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In his last outing, How the Mind Works, the author of the well-received The Language Instinct made a case for evolutionary psychology or the view that human beings have a hard-wired nature that evolved over time. This book returns to that still-controversial territory in order to shore it up in the public sphere. Drawing on decades of research in the "sciences of human nature," Pinker, a chaired professor of psychology at MIT, attacks the notion that an infant's mind is a blank slate, arguing instead that human beings have an inherited universal structure shaped by the demands made upon the species for survival, albeit with plenty of room for cultural and individual variation. For those who have been following the sciences in question including cognitive science, neuroscience, behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology much of the evidence will be familiar, yet Pinker's clear and witty presentation, complete with comic strips and allusions to writers from Woody Allen to Emily Dickinson, keeps the material fresh. What might amaze is the persistent, often vitriolic resistance to these findings Pinker presents and systematically takes apart, decrying the hold of the "blank slate" and other orthodoxies on intellectual life. He goes on to tour what science currently claims to know about human nature, including its cognitive, intuitive and emotional faculties, and shows what light this research can shed on such thorny topics as gender inequality, child-rearing and modern art. Pinker's synthesizing of many fields is impressive but uneven, especially when he ventures into moral philosophy and religion; examples like "Even Hitler thought he was carrying out the will of God" violate Pinker's own principle that one should not exploit Nazism "for rhetorical clout." For the most part, however, the book is persuasive and illuminating.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Pinker moves from How the Mind Works to how human nature works, offering a theory that ably blends instinct and choice.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Chock full of unique and useful insights, many of which provide data about where conventional is wrong. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Charles Miller
In The Blank Slate, Pinker outlines three dogmas that he says are the prevailing views of human nature in modern philosophy:
1) The blank slate, in which the mind has no... Read more
Steven pinker does it again. Granted the book is long enough. Perhaps 4 volumes of the blank slate is in order. Amazing book overall.Published 23 days ago by Nestor A Bonilla
Pinker's pellucid and puckish prose persistently presses proponents of a plastic personality.Published 1 month ago by Kai
Blank slate has a liberating tendency that's missed by many people. The critics talk about genetic determinism or we being victims of our genes. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Halifax Student Account
I loved this book! The author, Steven Pinker, might come across as off his rocker at first, but for every claim he makes he provides ample evidence. Read morePublished 2 months ago by KFitz
Found this book extremely interesting. I suggest that individuals considering buying this book view the author's TED talk first.Published 2 months ago by Thomas A. Battan