How Rationality Made Us: A Conversation with Steven Pinker, PhD

How Rationality Made Us: A Conversation with Steven Pinker, PhD

Managing a human society requires many grand balancing acts: individual with collective action, laws and internal discipline. When we think about justice, morality and rationality, everyone thinks of themselves as “just, moral and rational” — no one considers themselves unjust, immoral and irrational. So how do we define those words, and who gets to define them? And where do religion and science enter into the conversation on those topics?

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Professor Steven Pinker, PhD is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, specializing in visual cognition and psycholinguistics, at Harvard University. He has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World Today, and Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers. Pinker is also the author of  The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now (2018), which uses social science data to show a general improvement of the human condition over recent history. His next book, coming this fall, is called Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, and Why It Matters.




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