Autonomous thinkers, irrational thinkers

José Ángel Gascón
Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, UCSC, Chile |

Received: 29-May-2019 | Accepted: 5-July-2019 | Published Online: 24-November-2019
Disputatio [Dec. 2019], Vol. 9, No. 13, pp. 00-00 | DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3567231
Article | [SP] | Full Text | Statistics | Copyright Notice [sp] | Vol. 9 No. 13

How to cite this article:
Gascón, José Ángel (2020). «Pensadores autónomos, pensadores irracionales». Disputatio. Philosophical Research Bulletin 9, no. 13: pp. 00–00.

Abstract | We are living, it is often said, in a time that is characterised by the rise of irrational beliefs and the disregard of scientific knowledge. However, our time is also characterised by the praise—at least in words—of critical thinking against unreflective gullibility. It is doubtless necessary to take various factors into account in order to explain this apparent paradox. In this paper I will focus on one factor that concerns our very conception of critical thinking and that, in my view, contributes to the escalation of irrationality: the exaltation of autonomy. I will argue that the emphasis of cognitive autonomy both by philosophy and by the divulgation of critical thinking turns out to be harmful in two respects. On the one hand, the praise of cognitive autonomy may cause the rejection of scientific knowledge that contradicts our personal experience. This is perhaps most clearly seen in the case of those who believe in pseudo-therapies. On the other hand, the emphasis on autonomous reflection contributes to the formation of a false confidence in biased reasoning. Against these two problems, I will defend the epistemic virtues of rational trust and argumentation.
Keywords |
Argumentation · Autonomy · Experts · Reflection · Bias.

Pensadores autónomos, pensadores irracionales

Resumen | Vivimos, según se dice con frecuencia, en una época caracterizada por el auge de las creencias irracionales y la negación del conocimiento científico. Sin embargo, nuestro tiempo también se caracteriza por el ensalzamiento — al menos de palabra — del pensamiento crítico frente a la credulidad irreflexiva. Sin duda, es necesario tener en cuenta diversos factores para explicar esta aparente paradoja. En este artículo me centraré en uno que concierne a nuestra concepción misma del pensamiento crítico y que, en mi opinión, contribuye al recrudecimiento de la irracionalidad: la exaltación de la autonomía. Argumentaré que el énfasis en la autonomía cognitiva por parte tanto de la filosofía como de la divulgación del pensamiento crítico resulta perjudicial en dos aspectos. Por un lado, el ensalzamiento de la autonomía cognitiva puede provocar un rechazo del conocimiento científico que contradiga nuestras experiencias personales. Esto puede verse quizá con mayor claridad en el caso de quienes creen en pseudoterapias. Por otro lado, el énfasis en la reflexión autónoma contribuye a la formación de una falsa seguridad en un razonamiento sesgado. Frente a estos dos problemas, defenderé las virtudes epistémicas de la confianza racional y la argumentación.
Palabras Clave | Argumentación · Autonomía · Expertos · Reflexión · Sesgos.


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