This tag is associated with 2 posts

A duty to dissent? What is the role of science in a democracy?

In today’s Guardian newspaper, George Monbiot looks at the role of scientists in a democracy, and alleges that scientists are being pressured to downplay findings and to remain silent as others do so in the name of policy. Do scientists have a duty to play a public role in policy debates? Read the article here.… Read the rest

Evolution, reason and rhetoric

Reason has long been considered one of the hallmarks of being human. It’s a tool we have developed – or so the story goes – to help us on our path towards truth, an evolutionary adaptation that allows us the better to evaluate situations and come to correct decisions. Maybe. Hugo Mercer and Dan Sperber, cognitive social scientists advocating what is being called the argumentative theory of reasoning, think otherwise. They have argued that reason developed not as a truth-finding tool, but as a social tool to help us to win arguments. For a concise account of their groundbreaking work, see this NY Times article.… Read the rest

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