The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Front Cover
Penguin, 2003 - Psychology - 509 pages
324 Reviews
In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading experts on language and the mind, explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts. Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
149
4 stars
101
3 stars
48
2 stars
21
1 star
5

Fantastic. Great subject and writing. - Goodreads
Impressively thorough and well-researched. - Goodreads
I love Steven Pinker's writing style. - Goodreads
Pinker is a great writer and very engaging. - Goodreads
I fell in love with the style of writing too. - Goodreads
Plus, he's an excellent writer. - Goodreads

Review: The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

User Review  - James McKenzie - Goodreads

Here's a tough one, easy to read and often interesting, at least as far as the hard science stuff goes, but whenever he starts talking about art, feminism, critical theory, &c, it's hard to see his ... Read full review

Review: The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

User Review  - Paul Downs - Goodreads

I'm lying. I'm only maybe a quarter of the way through, and don't feel the need to read every word. My own experience with my twin sons leads me to agree with Pinker's thesis, that the brain is born ... Read full review

All 70 reviews »

Contents

The Official Theory
5
Silly Putty
14
The Last Wall to Fall
30
Culture Vultures
59
The Slates Last Stand
73
Fear and Loathing
103
Political Scientists
105
The Holy Trinity
121
Out of Our Depths
219
The Many Roots of Our Suffering
241
The Sanctimonious Animal
269
Hot Buttons
281
Politics
283
Violence
306
Gender
337
Children
372

Human Nature with a Human Face
137
The Fear of Inequality
141
The Fear of Imperfectibility
159
The Fear of Determinism
174
The Fear of Nihilism
186
Know Thyself
195
In Touch with Reality
197
The Arts
400
The Voice of the Species
421
Donald E Browns List of Human Universals
435
NOTES
441
REFERENCES
461
INDEX
491
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2003)

Steven Pinker is one of the world's leading authorities on language and the mind. His popular and highly praised books include Words and Rules, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct. The recipient of several major awards for his teaching and scientific research, Pinker is Peter de Florez professor of psychology in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bibliographic information