After a doctorate at the Institut Jean Nicod, a postdoc in the Philosophy, Politics and Economics program at the University of Pennsylvania, and another one at the University of Neuchâtel, Hugo Mercier is now a research scientist at the CNRS (Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod).
Most of his work has focused on the function and workings of reasoning. According to the argumentative theory of reasoning, the function of reasoning is argumentative: to find and evaluate arguments so as to convince others and only be convinced when it is appropriate. Accordingly, reasoning works well as an argumentative device, but quite poorly otherwise. Dan Sperber and Mercier wrote a book that develops and extends the argumentative theory of reasoning, called The Enigma of Reason (US, UK).