Category Archives: Steven Pinker

Progress and Retreat

A reading from Steven Pinker, about progress the MAGA folks are reacting against; Double standards about Trump and presidential immunity; J.D. Vance and protesters; DeSantis and woke banks; the National Day of Prayer; another Republican taking advantage of a bill … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker’s HOW THE MIND WORKS, post 5

Several quotes, in addition to those already provided. From Chapter 3, Pinker makes an essential point about how natural selection works. People aren’t driven by their genes to reproduce or even survive — not consciously; people are driven by their … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker, HOW THE MIND WORKS, post 4

Chapter 8, “The Meaning of Life,” is the last 45 page chapter of this 565 page (counting only text) book. Here he covers matters of human culture, much as Wilson did at the end of his 1978 book. Given that … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker, HOW THE MIND WORKS, post 3

Chapter 7, “Family Values,” about the psychology of social relations, is the longest chapter in the book, and second-to-last. The author begins by recalling that period in the 1960s when activists and folk singers called for peace and understanding, a … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker, HOW THE MIND WORKS, post 2

The last few chapters are especially rich and fascinating. Here’s Chapter 6, about human emotions. Ch6, Hotheads

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Steven Pinker, HOW THE MIND WORKS, post 1

I mentioned this book a few days ago and quoted from it. Now I’ve finished it and will summarize and highlight. As I said earlier, I’ve had this book since it was published in 1997 (I have a first edition, … Continue reading

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The Latest from Steven Pinker

Today, a long interview with Steven Pinker about ‘progress’ despite human nature; about the value of rationality; about looking at data and not headlines to understand the state of the world; about cancel culture; about the perils and inevitability of … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker: RATIONALITY (2021)

Pinker, Steven. Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters. Viking, 2021 I realize I’ve never written up a book by Steven Pinker on this blog, though I’ve read several and I think Pinker is one of … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker on Knowledge and Education

From Steven Pinker’s ENLIGHTENMENT NOW, chapter 16, Knowledge, p233: The supernova of knowledge continuously redefines what it means to be human. Our understanding of who we are, where we came from, how the world works, and what matters in life … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Sports and Trump; Pinker and Gates; Tribal Allegiance and Actual Progress

NYT, 3Feb18: Trump’s Blood Sport Politics. The writer recalls “”The Sporting Spirit,” an essay written by George Orwell in 1945 that sought to reckon with the rise of our modern athletic-industrial complex.” For Orwell, the rise of sports was bound … Continue reading

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