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Whence Rationality? – SuperSalon with Steven Pinker
May 10, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
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In this exciting SuperSalon, the world-renowned Steven Pinker, distinguished cognitive psychologist and bestselling author of books like Enlightenment Now and Rationality, joins clinical psychologist and Interintellect host Gena Gorlin to explore what motivates—or demotivates—human reason, virtue, and progress.
Academic psychologists use the term “motivated reasoning” almost synonymously with “irrationality”—as if rational thought only happens in the absence of any motivation. If this were so, we could hardly expect anyone to muster more than a fair-weather loyalty to the truth, much less risk their lives or reputations or fortunes for its sake. And yet history’s great champions of reason have been just such a passionate, risk-taking lot: think of Galileo’s “And yet it moves!”, or Marie Curie’s insistent probing of the very element that hastened her death, or Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death!”, or Newton’s experiment of sticking a needle in his own eye to learn about the nature of color.
What fuels this deep, unwavering motivation to seek the truth? Does this motivation seem to be alive and well in society today? If not, why might it be flickering? And what would it take to reignite it?
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