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Rationality : what it is, why it seems scarce, why it matters  Cover Image Book Book

Rationality : what it is, why it seems scarce, why it matters / Steven Pinker.

Summary

Summary:

"Can reading a book make you more rational? Can it explain why there seems to be so much irrationality in the world, including, let's be honest, in each of us? These are the goals of Steven Pinker's follow-up to Enlightenment Now (Bill Gates's "new favorite book of all time"). Humans today are often portrayed as cavemen out of time, poised to react to a lion in the grass with a suite of biases, blind spots, fallacies, and illusions. But this, Pinker a cognitive scientist and rational optimist argues, cannot be the whole picture. Hunter-gatherers--our ancestors and contemporaries--are not nervous rabbits but cerebral problem-solvers. A list of the ways in which we are stupid cannot explain how we're so smart: how we discovered the laws of nature, transformed the planet, and lengthened and enriched our lives. Indeed, if humans were fundamentally irrational, how did they discover the benchmarks for rationality against which humans fall short? The topic could not be more timely. In the 21st century, humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding--and at the same time appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that sequenced the genome and detected the Big Bang produce so much fake news, quack cures, conspiracy theories, and "post-truth" rhetoric? A big part of Rationality is to explain these tools--to inspire an intuitive understanding of the benchmarks of rationality, so you can understand the basics of logic, critical thinking, probability, correlation and causation, the optimal ways to adjust our beliefs and commit to decisions with uncertain evidence, and the yardsticks for making rational choices alone and with others. Rationality matters. As the world reels from foolish choices made in the past and dreads a future that may be shaped by senseless choices in the present, rationality may be the most important asset that citizens and influencers command. Steven Pinker, the great defender of human progress, having documented how the world is not falling apart, now shows how we can enhance rationality in our lives and in the public sphere. Rationality is the perfect toolkit to seize our own fates"-- Provided by publisher.

Item details

  • ISBN: 9780525561996
  • ISBN: 0525561994
  • Physical Description: xvii, 412 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Publisher: [New York, New York] : Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, [2021]

Contents / Notes

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages [341]-388) and indexes.
Formatted Contents Note:
How rational an animal? -- Rationality and irrationality -- Logic and critical thinking -- Probability and randomness -- Beliefs and evidence (Bayesian reasoning) -- Risk and reward (rational choice and expected utility) -- Hits and false alarms (signal detection and statistical decision theory) -- Self and others (game theory) -- Correlation and causation -- What's wrong with people? -- Why rationality matters.
Subject: Critical thinking.
Practical reason.
Choice (Psychology)
Choice (Psychology)
Critical thinking.
Practical reason.
PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology.
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Social Theory.

Currently available copies

  • 11 / 30 copies available at PINES

Holds

  • 3 current holds
Library System: Library Branch Name
Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status  
Athens Regional Library System:
      Athens-Clarke County Library
NONFIC 153.42 PINKER
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31001006018825 NONFICTION In process
Athens Regional Library System:
      Bogart Library
NONFIC 153.42 PINKER
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31001006013776 NONFICTION In process
Athens Regional Library System:
      Watkinsville/Oconee County Library
NONFIC 153.42 PINKER
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31001006018833 NONFIC In process
Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System:
      Augusta-Richmond Co. Public Lib.
153.42 PIN
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31019006011731 NEW-BKS Checked out
Dougherty County Public Library:
      Central Branch
153.42 PINKER, STEVEN
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31018904876831 NONFIC Checked out
Dougherty County Public Library:
      Northwest Branch
153.42 PINKER, STEVEN
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31018904869190 NONFIC On holds shelf
Dougherty County Public Library:
      Tallulah Branch
153.42 PINKER, STEVEN
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31018904876823 NONFIC Available
Flint River Regional Library System:
      Fayette County Public Library
153.42 PINKER
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31022010181615 ADULT In process
Flint River Regional Library System:
      Peachtree City Library
153.42 PINKER
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31022010638572 ADULT Checked out
Greater Clarks Hill Regional Library:
      Columbia County Library
153.42 PIN
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31100001378828 Display Books - Upstairs Checked out
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