin to argue their position without realizing that any argument against reason is going to have to require that they themselves use reason, which completely defeats their arguments. And apparently I'm not alone, at least Steven Pinker seems to be on my side :)



Nice, powerful and concise!
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