Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Front Cover
Penguin, 2018 - PSYCHOLOGY - 556 pages
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR

"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.


Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

Far from being a nave hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mbmackay - LibraryThing

I love reading Pinker - he is incredibly insightful and thought provoking. This book is something of a continuation of Better Angels, with the content broadened from violence to quality of life. As he ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - aadyer - LibraryThing

A thoughtful well constructed Defense of Enlightenment values in the modern era with multiple examples on why the future might be rosier than you might think. Varying from cognitive biases to public ... Read full review

Contents

DARE TO UNDERSTAND1
15
COUNTERENLIGHTENMENTS
29
LIFE
53
SUSTENANCE
68
INEGUALITY
97
THE ENVIRONMENT
156
TERRORISM
191
EQUAL RIGHTS
214
HAPPINESS
262
EXISTENTIAL THREATS
290
THE FUTURE OF PROGRESS
322
REASON SCIENCE AND HUMANISM
347
SCIENCE
385
HUMANISM
410
5
483
INDEX
525

KNOWLEDGE
233
QUALITY OF LIFE
247

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About the author (2018)

Steven Pinker is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books, he has been named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers.

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