Enlightenment Now

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0525427570
Size: 69.68 MB
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An assessment of the human condition in the twenty-first century presents data demonstrating that life quality, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise throughout the world because of the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.

Is Science Neurotic

Author: Nicholas Maxwell
Publisher: World Scientific
ISBN: 1860945007
Size: 72.41 MB
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- Has dramatic implications for social science and the humanities, for philosophy and for education - Written in an informal, accessible form (with the exception of the appendix, which is more technical)

How The Mind Works

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393069737
Size: 13.16 MB
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“A model of scientific writing: erudite, witty, and clear.” —New York Review of Books In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? ?How the Mind Works? synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life. This new edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.

The Better Angels Of Our Nature

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
ISBN: 0143122010
Size: 27.35 MB
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Presents a controversial history of violence which argues that today's world is the most peaceful time in human existence, drawing on psychological insights into intrinsic values that are causing people to condemn violence as an acceptable measure.

Energy And Civilization

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262338319
Size: 50.31 MB
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"I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. -- Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the Year Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows -- ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity -- for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel--driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts -- from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.

Words And Rules

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465049710
Size: 56.92 MB
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"If you are not already a Steven Pinker addict, this book will make you one." --Jared Diamond In Words and Rules, Steven Pinker explores profound mysteries of language by picking a deceptively simple phenomenon--regular and irregular verbs--and examining it from every angle. With humor and verve, he covers an astonishing array of topics in the sciences and humanities, from the history of languages to how to simulate languages on computers to major ideas in the history of Western philosophy. Through it all, Pinker presents a single, powerful idea: that language comprises a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of creative rules. The idea extends beyond language and offers insight into the very nature of the human mind. This is a sparkling, eye-opening, and utterly original book by one of the world's leading cognitive scientists.

The Blank Slate

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101200322
Size: 48.65 MB
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A brilliant inquiry into the origins of human nature. "Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read..also highly persuasive." -Time Now updated with a new afterword 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.

Do Humankind S Best Days Lie Ahead

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: House of Anansi
ISBN: 148700169X
Size: 13.42 MB
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Progress. It is one of the animating concepts of the modern era. From the Enlightenment onwards, the West has had an enduring belief that through the evolution of institutions, innovations, and ideas, the human condition is improving. This process is supposedly accelerating as new technologies, individual freedoms, and the spread of global norms empower individuals and societies around the world. But is progress inevitable? Its critics argue that human civilization has become different, not better, over the last two and a half centuries. What is seen as a breakthrough or innovation in one period becomes a setback or limitation in another. In short, progress is an ideology not a fact; a way of thinking about the world as opposed to a description of reality. In the seventeenth semi-annual Munk Debates, which was held in Toronto on November 6, 2015, pioneering cognitive scientist Steven Pinker and bestselling author Matt Ridley squared off against noted philosopher Alain de Botton and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell to debate whether humankind’s best days lie ahead.

The Case For Rational Optimism

Author: Frank Robinson
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351485490
Size: 79.55 MB
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The Case for Rational Optimism tackles a host of challenging subjects in an engaging, accessible, down-to-earth style. It is intellectually serious, ceaselessly intriguing, and devoid of banalities. While other books in this genre tend to be oriented toward self-help, this volume brings evolutionary biology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, economics, and a keen sense of history to the topic. Robinson begins with three goals: making the case for feeling good about oneself, about humanity in general, and about the global situation. He addresses such seemingly disparate subjects as selfi shness versus altruism, mind and free will, human nature, and issues relating to economics, technology, the environment, and more. Unifying these ideas into a coherent philosophical whole are central concepts: evolution has endowed our species with more good qualities than bad, and why; those qualities, and our use of reason, are the foundations of civilization, and how; and, consistent with our nature, we make a better world by valuing human life therefore enabling others to fl ourish in ways they freely choose. The Case for Rational Optimism argues that the highly challenging conditions confronting early man created a Darwinian selective pressure for cooperation, even altruism, among members of a tribe. Th e author fi nds evidence for this in the way our brains work, and in observable human behavior. He argues against existential despair over the human condition. Even though there probably is no grand celestial design investing life with meaning, he considers this liberating, giving every person the freedom to craft their own meaning. To Robinson, whether sentient beings experience suff ering or joy is the only thing that matters; without emotive highs and lows, the Universe would hardly matter.

The Sense Of Style

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0143127799
Size: 71.51 MB
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"Charming and erudite . . . The wit and insight and clarity he brings . . . is what makes this book such a gem." --Time.com Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing--and why should we care? In this entertaining and eminently practical book, the cognitive scientist, dictionary consultant, and New York Times-bestselling author Steven Pinker rethinks the usage guide for the twenty-first century. Using examples of great and gruesome modern prose while avoiding the scolding tone and Spartan tastes of the classic manuals, he shows how the art of writing can be a form of pleasurable mastery and a fascinating intellectual topic in its own right. The Sense of Style is for writers of all kinds, and for readers who are interested in letters and literature and are curious about the ways in which the sciences of mind can illuminate how language works at its best.