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A History of the Dark Side of Reason

Justin E. H. Smith



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Princeton University Pres
15 March 2019
A fascinating history that reveals the ways in which the pursuit of rationality often leads to an explosion of irrationality
It's a story we can't stop telling ourselves. Once, humans were benighted by superstition and irrationality, but then the Greeks invented reason. Later, the Enlightenment enshrined rationality as the supreme value. Discove
Imprint:   Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 155mm, 
ISBN:   9780691178677
ISBN 10:   0691178674
Pages:   344
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  ELT Advanced ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Justin E. H. Smith is professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Paris 7 Denis Diderot. His books include The Philosopher: A History in Six Types (Princeton). An editor at large of Cabinet Magazine, he also writes frequently for the New York Times, Harper (TM)s Magazine, and other publications. Twitter @jehsmith

Reviews for Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason

A learned, ludic, and often profound meditation on how the perverse dialectic of reason and unreason has played out over history, from the era of Pythagoras to that of Zizek and Trump. Smith writes with the limpidity of an anglophone philosopher and the cool encyclopedic assurance of a Parisian intello. -Jim Holt, author of Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story With a vast sweep and elegant writing, this is a remarkable, erudite, and stylish book on an important and timely subject: the persistent tendency toward irrationalism in human history. Irrationality is fresh, perceptive, and enjoyable. -Kieran Setiya, author of Midlife: A Philosophical Guide Justin Smith's book could not have come at a better moment. In an era in which many have taken leave of their senses, he draws a map of what led us here, offering a convincing account of the Enlightenment and its discontents. The passages on Trumpism are particularly edifying. -Christy Wampole, author of The Other Serious: Essays for the New American Generation No philosopher alive today writes with as much wit, voice, and erudition as Justin Smith. Irrationality is a masterpiece: an urgent warning that no grand design of perfect rationality can provide the solution to the depravity of this political moment. -Yascha Mounk, author of The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It Irrationality is . . . stippled with fascinating meditations and vignettes. ---Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Review of Books

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