The Roots of Reason: Philosophical Essays on Rationality, Evolution, and Probability

Paperback | January 26, 2006

byDavid Papineau

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David Papineau presents a controversial view of human reason, portraying it as a normal part of the natural world, and drawing on the empirical sciences to illuminate its workings. In these six interconnected essays he offers a fresh approach to some long-standing problems. Papineau rejects the contemporary orthodoxy that genuine thought hinges on some species of non-natural normativity. He explores the evolutionary histories of theoretical and practical rationality, indicating ways in which capacities underlying human reasoning have been selected for their biologicaladvantages. He then looks at the connection between decision and probability, explaining how good decisions need to be informed by causal as well as probabilistic facts. Finally he defends the radical view that a satisfactory understanding of decision-making is only possible within a specificinterpretation of quantum mechanics. By placing the subject in its scientific context, Papineau shows how human rationality plays an explicable role in the functioning of the natural world.

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David Papineau presents a controversial view of human reason, portraying it as a normal part of the natural world, and drawing on the empirical sciences to illuminate its workings. In these six interconnected essays he offers a fresh approach to some long-standing problems. Papineau rejects the contemporary orthodoxy that genuine thoug...

David Papineau is at Department of Philosophy, King's College London.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.62 inPublished:January 26, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199288712

ISBN - 13:9780199288717

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. Normativity and Judgement2. The Evolution of Knowledge3. The Evolution of Means-End Reasoning4. Probability as a Guide to Life (co-authored with Helen Beebee)5. Causation as a Guide to Life6. Uncertainty Decisions and the Many-Minds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

Editorial Reviews

`Review from previous edition The book succeeds at presenting an articulated and coherent view in various areas of epistemology and philosophy of science, treating a series of issues ranging from the foundations of decision theory and probability to various interesting problems in thecognitive sciences ... The book is very well written. Its arguments flow quite naturally and clearly ... I do recommend reading the book to any person with interests overlapping any of these areas.'Horacio Arlo Costa, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews