> Skip to content
  • Published: 28 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241380307
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

Rationality

What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters




A user's guide to rationality during an epidemic of unreason

In the twenty-first 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 discovered vaccines for Covid-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, quack cures and conspiracy theorizing?

In Rationality, Pinker rejects the cynical cliché that humans are simply an irrational species - cavemen out of time fatally cursed with biases, fallacies and illusions. After all, we discovered the laws of nature, lengthened and enriched our lives and set the benchmarks for rationality itself. Instead, he explains, we think in ways that suit the low-tech contexts in which we spend most of our lives, but fail to take advantage of the powerful tools of reasoning we have built up over millennia: logic, critical thinking, probability, causal inference, and decision-making under uncertainty. These tools are not a standard part of our educational curricula, and have never been presented clearly and entertainingly in a single book - until now.

Rationality matters. It leads to better choices in our lives and in the public sphere, and is the ultimate driver of social justice and moral progress. Brimming with insight and humour, Rationality will enlighten, inspire and empower.

  • Published: 28 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241380307
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

About the author

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is one of the world's leading authorities on language and the mind. His popular and highly praised books include Words and Rules, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct. The recipient of several major awards for his teaching and scientific research, Pinker is Peter de Florez professor of psychology in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

http://stevenpinker.com

Also by Steven Pinker

See all

Praise for Rationality

A reader-friendly primer in better thinking through the cultivation of that rarest of rarities: a sound argument.

Kirkus

Steven Pinker is among the best science writers in history, and with Rationality he applies his talents to one of the most important and misunderstood human abilities - tracking reality with a brain that was designed to do so under some circumstances but not others. If you've ever considered taking drugs to make yourself smarter, read Rationality instead. It's cheaper, more entertaining, and more effective.

Jonathan Haidt, NYU-Stern School of Business and author of The Righteous Mind

Rationality is a terrific book, much-needed for our time. In addition to drawing together the tools for overcoming obstacles to rational thinking, Pinker breaks new ground with the evidence he provides linking rationality and moral progress.

Peter Singer

Steven Pinker is the high priest of rationalism ... [This book] is an impassioned and zippy introduction to the tools of rational thought ... Pinker wants probability theory and psychological biases to be taught in schools and universities. Punchy, funny and invigorating, this could be the textbook.

James McConnachie, Sunday Times

Related titles