Category Archives: Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker: THE BLANK SLATE, post 4

Another five chapters, mostly addressing the fears people have with the idea of an innate human nature, as opposed to the idealized blank slate: concerning inequality, imperfectibility, determinism, and nihilism. Earlier posts about this book: post 1, post 2, post … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker: THE BLANK SLATE, post 3

Summaries and comments about three more chapters of Steven Pinker’s THE BLANK SLATE; And YouTube tracks from one of my favorite film scores: Richard Robbins’ for The Remains of the Day. I’ll try to get through the rest of book … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker: THE BLANK SLATE, post 2

(Advisory: I’m traveling to Austin TX tomorrow through Sunday, and so will not be posting here until next Monday, likely.) A key point about this book is that Pinker shows how the facts (the science) of human nature undermine both … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker: THE BLANK SLATE, post 1

Subtitled: “The Modern Denial of Human Nature” (Viking, Oct. 2002, 509pp, including 75pp appendix, notes, references, and index) This is an enormous, thorough book on a topic already covered to some extent by several of the other major books I’ve … Continue reading

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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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