P&P Live! Steven Pinker—RATIONALITY - with Dacher Keltner

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Sunday, October 3, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

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Today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding–and also appears to be losing its mind. How can  a species that developed vaccines for Covid-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing?

Steven Pinker rejects the cynical cliché that humans are simply irrational–cavemen out of time saddled with biases, fallacies, and illusions. After all, we discovered the laws of nature, lengthened and enriched our lives, and set out the benchmarks for rationality itself. We actually think in ways that are sensible in the low-tech contexts in which we spend most of our lives, but fail to take advantage of the powerful tools of reasoning we’ve discovered over the millennia: logic, critical thinking, probability, correlation and causation, and optimal ways to update beliefs and commit to choices individually and with others. These tools are not a standard part of our education, and have never been presented clearly and entertainingly in a single book–until now.

Rationality also explores its opposite: how the rational pursuit of self-interest, sectarian solidarity, and uplifting mythology can add up to crippling irrationality in a society. Collective rationality depends on norms that are explicitly designed to promote objectivity and truth.

Rationality matters. It leads to better choices in our lives and in the public sphere, and is the ultimate driver of social justice and moral progress. Brimming with Pinker’s customary insight and humor, Rationality will enlighten, inspire, and empower.

Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. He grew up in Montreal and earned his BA from McGill and his PhD from Harvard. Currently the Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has also taught at Stanford and MIT. He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style, and Enlightenment Now. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Humanist of the Year, a recipient of nine honorary doctorates, and one of Foreign Policy’s “World’s Top 100 Public  Intellectuals” and Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” He was Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and writes frequently for the New York Times, the Guardian, and other publications.

Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., is the founding director of the Greater Good Science Center and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dacher is the host of the Greater Good Science Center’s award-winning podcast, The Science of Happiness and is a co-instructor of the GGSC’s popular online course of the same name. He is also the best-selling author of The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence and Born to Be Good, and a co-editor of The Compassionate Instinct.

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Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780525561996
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Viking - September 28th, 2021

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