Here is an interesting critique of Steven Pinker's book Enlightenment Now by Jeremy Lent. Lent writes: "I agree with much of what Pinker has to say" but also "I believe it’s crucially important to take Pinker to task for some dangerously erroneous arguments he makes" and: "It’s precisely because of the validity of much of Pinker’s narrative that the flaws in his argument are so dangerous."
Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why.
It’s time to reclaim the mantle of “Progress” for progressives. By falsely tethering the concept of progress to free market economics and centrist values, Steven Pinker has tried to appropriate a great idea for which he has no rightful claim.
In Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, published earlier this year, Steven Pinker argues that the human race has never had it so good as a result of values he attributes to the European Enlightenment of the 18th century. He berates those who focus on what is wrong with the world’s current condition as pessimists who only help to incite regressive reactionaries. Instead, he glorifies the dominant neoliberal, technocratic approach to solving the world’s problems as the only one that has worked in the past and will continue to lead humanity on its current triumphant path.
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May 21, 2018
May 10, 2018
February 14, 2018
Enlightenment Now, I came across a new word: progressphobia. The book is a fervent plea for four central Enlightenment-ideas: reason, science, humanism, and progress. Pinker argues that the combination of these ideas means that humanity, through a greater understanding of reality, due to science, and an increasing circle of sympathy, caused by cosmopolitanism and reason, can make intellectual and moral progress. The aim of Enlightenment-thinkers was not so much to change human nature but to build institutions which would bring out the best sides of human nature. According to Pinker, these ideas need to be defended more than ever.
January 31, 2018
intervision. His case was that he had recently found out that his mother, who lived quite far away from him, had dementia. He wanted to get some tips from the other participants about how he could deal as effectively as possible with this challenging situation. What he hoped to find was a way of dealing with the situation in which he could help his mother as much as possible while also keeping on taking good care of himself. During the exercise he received many compliments and tips. The exercise was both useful to him and to the other participants.
January 30, 2018
I think Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels of our Nature was a fantastic book and I am very curious about his new book Enlightenment now. The book argues that, while many people are pessimistic, the world is actually getting better in countless ways. The book also argues for Enlightenment values such as reason and humanity. While I am all for Enlightenment values, I am curious how convincingly Pinker shows the causal relation between the adoption of Enlightenment values and progress. So far, I have mainly heard him argue that there is much progress. I have not heard him explain clearly that this progress is caused by Enlightenment values.
January 28, 2018
radical church community and how she gradually got into contact with people thought differently. She explains how she freed herself from that community and what she has learned from this experience.
January 19, 2018
January 18, 2018
Halperin et al. (2011)A study by Halperin et al (2011) showed that teaching people that groups are capable of change and improvement) can lead to short-term improvements in intergroup attitudes and willingness to make concessions in intractable conflicts. Using a nationwide sample (N = 500) of Israeli Jews, their first study showed that a belief that groups were malleable predicted positive attitudes toward Palestinians, which in turn predicted willingness to compromise. In the remaining three studies, experimentally inducing malleable versus fixed beliefs about groups among Israeli Jews (N = 76), Palestinian citizens of Israel (N = 59), and Palestinians in the West Bank (N = 53)--without mentioning the adversary--led to more positive attitudes toward the outgroup and, in turn, increased willingness to compromise for peace.
January 14, 2018
Bitcoin. Below I will explain a bit the emergence of this new technology, about what it is, and about why it will probably become very important.
December 5, 2017
Elements from self-determination theory are somewhat known to many people. Particularly, the terms intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are familiar to many people. Also reasonably well-known are the basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Recently someone said to me: "I have heard of several elements of the theory but I find it hard to get a good overview of the it." If you feel the same, the picture below may be useful for you. It is my most recent version of the so-called motivation-continuum. There are many version of this model in circulation and they are all variations on and extension of the original version by Ryan & Deci (2000). In the picture below I show which types of motivation emerge in which contexts, and what their effects are on our behaviors, emotions, and performance (click to enlarge).
November 26, 2017
Psychological Review. In this paper, she presents a new theory about how personality is formed and how both nature and nurture play a role in this. The interesting thing about this theory is that it both establishes connections between old and new theories within psychology and that is brings together separate psychological disciplines. Social psychologists have often been criticized for paying too little attention to theory building and for merely developing fragmentary knowledge. Dweck now comes up with a strong answer to these criticisms in the form of a broad theory which may turn out to explain a broad range of psychological phenomena. This type of theorizing is not only important for social scientists but also for practitioners for whom psychological knowledge is relevant (and who is really excluded from this group?). Good theory can help practitioners deal with problems in more informed, systematic and integrated ways. Below, I will explain what the theory is. Then, I will say a bit more about some of the main parts of the theory.