"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates "A terrific book...Pinker recounts the progress across a broad array of metrics, from health to wars, the environment to happiness, equal rights to quality of life." --The New York TimesThe follow-up to Pinker's groundbreaking The Better Angels of Our Nature presents the big picture of human progress: 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....
|Title||:||Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress|
|Number of Pages||:||576 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Enlightenment » Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress|
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress Reviews
I originally picked up this book after reading the critical reviews by among others, John Gray.
Most of the criticism leveled at Pinker in this book is centered around an alleged 'ahistoricism'. Pinker, so the claim goes, has profoundly misunderstood Hume, Kant and Mill; seeing them as advocates of a type of perfect rationality. While it's true that this is how the Enlightenment thinkers viewed rationality, it's also how Pinker views rationality.
Pinker's case is that the Enlightenment worked. W ...more
Pinker’s latest is getting a lot of press, of course.
Here are a few links:
His own synopsis at the Wall Street Journal: The Enlightenment Is Working (paywall; try Googling wsj The Enlightenment Is Working and clicking through from Google, maybe into “private browsing mode”. Works sometimes.)
Ezra Klein of Vox is a pretty good interviewer, and he hooked up with Pinker at his podcast. I really liked that they both name-dropped Dan Kahan's work at his Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School ...more
You’ve never had it so good, and Steven Pinker has the stats and charts (over 70!) to prove it. Wars are fewer and less severe, homicides are down, racism is in decline, terrorism is a fading fad, democracy rules, communicable diseases and poverty are on their way out. Life expectancy is up, and police are killing fewer people, both black and white. Even the poor have refrigerators. Inequality is a requisite sign of success. So appreciate the wonderful state of affairs you find yourself in. This ...more
Everyone should read Enlightenment Now. It seems odd to require a defense of reason, science, humanism and progress, but we suffer if we do not understand how far humanity has come by application of these principles. Steven Pinker has done us the favor of chronicling that progress, with data, in a compellingly written volume that challenges common assumptions. The news cycle and many prominent intellectuals would have us think that the world is becoming a darker, scarier place; yet the opposite ...more
Francis Bacon once said that “some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.” This is one of the few.
The main thesis of the book is that the enlightenment values of reason, science, and humanism have led to scientific and moral progress and that the embrace of these values will continue the trend. This, as opposed to counter-enlightenment values (religious faith, nationalism, tribalism, relativism, declinism), is the recipe for the maximizati ...more
This is a magnificent book written by a brilliant author who happens to be one of the world’s foremost experts on language and the mind. (Yes, he’s a psycholinguist.)
Thankfully, I fully agree with 99% of everything he says. The case for humanism and for progress has never been stronger and he makes that case clearly and strongly. The problem with reality, however, is that it always exists in context, so when it comes to graphs and statistics, there’s a lot of wiggle room if you have the time an ...more
As in The Better Angels of our Nature, Steven Pinker shows us why we have to look beyond the news cycle and our own biases to examine the forces that have continuously improved conditions for the bulk of humanity. And Pinker provides the data to back his arguments up. There's no doubt that Pinker will be accused of being a Pollyanna, but he acknowledges that mankind has hard work ahead - including dealing with global climate change. His argument is simply that if we stand a chance at confronting ...more
Bill Gates's endorsement: