The Edge of Reason: A Rational Skeptic in an Irrational World

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0300208235

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Reason, long held as the highest human achievement, is under siege. According to Aristotle, the capacity for reason sets us apart from other animals, yet today it has ceased to be a universally admired faculty. Rationality and reason have become political, disputed concepts, subject to easy dismissal.
Julian Baggini argues eloquently that we must recover our reason and reassess its proper place, neither too highly exalted nor completely maligned. Rationality does not require a sterile, scientistic worldview, it simply involves the application of critical thinking wherever thinking is needed. Addressing such major areas of debate as religion, science, politics, psychology, and economics, the author calls for commitment to the notion of a “community of reason,” where disagreements are settled by debate and discussion, not brute force or political power. Baggini's insightful book celebrates the power of reason, our best hope—indeed our only hope—for dealing with the intractable quagmires of our time.

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sample) responded that they speak English ‘very well’ (Crawford, 2004). However, the flip side is that slightly less than half of US residents who speak a language other than English at home (8.1 percent of the entire sample) ‘speak English with some difficulty’, the definition of which includes those who speak 124 Ryuko Kubota English ‘well’, ‘not well’, and ‘not at all’ as determined by the US Department of Education (Crawford, 2004). This type of figure, along with the number of speakers of

English for historically disadvantaged groups, constitutional language rights, and the institution’s own identity as a historically English-medium (and culturally British) university. Present Oceanside language policy attests to its historical attachment to English language teaching and research, just as a recent effort to offer multilingual resources as a part of academic development affirms its desire to value multilingualism as a tool rather than a liability. The official policy established in

students whose home language is Afrikaans, and who have progressed through Afrikaans-medium education, expressed a different sense of obligation to use English. Taylor, whose home language is Afrikaans, but who is also proficient in Xhosa, Zulu, and English, generally tries to use English in classroom interactions, but does not hesitate to switch into Afrikaans if it will facilitate his efforts to communicate his ideas. While recognizing the necessity of English use at Oceanside University, native

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