The Blank Slate

The Blank Slate

The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Book - 2002
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Penguin Putnam
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.

Baker & Taylor
In a provocative study of the nature versus nurture debate, one of the world's foremost experts on language and the mind brilliantly explores the modern self-denial of our basic human natures. 50,000 first printing.

& Taylor

In a study of the nature versus nurture debate, one of the world's foremost experts on language and the mind explores the modern self-denial of our basic human natures.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2002
ISBN: 9780670031511
Branch Call Number: 155.234 PIN
Characteristics: xvi, 509 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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morrisonist Mar 29, 2016

he said that men do not fall in love. this is absolutely false

Mar 01, 2013

A review on the nature versus nurture debate. This book was like preaching to the choir for me so it was easy to enjoy. I believe that Mr. Pinker has laid out a strong argument against the Blank Slate, Noble Savage and Ghost in the Machine theories. If you believe in them then this book probably own't convince you. If you don't know the debate and are intellectually curious about it then this is a good book to read.

Feb 16, 2013

Very boring...
Pinker is not a neuroscientist and uses far too many words to describe simple ideas that neuroscience can explain in a far clearer way.
Just read the first chapter and close the book.

Dec 06, 2007

Finalist of the 2003 Pulitzer prize for non-fiction.


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