Hi, I am Dr Peter Prevos—engineer, social scientist and magician.
Welcome to The Horizon of Reason, a blog about the limits of rationality. In the era of post-truth, fake news and conspiracy theories, The Horizon of Reason explores the limits of what we can know.Thought-provoking, playfully intellectual, rogue ideas
This blog is not about debunking the irrational. There is no point telling people that the earth is round or that aliens haven’t built the pyramids or that Donald Trump shouldn’t be president. More interesting is to find out why people think and act the way they do.
Written in a playfully intellectual style with a satirical flair, the Horizon of Reason shows that deception is deeply engrained in our experience of the world.
What is The Horizon of Reason about?
The horizon of reason is the place where rationality and irrationality meet.
When we read about deception, we think about fraud, trickery and chicanery. Deception is the foundation of human experience. Optical illusions show us that the world is not what we perceive it to be. As humans, we deceive each other by playing our social roles.
This blog translates the outcomes of this scholarly research into easy to understand articles. Psychology has taught us that we are not rational animals, but that we rationalise what we perceive. Sociologists study how we manage our web of identity.
Magicians use deception to create illusions. Their trickery teaches us how we perceive the world around us. This blog shows what we can learn from magicians, not by exposing their secrets but using magic tricks to visualise our fickle relationship with reality.
Who does Peter think he is?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a magician but reality set in, and I went to school to be a carpenter. Even before leaving technical school, my teachers told me that I was too clumsy to swing a hammer.
Not concerned by this disappointment, I studied architecture. But alas, after one year in front of the drawing board, the lecturer suggested that I was not artistic enough to be an architect.
Not perturbed by this second disappointment I decided to become a civil engineer. During my career, I built structures, islands, harbours, bridges and pipelines around the world. Nevertheless, I decided not to be technically minded enough to be an engineer.
Not unsettled by yet another disappointment, I studied philosophy and management, and hold a Doctor of Philosophy degree in business.
My day job is managing a data science team, and I occasionally lecture marketing at the La Trobe University MBA. Magic has remained a passion all through my life, and I publish books about the science and history of magic.
The Horizon of Reason combines all my passions into one focused outlet.
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This blog is not a call to action, but a call to thinking!