Reason Serves as Tool to Win Arguments

There has recently been coverage of the idea that reason is not a means of approaching “the truth”, but instead evolved as a way to win arguments, to convince others that your belief or path was the right one. This idea has profound implications for how we look at a number of diverse phenomena, such as why people believe in god(s) and why you can rarely change someone’s mind if their belief is a foundational one (i.e. at the base level of their worldview). If it’s true that reason evolved and serves primarily as a means to win arguments, then pursuits such as philosophy (particularly metaphysics) should be considered more as means for sharpening our skills at argumentation rather than attempting to arrive at absolute truths.  There’s a lot more to be said about this, but I won’t say it here and now. It’s certainly worth following the progress of this idea to see how it holds up under attack by those opposed to it.

 

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/arts/people-argue-just-to-win-scholars-assert.htm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *