One Sunday in the spring of 2007, John and I walked into the back room of KALW to find Ken singing. Back then I was both Ken’s PhD student and the director of research for Philosophy Talk, so it was always a treat to catch my advisor and boss being playful. He was coming up with different lyrics for Sinatra’s classic “Love and Marriage.”
Classic theories of choice posit that our preferences are transitive. But in a recent blog, I wrote about how sacred values have the puzzling feature of violating transitivity. So how should we interpret the fact some people seem to violate transitivity, when it comes to sacred values?
What makes people susceptible to fake news? Does reasoning tend to lead to less bias or more distorted beliefs? In other words, are people who are reflective more or less likely to be suckers for fake news? This question has resulted in a wide-ranging debate with two camps.
Is reason our only guide to the true and the good? Or can reasonable people disagree on what is true and good? Is it simply a mistake to fetishize reason? These are some of the questions we tackle as we take on the broader question of whether reason can save us.
Habermas believes that genuine democracy is rooted in the principles of communicative rationality. Though I think it is very much an open question whether rational argument can ever take place in a democracy—especially one like ours that seems very far from what Habermas envisions—I do hold out some hope that we may eventually be able to design a public sphere in which reason regularly wins out over power and propaganda.