What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Are human beings becoming more rational?

Daniel Dennett:   We’re all pretty rational.  It’s quite a robust thinking system that we’ve got between our ears. But what’s going to happen, and has been happening for several millennia now, is we’re going to develop more and better thinking tools and we’re going to identify more weakness in our rationality. And a weakness identified is at least something that can be avoided to some degree, we can learn work-arounds, we can recognize that we’re suckers for certain sorts of bad ideas and alerted to that we can, we can flag them when they come up. 

I think that process of self-knowledge and self-purification, of reasoning processes, will continue slowly to develop.  So it’s not so much, although it might include the development of actual software technology to help us think, that’s part of it, as we all know, but also just the self-knowledge that alerts us to foibles, blind spots in our own thinking.  We probably can’t repair them with any technology. We might not want to repair them. The cost might be too great; might stunt us in some other way. But at least we can nail them.

And of course that idea is an ancient idea that goes way back to Socrates--know thy self. That’s Socratic injunction; even following it for several millennia with good results. 

Recorded on: March 6, 2009.

 

Daniel Dennett Discusses th...

Newsletter: Share: