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Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 31, Issue 3, Fall 2016

Jeffrey Maynes
Pages 33-44
DOI: 10.5840/inquiryct201631317

Review of Mercier and Sperber’s The Enigma of Reason

In The Enigma of Reason, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber (2017) defend the proposal that reason is a specialized module which produces intuitions about reasons. Reason serves two functions: for individuals to justify their own judgments and actions to themselves and others, and to persuade others. In this review, I briefly summarize the central claims of the book, critically examine Mercier and Sperber’s arguments that reason is not a general faculty underlying our inferential abilities, and explore the pedagogical implications of their work.