What is the Function of Reasoning? On Mercier and Sperber's Argumentative and Justificatory Theories

Episteme 17 (3):316-330 (2020)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
This paper aims to accessibly present, and then critique, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber's recent proposals for the evolutionary function of human reasoning. I take a critical look at the main source of experimental evidence that they claim as support for their view, namely the confirmation or “myside” bias in reasoning. I object that Mercier and Sperber did not adequately argue for a claim that their case rests on, namely that it is evolutionarily advantageous for you to get other people to believe whatever you antecedently believe. And I give my own argument that this claim is false. I also critically look at their suggestion that reasoning has a justificatory function, functioning as a kind of reputation management tool. I argue this suggestion does not amount to a plausible evolutionary function.
Categories
PhilPapers/Archive ID
DOGWIT
Upload history
Archival date: 2020-07-01
View other versions
Added to PP index
2020-06-30

Total views
480 ( #12,978 of 2,448,867 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
129 ( #4,177 of 2,448,867 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.