Episode: #305 Steven Pinker: The Enlightenment, Cultural Evolution, and the Human Mind
Pub date: 2020-03-09
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Dr. Steven Pinker is a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time and The Atlantic, and is the author of ten books, including The Language Instinct, How The Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style, and most recently, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.
In this episode, we talk go through some of the main topics Dr. Pinker tackles in his work. We start by discussing a new hypothesis put forth by Joe Henrich and his collaborators, about the possible influence the Catholic Church had on the evolution of our WEIRD psychology and the Enlightenment ideas. We then talk about cultural evolution, morality from an evolutionary perspective, and human progress. We also address if our folk psychology tracks scientific findings on human behavior. We also talk about language, and AI. Finally, we go through two questions coming from a patron, about the cognitive niche hypothesis, and the WEIRD problem.
Follow Dr. Pinker’s work:
Faculty page: http://bit.ly/2Nx4rC6
ResearchGate profile: http://bit.ly/2RkTcxI
Books on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2R02Er6
Twitter handle: @sapinker
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