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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason,…
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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (original 2018; edition 2019)

by Steven Pinker (Author)

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9122615,585 (4.26)12
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data. In seventy-five graphs, 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 not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing. Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature -- tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking -- which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation. Pinker makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.… (more)
Member:gregvogl
Title:Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
Authors:Steven Pinker (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2019), Edition: Reprint, 576 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:science, technology, philosophy

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker (2018)

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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Steven Pinker has long been my favorite writer/thinker, but I can't second Bill Gates claim that this is "my new favorite book of all time". Although, as with all of his books, this is well-written and witty, I found little that was really new.

If you’ve already read The Rational Optimist, skip all of Part 2. There-- I just saved you 450 out of 650 pages. You’re welcome.

The meat of his argument is in Part 3, but mostly it's a repetition of a simplistic "science is rational is good", with little attention paid to the serious counterarguments for the existence of a transcendent. What is quality? What does it mean for a story to be "true"? These are very difficult philosophical questions, discussed by very intelligent people who have disagreed with Pinker's simplistic conclusion, yet he never confronts them.

Sorry Bill, this book just isn't up to the standard of originality and philosophical depth of The Blank Slate ( )
  richardSprague | Mar 22, 2020 |
I loved this book but because of the interconnected nature of the topics it would end up repeating itself a lot. It would've been better to either separate this book into 2 books, one focused on politics and another on science or make this on 30% shorter. Some chapter were brilliant and others were repetitive and mediocre. ( )
  parzivalTheVirtual | Mar 22, 2020 |
I love and loathe this book all at once. It speaks very powerfully to much of what I feel, and then sometimes seems to get things so staggeringly, simplistically wrong that I want to shout my opinions in the town square.

It will be a while before I can write an even-handed review on this one. ( )
  therebelprince | Dec 14, 2019 |
Le progrès est un legs du siècle des lumières, animé par des idéeaux puissants: la raison, la science et l'humanisme. C'est peutêtre le plus grand succès de l'histoire de l'humanité.
  ACParakou | Nov 29, 2019 |
Whew! I've been reading this book for the past month and I've gotta say that it's been a rollercoaster.

It's a good book. It has a great and inspiring message that tells us the importance of our current society and how we should do everything in our power to remember people of it and to improve it.

The first section of the book is great and really easy to read.

The second section is the longest, I'd say is 75% of this book. It gets tiresome. Nevertheless, all the discussions that are presented in the book are important and can be easily read again.

The third section is as good as the first one, good theoretical stuff.

In the end, I think that my experience reading this book could've been better if I had some more time in my daily routine. I'll definitely come back to some points again. ( )
  melosomelo | Sep 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)

Sixteen years ago, in his book “Blank Slate,” he acknowledged that false conceptions about human nature in unequal societies make it “easy [for the rich] to blame the victim and tolerate inequality.” He allows that if “social status is relative,” then “extreme inequality can make people on the lower rungs of society feel defeated.” He sees real consequences.... But in “Enlightenment Now,” Pinker celebrates inequality as “a harbinger of opportunity.” Observing these differences in his work some 16 years apart, it seems that he has not become the champion of Enlightenment ideas in this respect, but rather has forgotten them without even noticing.
 
Enlightenment Now ... is a dogmatic book that offers an oversimplified, excessively optimistic vision of human history and a starkly technocratic prescription for the human future. It also gives readers the spectacle of a professor at one of the world’s great universities treating serious thinkers with populist contempt. The genre it most closely resembles, with its breezy style, bite-size chapters, and impressive visuals, is not 18th-century philosophie so much as a genre in which Pinker has had copious experience: the TED Talk
added by rybie2 | editThe Nation, David A. Bell (Mar 8, 2018)
 
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Harry Pinker (1928–2015)
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PREFACE

The second half of the second decade of the third millennium would not seem to be an auspicious time to publish a book on the historical sweep of progress and its causes.
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In the course of several decades giving public lectures on language, mind, and human nature, I have been asked some mighty strange questions. [Introduction]
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