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When reasoning is persuasive but wrong

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 March 2011

Robert J. Sternberg
Provost and Senior Vice President, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.


Mercier and Sperber (M&S) are correct that reasoning and argumentation are closely related. But they are wrong in arguing that this relationship is one of evolutionary adaptation. In fact, persuasive reasoning that is not veridical can be fatal to the individual and to the propagation of his or her genes, as well as to the human species as a whole.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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