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Enigmas of Reason

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What is human reason, how did it arise, how is it connected to animal reason? In The Enigma of Reason (ER) Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber (2017) suggest that reason evolved driven by the need to support communication and coordination in small human groups. They contrast this to the idea that the function of reason is to enable humans to make better decisions and develop more accurate beliefs. After a summation of the ER argument, the theory is critiqued and two of their assumptions -- that human cognition is based on massive modularity and that reason co-evolved with and is dependent upon language -- are challenged. Alternatives to these assumptions are presented from the perspective of pattern matching processes in neural dynamical systems, which it is asserted provides a more realistic approach to the functioning of the brain and mind.
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Keywords: dynamical systems; human reason; inference; pattern matching

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Science, Athabasca University, Athabasca, AB, Canada, T9S 3A3., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2020

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