Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

La tabla rasa & El buen salvaje & El…

La tabla rasa & El buen salvaje & El fantasma en la maquina/ Blank Slate &… (original 2002; edition 2005)

by Steven Pinker

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,295391,658 (4.07)62
Title:La tabla rasa & El buen salvaje & El fantasma en la maquina/ Blank Slate & The Noble Savage & Ghost in the Machine (Asterisco) (Spanish Edition)
Authors:Steven Pinker
Info:Paidos Iberica Ediciones S a (2005), Paperback, 60 páginas
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker (2002)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 62 mentions

English (38)  Swedish (1)  All (39)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Excellent book about how we got to this idea that everyone is malleable and "fixable". Overly detailed so it was a bit tedious but well worth the listen ( )
  ShadowBarbara | Jan 27, 2017 |
This is a must-read. Pinker argues against the notion that humans are born with a blank slate of personality, etc. Instead, he asserts that we are animals just like every other animal that has certain genetic tendencies and instincts from birth. He does not deny that the environment or our culture has an impact on how we behave, though. I cannot give this book enough praise. ( )
  fliesbath | Oct 26, 2015 |
In The Blank Slate, Pinker outlines three dogmas that he says are the prevailing views of human nature in modern philosophy:

1) The blank slate, in which the mind has no innate (genetic) properties and, as John Watson boasted, through conditioning you could train a child to become anybody you want her to become.

2) The noble savage, in which people are born good, and society forms them into deviants. Pinker suggested that Rousseau was a strong proponent of this theory, but according to Wikipedia (which is always accurate), Rousseau never used this term.

3) The ghost in the machine, in which people's choices are solely dependent upon their soul.

Pinker provides evidence that these three dogmas are false, and that there is a strong genetic drive in human behavior. He covers diverse topics including racism, violence, rape, and feminism (among many others).

Overall, I found this book fascinating. I didn't think I was going to agree with Pinker...especially when I first started the book. But he presented some pretty good arguments that convinced me to waffle, if not to change my mind. I was a bit put off by Pinker's arrogance (like when he says that he's "proven" something when he's only provided evidence), but I guess that's to be expected in many well-respected intellectuals.

To see my full review: http://hibernatorslibrary.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-blank-slate-by-stephen-pinker... ( )
  The_Hibernator | Sep 13, 2015 |
So it turns out this book looks more credible than it actually is. Pinker does a poor job of actually defining what he means by "human nature" and capitalizes on the ambiguity by never planting a flag on the sort and extent of influence heredity and environment play on said human nature. His opponents on the other hand are inevitably presented as holding the most implausible and rigid stance in the nurture camp. It's not immediately suspicious when looking at the historical debate, but is very much so if one plans to refute 'the modern denial of human nature'.

Ultimately Pinker fails to properly address the modern voices of science and psychology. He practically admits this when he mentions that when explaining his book to colleagues the usual reaction is skepticism of the relevancy of a book refuting a belief no one holds. But he dismisses that. Instead of venturing into the disputed territory of the how both hereditary and environmental factors come together Pinker intentionally takes an unspecified position somewhere on the side of nature and nurture so he may benefit from portraying his opponents' cartoonishly defined positions as two-dimensionally as possible. Here there be straw men.

It simply isn't very scientific. When studies are mentioned they are often poorly explained if at all which does fuck all to support his argument beyond some childish appeal to the authority. Data is only as good as its source and rigor and the nearest Pinker comes to defining studies is to occassionally tell us if there were twins involved. Yes, I understand twins are great to have in genetic studies, but I'd also like to know what was being tested and how it was evaluated and if that thing the study puts a number is actually the sort of data that can quantified. But no.

Ultimately Pinker isn't debating a scientific point, but a political one. A dumb political one. And while it's certainly no surprise that fake science and poor philosophy are often shitty bedfellows when it comes to politics the arguments against them ought to stand on the rigors of science and logic, not petulent rhetoric. I probably agree with at least 80% of Pinker's actual postion on the matter, but none of that came of any argument Pinker brought to the table. No, the only reasonable arguments Pinker trots out were some elementary ethics and common sense. And frankly, I don't need anyone to explain that just because something may be true doesn't make it right any more than I need Pinker to explain that, actually, rape is sexual. No shit Sherlock. ( )
  fundevogel | Mar 22, 2015 |
Human is not blank slate.

The social scientists are wrong for so many years.

The pure behaviors are also wrong. Skinner is wrong to assume that the human behaviors are shaped by the environment.

Freud is wrong of course.

Cognitive psychology have to revised its theory to include some form of behaviorist analysis.

Stephen Pinker is up to date, at least that mentioned the wrongs of psychologists to interchange study subject and project behaviors of rats and pigeons to humans.

I'm only on the 3rd chapter and I again wonder why this book sit on my to-read pile for so long.

So gene predetermine a lot of factor. There is an intermediate motivate, a proximate cause of behaviors.


More coming...

OK. The nasty bit about how studies of evolution theory that goes against the concept was attacked by sociologists.

Behavioral scientists are being attack for discovering human inborn theory.

We are not born equal. We have inborn trend. These trend could be different among races or genders.

The theory that we could all achieve the same thing is false. Like we are not good at sport because of the ability we are born with. Intelligent and other factors could also make us less accomplish than we like to be.

That's good to hear actually.

The other cool thing is, that he goes into details into free will.

Just that we are born with certain tendency does not make us less responsible for the things we do.

Pre-frontal cortex could stop us for behaving badly even if we desire to do, after we think of the possible consequence.

So, free will still exist for most.

Next is punishment for crime.

The important of knowing our nature scientifically.

There is a whole of hostility against scientists that study the human nature. The right wing use this to justify their hostility toward whoever they are bias against.

The scientists who really study human nature, are not "against" any particular groups. People are different, and the genes that bring out the trend is the butter and bread for the scientists.

So, it is interesting that professors and students are not on the left, and hold respect for people being different. Those who are conservatives and religious or both are against everyone that fall out of the narrow acceptable standard the right wing set for themselves.

It is not education but the preconception of the human nature that bring out this huge difference.

Human are just human living out their natural intend and compromise so the good for staying in the society.

Those who don't see individuals but collective social psychology would try to make everyone fall inline to authority, be it political or religious.

A great read.

There are some really good bits that I would like to commit to memory.

Human nature is capable of violence, that's why anarchy doesn't work. Pinker cited Montreal 1969 police strike as a good example of how good nature, well mannered people have a small population that would act violently if they could get away with it.

The question is not why human are violence. The question should be why violence incidents don't happen more often. Frontal lobes that give human self control would say a lot. When there are consequences, human act better to avoid unfavorable outcome.

The other thing he goes against is the gender feminist theory. A lot of them are bullshit. Rape is not just about power, it is about sex. Men want sex. When some men want sex from women that refused, and they choose not to use the usual method of seduction, wooing. to get into women pants, some men use violence. From the genetic point of view, even when the rate of 5% of rape resulted in pregnancy, the gene of the type of men who would rape would live on in the civilization.

The other one is about the cocky-poop about parental influence. They have genetic influence. If parental care is normal, and not abusive, neglect, then most children would come out the way they are supposed to, with the genetic materials.

The 3 laws are like this.

The first law : All human behavioral traits are heritable. (50%)
Th second law: The effect of being raised in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes. (0%)
The third law: A substantial portion of the variation in complex human behavioral traits is not accounted for by the effects of genes or families. (50%)

Quoting Pinker regarding the result to find siblings that raised apart are similar in trend while adoptive siblings that are raised together have the same level of behavioral trend similarity like strangers, "Not to put too fine a point on it, but much of the advice from the parenting experts is flapdoodle."

Like it. Self help books are bullshit. Now we know parental guides are mostly bullshit too.

Good one.

Closer to finishing this. Enjoying this a lot.

For those who has a strong dislike for postmodernism would love the chapter on Art. Scientists like Pinker had echoed the dislike for the artists or theorists who ignored the human nature for beauty.

Quoting Pinker, "Once we recognize what modernism and postmodernism have done to the elite arts and humanities, the reasons for their decline and fall become all too obvious. The movements are based on a false theory of human psychology, the Blank Slate. They fail to apply their most vaunted ability - stripping away the pretense - to themselves. An they take all the fun of out art!

Modernism and postmodernism cling to a theory of perception that was rejected long ago: that the sense organs present the brain with a tableau of raw colors and sounds and hat everything else in perceptual experience is a learned social construction."

The mass production of beautiful arts in both commercial and non commercials sectors would make arts so available that we are overwhelmed by them.

Arts is linked to hunger for status. Once art is common, it lost that part of the value. So modernism and postmodernism has kind of driven, to make art less available. So unavailable that it require critics to put a narrative to it before normal people could appreciate them.

Pinker quoting Tom Wolfe in the "The Painted Word".

"Not "seeing is believing", you ninny, but "believing is seeing", for Modern Art has become completely literary: the paintings and other works exist only to illustrate the the text."

The postmodernist arts had turned away from human nature of appreciation of beauty. It is "destroying beauty", and tried to shock people. It failed in many ways but still be appreciated as "big name artists" are still marketable and fed the rich for their hunger for status.

As Pinker had put it, "A final blind spot to human nature is the failure of contemporary artists and theorists to deconstruct their own moral pretensions. Artists and critics have long believed that an appreciation of elite art is ennobling and have spoken of cultural philistines in tones ordinarily reserved for child molesters (as we see in the two meanings of the word barbarian). The affectation of social reform that surrounds modernism and postmodernism is part of this tradition."

"The dominant theories of elite art and criticism i the twentieth century grew out of a militant denial of human nature. One legacy is ugly, baffling, and insulting art. The other is pretentious and unintelligible scholarship. And they're surprised that people are staying away in droves?"

Things are changing. Some artists are now including the scientific understanding of human nature in their arts. Good one. Pinker named some names and I'm looking forward to their arts.

Last chapter. The Voice of Species.

Pinker against blank slate is obvious and strong and reasonable. I've read enough books (not a lot, but enough) that pretend human is blank slate when it is not. And it has it dark side.

"The Blank Slate is not some ideal that we should all hope and pray is true. No, it is anti-life, anti-human theoretical abstraction that denies our common humanity, our inherent interests, and our individual preferences. Though it has pretensions of celebrating our potential, i does the opposite, because our potential comes from the combinatorial interplay of wonderfully complex faculties, not from passive blankness of an empty tablet."

Great work. Why does it take me so long to read it? I should have read it years ago, and would love it like I love it now.

Much read for all. Especially postmodernists, blank slate believers. You are wrong about human nature and it is good to know what's right. ( )
  XOX | Jul 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
It is breathtaking, rabid stuff. In particular, Pinker's monstering of Marxists and feminists is likely to reduce most university common-rooms to states of gibbering apoplexy. So be it, Pinker will doubtless respond: my only concern is to tell the truth about human nature. The question is: does he actually land any telling punches in the process?
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Don, Judy, Leda, and John
First words
"Not another book on nature and nurture! Are there really people out there who still believe that the mind is a blank slate?"


Everyone has a theory of human nature.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142003344, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:57 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. He shows how many intellectuals have denied the existence of human nature by embracing three linked dogmas: the Blank Slate (the mind has no innate traits), the Noble Savage (people are born good and corrupted by society), and the Ghost in the Machine (each of us has a soul that makes choices free from biology). Each dogma carries a moral burden, so their defenders have engaged in desperate tactics to discredit the scientists who are now challenging them." "Pinker injects calm and rationality into these debates by showing that equality, progress, responsibility, and purpose have nothing to fear from discoveries about a rich human nature. He disarms even the most menacing threats with clear thinking, common sense, and pertinent facts from science and history. Despite its popularity among intellectuals during much of the twentieth century, he argues, the doctrine of the Blank Slate may have done more harm than good. It denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces hardheaded analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of government, violence, parenting, and the arts." "Pinker shows that an acknowledgement of human nature that is grounded in science and common sense, far from being dangerous, can complement insights about the human condition made by millennia of artists and philosophers. All this is done in the style that earned his previous books many prizes and worldwide acclaim: wit, lucidity, and insight into matters great and small."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
209 wanted
1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.07)
1 7
1.5 1
2 20
2.5 7
3 81
3.5 25
4 187
4.5 26
5 195

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 114,493,727 books! | Top bar: Always visible