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Steven Pinker

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Steven Pinker, 2005
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Popping into your mind

Steven Pinker (born 1954) is a Canadian linguist, psychologist, notable atheist, and author of both academic and popular books on his areas of special interest. In 2003 he became Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.[1] He is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and of the computational theory of mind.

His book The Language Instinct (1994) popularized Noam Chomsky's theory that language is an innate faculty of mind, and to that he added that this faculty evolved by natural selection, improving human abilities to communicate[2][3]. The Blank Slate (2002) is a polemic against human exceptionalism, arguing against the "blank slate" hypothesis that the entire human personality is acquired through socialization and environmental conditioning, the "noble savage" belief that all human capacity for vice, violence, and crime is similarly learned from a morally corrupt environment, and that there is a "ghost in the machine", a mind or soul that is separate from the brain. The Better Angels Of Our Nature (2011) argues that violence has decreased as humans have adopted more complex social organizations, have improved communications, and have built networks of trade, and that the perception that we live in an unusually violent time rather than a remarkably peaceful one exemplifies confirmation bias (shit happens, we're just noticing it more with so much media coverage).

Pinker received the 2013 Richard Dawkins Award from the Atheist Alliance of AmericaWikipedia's W.svg, with Dawkins calling him a "personal hero".[4]

Bibliography[edit]

Some of his books:

Further Reading[edit]

  • Vyvyan Evans (2014). The Language Myth: Why Language Is Not an Instinct. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Michael Tomasello (1995). Language is Not an Instinct, review of The Language Instinct in Cognitive Development 10, pages 131-156. Elsevier. 

References[edit]