What Are We Arguing About When We Argue About Rationality?

Scott Alexander in Astral Codex Ten:

Let’s talk about this tweet:

The backstory: Steven Pinker wrote a book about rationality. The book concludes it is good. People should learn how to be more rational, and then we will have fewer problems.

Howard Gardner, well-known wrong person, sort of criticized the book. The criticism was facile, a bunch of stuff like “rationality is important, but relationships are also important, so there”.

Pinker’s counterargument is dubious: Gardner’s essay avoids rationality pretty carefully. But even aside from that, it feels like Pinker is cheating, or missing the point, or being annoying. Gardner can’t be arguing that rationality is completely useless in 100% of situations. And if there’s any situation at all where you’re allowed to use rationality, surely it would be in annoying Internet arguments with Steven Pinker.

More here.