An Invitation to Optimism

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker Penguin Random House, 2018, 524 pages, $35 ____________________________________________ This is a terrific book! Steven Pinker, the Harvard cognitive psychologist whose discipline straddles natural and social science, serves us a rich menu of food for thought. He restates the core message of the Enlightenment with passion, facts and clarity: rational action and rule-bound behaviour can—indeed do—improve the human condition.Pinker bases his argument on a dauntingly thorough survey of the analytical and empirical literature to show that the long-term trends in material wellbeing, nutrition, longevity, birth-giving and child mortality,…

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