The Edge Of Reason: A Rational Skeptic In An Irrational World by Julian Baggini

The Edge Of Reason: A Rational Skeptic In An Irrational World

byJulian Baggini

Hardcover | October 25, 2016

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An urgent defense of reason, the essential method for resolving—or even discussing—divisive issues

Reason, long held as the highest human achievement, is under siege. According to Aristotle, the capacity for reason sets us apart from other animals, yet today it has ceased to be a universally admired faculty. Rationality and reason have become political, disputed concepts, subject to easy dismissal.
 
Julian Baggini argues eloquently that we must recover our reason and reassess its proper place, neither too highly exalted nor completely maligned. Rationality does not require a sterile, scientistic worldview, it simply involves the application of critical thinking wherever thinking is needed. Addressing such major areas of debate as religion, science, politics, psychology, and economics, the author calls for commitment to the notion of a “community of reason,” where disagreements are settled by debate and discussion, not brute force or political power. Baggini's insightful book celebrates the power of reason, our best hope—indeed our only hope—for dealing with the intractable quagmires of our time.

About The Author

Julian Baggini is a philosopher, cofounder of The Philosopher’s Magazine, and author, coauthor, or editor of more than twenty books. He lives in Bristol, UK.

Details & Specs

Title:The Edge Of Reason: A Rational Skeptic In An Irrational WorldFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:October 25, 2016Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300208235

ISBN - 13:9780300208238

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From the Author

In what ways should we be skeptical about reason? Philosophers have often aspired to establish all the knowledge we need to understand ourselves, the world, and how to live on certain facts and principles of logic alone. That is a failed project.   Why do you think reason is so under siege today? Reason was elevated on too high a pedestal, and when that became evident, we became disillusioned. Our mistake now is to think that because reason is not such a regal emperor, it therefore has no clothes at all.   Why is reason often seen as cold and dispassionate? Because it is characterized only by its most impersonal aspects, exemplified by natural science. This is too narrow. Scientific reason is a form of reason, and a very powerful one, but it does not provide the model that all other reasoning should follow. We reason whenever we seek objective grounds for our beliefs, and there is no reason why these grounds should not include truths about our desires and emotional needs.   What role should reason play in our lives? Personally, reason is what enables us to reflect on our goals, desires, and values and check that they are not mistaken or misguided. Politically, it is only by using the common currency of reason that we can resolve our differences and live together peacefully.

Editorial Reviews

“Baggini, who has one foot in the academic world of philosophy, another in the world of journalism, expertly straddles the abstract and the practical… Blending lucidity and passion, Baggini shows how much richer and more varied reason is than often supposed. Ultimately, he reminds us, the outcome of our reasonings has to depend not on objective truth but on what “we feel compelled to accept as objective.”—Jane O’Grady, Financial Times