The blank slate: the modern denial of human nature

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Viking, 2002 - Psychology - 509 pages
270 Reviews
Our conceptions of human nature affect everything aspect of our lives, from child-rearing to politics to morality to the arts. Yet many fear that scientific discoveries about innate patterns of thinking and feeling may be used to justify inequality, to subvert social change, and to dissolve personal responsibility. In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. He shows how many intellectuals have denied the existence of human nature and instead have embraced three dogmas: The Blank Slate (the mind has no innate traits), The Noble Savage (people are born good and corrupted by society), and The Ghost in the Machine (each of us has a soul that makes choices free from biology). Each dogma carries a moral burden, so their defenders have engaged in desperate tactics to discredit the scientists who are now challenging them. Pinker provides calm in the stormy debate by disentangling the political and moral issues from the scientific ones. He shows that equality, compassion, responsibility, and purpose have nothing to fear from discoveries about an innately organized psyche. Pinker shows that the new sciences of mind, brain, genes, and evolution, far from being dangerous, are complementing observations about the human condition made by millennia of artists and philosophers. All this is done in the style that earned his previous books many prizes and worldwide acclaim: irreverent wit, lucid exposition, and startling insight on matters great and small.

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Fantastic. Great subject and writing. - Goodreads
Pinker is a great writer and very engaging. - Goodreads
I fell in love with the style of writing too. - Goodreads

Review: The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

User Review  - Steven - Goodreads

This is my 66th book of the year, and only the second I couldn't make it all the way through. I finally gave up about halfway, as the book just wasn't fulfilling my expectations and I didn't feel like ... Read full review

Review: The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

User Review  - Kunal Sen - Goodreads

Not that I was convinced by all the arguments presented in this book, but it is an incredible joy to discover a single book that echoes so many thoughts that have been percolating in my mind, and to ... Read full review

Contents

The Blank Slate the Noble Savage
1
Fear and Loathing
103
Human Nature with a Human Face
137
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

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About the author (2002)

One of "Time" magazine's "100 Most Influential People in

One of "Time" magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World Today," Steven Pinker is the author of seven book the World Today," Steven Pinker is the author of seven books, including "How the Mind Works" and "The Blank Slate"?boths, including "How the Mind Works" and "The Blank Slate"?both Pulitzer Prize finalists and winners of the William James B Pulitzer Prize finalists and winners of the William James Book Award. He is an award-winning researcher and teacher, anook Award. He is an award-winning researcher and teacher, and a frequent contributor to "Time" and the "New York Times".d a frequent contributor to "Time" and the "New York Times".

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