While so many TED talks offer a wealth of insight, entertainment, and wisdom, this one did something a little different. This talk, “The Long Reach Of Reason”, was recorded live, but then animated — to stunning results. The video explores today’s anti-intellectualism and the nature of reason itself. “In a time when irrationality seems to rule both politics and culture, has reasoned thinking finally lost its power?” the video explains. “Watch as psychologist Steven Pinker is gradually, brilliantly persuaded by philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein that reason is actually the key driver of human moral progress, even if its effect sometimes takes generations to unfold.”

When the same reason that brings moral decisions also brings us weapons of mass destruction, what does “reason” really mean? And can reason understand its own limits — or is reason inherently impotent? Is reason itself useful — or is it constantly bent to the will of the reasoner? You can see the whole video and get answers to some of the big questions here:


There’s a reason that TED’s Chris Anderson thought this might be the most significant TED Talk ever posted. It makes us challenge our own perspective, our own mechanics of thinking and their limits. “The Long Reach Of Reason” tackles the most fundamental of issues — it’s one you’ll come back to again and again.