Are We a Blank Slate at Birth: Steven Pinker [TED VIDEO]
Steven Pinker’s book The Blank Slate argues that all humans are born with some innate traits. Here, Pinker talks about his thesis, and why some people found it incredibly upsetting.
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.
Image: Steven Pinker 2005 by Rebecca Goldstein