Pinker on the power of irrationality

Why it can be rational to be irrational

Steven Pinker is an arch defender of Enlightenment ideals, reason in particular. He sees the contemporary drift towards conspiracy theories, skepticism towards science, and denial of progress as great examples of the irrationality that seems to have taken over the modern world. And yet, even Steven Pinker acknowledges that, sometimes, irrationality is the best strategy.


Must we always follow reason? Do I need a rational argument for why I should fall in love, cherish my children, enjoy the pleasures of life? Isn’t it sometimes OK to go crazy, to be silly, to stop making sense? If rationality is so great, why do we associate it with a dour joylessness? Was the philosophy professor in Tom Stoppard’s play Jumpers right in his response to the claim that “the Church is a monument to irrationality”?

The National Gallery is a monument to irrationality! Every concert

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