The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature [Steven Pinker] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A brilliant inquiry into the origins of. 13 Oct By STEVEN PINKER OCT. 13, . “Blank slate” is a loose translation of the medieval Latin term tabula rasa-literally, “scraped tablet. Turning the Tables on the Tabula Rasa. by. David P. Barash*. A review of The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker pp, Viking.

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Denying that rape is a sexual crime, and insisting that it’s only a violent crime which it is, also isn’t going to deter any would-be rapists, who, rasz it happens, are motivated by sexual urges, not the urge to commit violence. This book grew on me as I read it.

Many of the points in the book I was thoroughly convinced of before reading the book — I knew that genetics played some role in determining personality and aptitude; I was convinced of the probabilistic approach to human behavior; and I was convinced that versions of “is” do not automatically translate into “ought”.

Historically, tahula usually not been told what happened, since this was deemed to be in their best interests. It’s, really, no monkey business.

Also accepting something to be true does not in any way imply that I have to like it or support it. So unless you can produce an empirical evidence that supports your story e.

He has two younger siblings. Schlinger wrote two more critical reviews of the book that emphasized the importance of learning. Pinker is quick to say that differences between men and women are innate, whether it’s arsa, a difference in a bell curve intelligence spread, or in general interests, but he’ll attribute differences between races and ethnic groups to environment or oppression, forces he largely dismisses otherwise.

Jul 14, Daniel rated it it was ok Shelves: The second is mistaken because minds work as a whole and no amount of splitting will reveal their general structure.


Well, if you thought that story was interesting, he’s got dozens more that are nearly as good. Ideally, that is how it should work, with scientists serving as neutral observers, freely informing us, the public, on whatever findings they come across, whatever the implications. The Blank Slate is an important book for impressionable students of the social sciences because it thoroughly explicates arguments that some academic programs would never dare to teach.

Review: The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker | Books | The Guardian

Shackelford Roger Shepard Peter K. View all 11 comments. Some of my favorite parts from the book: They weren’t weird after all. In sum, this book amounts to an interesting point of view that, while not entirely accurate, helps us see human society in a different light.

The author could have begun this book from a different starting place where readers have no ideological axes to grind, open-minded examination of evidence and arguments take place, and we are all intellectually and emotionally ready to live in a world of nuance. The Fear of Imperfectibility: This book is worthy of five stars just based on the wisdom you will obtain.

It’s more illuminating in the sense that it allows me to see the modern biologist’s worship of evolution as deity in action.

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In opposition to the ghost and the machine theory, cognitive science has shown that intelligence can be explained in mechanistic terms, Pinker said. Taubla Steven Pinker in Oporto, on the 11th of November I was particularly interested in how politics and social activists have worked to slow down the progress of science.

Thinking of human nature in this way makes me appreciate everything “human” in a much deeper sense. At this level, the most effective factor is often the imagery. So it seems like our culture not only accepts biological explanations of behavior, but does so to excess. The mind is modular The trouble begins when “Pinker Two” starts to tell us how to understand this nature, now that we can believe in it again.


The biggest problem with Pinker is his over-reliance on Evolutionary Psychology—a relatively new discipline that tries to explain our behavior by This is a good introductory book to the nature vs nurture debate if you keep in mind that Pinker is very biased. You must be really confused by the people that he has debates with and radical feminists, such as Nicholas Matte, who Ross Very much so.

Are you sure you aren’t a supporter of eugenics? Attacking the linked doctrines of empiricism “the blank slate”romanticism “the noble savage” and dualism “the ghost in the machine”he urges us to accept realistically, in our theories as we do in everyday life, that much of our conduct and feelings are indeed rooted in the physical nature that is given to us, rather than coming from a mysterious entity called society or appearing from nowhere.

His current wife is the novelist and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein. Videos About This Book. For example, our desire for sugar and fat, resources whose scarcity once made their rapid consumption vital, has not diminished, though we can now reproduce them at large. But then again, there is no self for him to say it to, so what’s the point?

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Human nature did not change inor in any year thereafter. Let me take this last nugget for a moment. Wow, I tablua glad that’s all settled.

May 27, Kunal Sen rated it really liked it. He sees his favoured doctrines as science – respectable, ordered thinking, the only right way to go.