"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress", Steven Pinker, Harvard
Presented by The Honors College and The Center for Cognitive Science
Wednesday, October 03, 2018, 01:10pm
Talk: College Ave. Campus, Scott Hall 123 (1:10-2:30pm)
Reception: College Ave. Campus, Honors College (5-7pm)
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Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. He grew up in Montreal and earned his BA from McGill and his PhD from Harvard. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has also taught at Stanford and MIT. He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his nine books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Humanist of the Year, a recipient of nine honorary doctorates, and one of Foreign Policy’s “World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and writes frequently for The New York Times, The Guardian, and other publications. His tenth book, to be published in February 2018, is called Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.
If you read the news today, you might come to the conclusion that the human race is doomed, that democracy is on the decline, that authoritarianism and tribalism are on the rise. But is the world really falling apart? In this bold keynote, Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data. Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing. But in 2018, have we become complacent? Have we taken the Enlightenment’s breakthroughs and ideals for granted? The Enlightenment stands against many of the darker currents in the air, which demagogues are all too willing to exploit, resulting in attacks on liberal democracy and global cooperation. In a timely and hopeful keynote, Steven Pinker, one of the world’s most influential public intellectuals, makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.
Pinker, S. (2018). Steven Pinker recommends books to make you an optimist. The Guardian.
Pinker, S. (2018). Doomsday is (not) coming: The dangers of worrying about the apocalypse. The Globe and Mail.
Pinker, S. (2018). The Intellectual War on Science: It’s wreaking havoc in universities and jeopardizing the progress of research. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Publisher's Version
Pinker, S. (2018). ‘Reason is non-negotiable’: Steven Pinker on the Enlightenment. The Guardian: The Observer. Publisher's Version
Pinker, S. (2018). The Enlightenment Is Working. The Wall Street Journal. Publisher's Version
Pinker, S. (2018). The Bright Side. Time Magazine. Publisher's Version
Pinker, S. (2018). Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress . Viking.
Recent Press & Media
- Steven Pinker on "Real Time with Bill Mahar"
- Streaming video plus text of "Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers" on TED.com
- Recent book review in the New York Times
Parking and Directions
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This event is sponsored by the Honors College and the Center for Cognitive Science, which are committed to fostering excellence in education by providing student with enriched interdisciplinary experiences. Through learning more about research and innovation at the intersection of the arts and sciences, students can begin to apply their knowledge to have real impact on the world.