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

by Steven Pinker

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2,965351,932 (4.06)53
Member:kikollan
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
Rating:****
Tags:essay

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

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker "Psychology 101 for the 1%"

At times the rhetoric soared. I winced at all the self-promotion. He made most sense in his arguments when he reviewed others’ work and quoted some of the outrageous statements of postmodernists. He made a very strong case in this book for materialist realism.

The narrator was Victor Bevine. Excellent delivery, although I played the Audible audiobook at 1.25x.

This is Pinker’s attempt to raise himself up by setting up straw men adapted from the writings of some of the great minds of the 20th Century in psychology and biology and by aligning himself with important intellectuals of a Nativist bent. He is not, however, a strong Nativist, which would be silly (as silly as his favorite linguist, Noam Chompsky, who thinks language grammar emerges from a genetically structured biological gizmo he calls, The LAD [Language Acquisition Devoce]). He praises E.O. Wilsom and Dan Dennett and and Richard Dawkins, who deserve his obescience, and who stand far above him in their translation of biology, cognition, and evolution as is possible. Nevertheless, the book contains, as I said, soaring rhetoric that is musical at times and makes as strong a case for a scientific approach to evaluating public policy as I have ever seen. ( )
  jmulick | Jun 8, 2014 |
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. ( )
  MarkBeronte | Jul 28, 2013 |
Super interesting. I must have used at least seven parts of this book for conversational pieces concerning the nature of learning and other natural aspects of the human mind. In fact, I never realized how pervasive the blank slate ideology was until reading this book, even more so since I am a teacher. Definitely an exposing and thoughtful read. ( )
  TJWilson | Mar 29, 2013 |
Pinker effectively vanquishes the notions of the Noble Savage, the Ghost in the Machine, and the mind as a Blank Slate. Instead, he argues for an innate and universal human nature bestowed upon us by our evolutionary past. This is thought-provoking stuff with implications for our everyday lives, but I can't recommend this book over The Better Angels of our Nature, which mostly obsoletes this one. ( )
  ErlangerFactionless | Feb 16, 2013 |
I was really disappointed by this book. I expected more focus on cognitive science and got an overwrought polemic against views no one actually holds in mainstream science. I think by now we've all agreed that in the "nature vs nurture" debate, no side is totally correct. He spends half the book quoting the likes of Locke and Descartes, debunking ideas like "the noble savage" and "the ghost in the machine". None of which has been seriously defended in the past few decades, so I fail to see how they are "modern" denials of human nature. He spends a good chunk of the first part of the book essentially defending the need for this such a work, which others have done it more effectively and certainly in a far more nuanced manner.

He also has the annoying habit of presenting ridiculous caricatures of those who disagree with his position, even in the slightest. Depicting contrary views as if there can only be one true victor in the nature vs nurture debate, often exaggerating and taking his sources out of context.

Add to that his willfully ignorant diatribe on rape and I was pretty much done with the book. Pinker disagrees with the notion that “rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power,” which on the surface is certainly a claim that needs more nuance. The problem is that just because sexual desire is a biological imperative, the violent disregard for a woman’s bodily autonomy is not. Pinker ignores the role that misogyny and the patriarchy play in our cultural understanding of rape in his excitement to defend its biological roots. He even displays his own ignorance and misogyny when he compares a woman dressing provocatively or drinking at a frat party to leaving the keys on the dashboard of your unlocked car. It reiterates the nonsense idea that women should fear the stranger in the bushes, and that it is up to the woman to protect herself by not wearing revealing clothes or going out at night. He continually calls rapists “losers” and “nobodies” as though rape is a crime only committed by those in the fringes of society, and not powerful, successful people. He apparently ignores the fact that most rape is NOT committed by a stranger, but one the victim knows and trusts.

I was frankly so disgusted by this particular section of the book, I found it hard to finish. Maybe another day. ( )
  rowndincircles | Jul 15, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (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?
 
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"Not another book on nature and nurture! Are there really people out there who still believe that the mind is a blank slate?"
PART I

THE BLANK SLATE, THE NOBLE
SAVAGE, AND THE GHOST
IN THE MACHINE

 
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:22 -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)

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