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Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now: the Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress- In Reviewniverse

It is one thing for an author to change my worldview entirely with one book, but Pinker somehow managed to do it again with Enlightenment Now.

If you remember (from the link above) Steven Pinker is the cognitive psychologist/ linguist/ popular science author who’s work I’ve been binge reading over the past couple months. His most recent work, Enlightenment Now, discusses the increased quality of life since the Enlightenment era and argues that this is a result of the Enlightenment movement.

This is, oddly, a bitter pill to swallow. My first reaction to these claims was “But what about all the elephants? What about the Pollution? What about the everything on the news? What about the Donald?”

Let me first tell you a thing or two about opinions. Every one of us has in some way a bias system we have developed through our experiences and educations as human beings. These biases can include topics like abortions, GMO’s, what makes a president good, what makes a government work, what is or is not racist.

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Pinker’s always interesting to read. My introduction to him was through the background material for Literary Darwinism. He’s one of the key thinkers in Evolutionary Psychology. The more I read of his work, the more I wanted to read. Edward O. Wilson’s work is very compatible and the two thinkers often interact directly.

I definitely get the same feeling reading his work. I had been skeptical of evolutionary psychology for quite some time before reading Pinker- came to him through linguistics actually. Never heard of Edward O. Wilson though- I’ll have to look him up!

Thank you for reading and leaving a comment!!

Another one to add to your list is Chris Boehm, an evolutionary anthropologist, and his book Moral Origins. Came across Boehm while reading Sebastian Junger’s book Tribe. Boehm’s work does a good job of showing the interrelation between evolutionary psychology and evolutionary biology, especially the nature vs nurture,/genes vs culture questions

Oh that sounds like the perfect read- I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about how we can interpret evolutionary psychology as something more than speculative. It would be nice to have some grounding in the field.

Thank you for this. If you ever have authors you’d like to share, please send their names my way!

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