The Blank Slate
Professor Pinker talked about his book, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, published by Viking. In it, he describes three major theories that have shaped our understanding of human nature, including the idea that the mind is a “blank slate” shaped entirely by external influences. The theory of man as a “noble savage” and the theory that the human mind is independent of the body are also discussed. Professor Pinker argues that these theories are flawed and suggests that there is a genetic basis for human nature that all three theories ignore. He also addresses the backlash, from both the political left and right, to the idea that genes influence human nature and argues that the arguments these critics make are based on non-sequiturs. Professor Pinker took questions from the audience following his presentation. close
People in this video
- Bruce Alberts President National Academy of Sciences
Steven Pinker Professor Massachusetts Institute of Technology->Psychology
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