Reasonable Irrationality: the Role of Reasons in the Diffusion of Pseudoscience

Journal of Cognition and Culture 19 (5):432-449 (2019)
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Abstract

Pseudoscience spreads through communicative and inferential processes that make people vulnerable to weird beliefs. However, the fact that pseudoscientific beliefs are unsubstantiated and have no basis in reality does not mean that the people who hold them have no reasons for doing so. We propose that, reasons play a central role in the diffusion of pseudoscience. On the basis of cultural epidemiology and the interactionist theory of reasoning, we will here analyse the structure and the function of reasons in the propagation of pseudoscience. We conclude by discussing the implications of our approach for the understanding of human irrationality.

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Johan Braeckman
University of Ghent

Citations of this work

Whewell’s Hylomorphism as a Metaphorical Explanation for How Mind and World Merge.Ragnar van der Merwe - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie.
Stance Pluralism, Scientology and the Problem of Relativism.Ragnar Van Der Merwe - forthcoming - Foundations of Science: DOI: 10.1007/s10699-022-09882-w.
Science as a Moral System.Stefaan Blancke - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-18.

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References found in this work

The Enigma of Reason.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.) - 2017 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
Knowledge in a Social World.Alvin Ira Goldman - 1999 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory.Dan Sperber - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (2):57.

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