• Corpus ID: 18219030

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

  title={The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature},
  author={Steven Pinker},
The blank slate, the noble savage and the ghost in the machine: the official theory silly putty the last wall to fall culture vultures the slate's last stand. Fear and loathing: political scientists the Holy Trinity. Human nature with a human face: the fear of inequality the fear of imperfectability the fear of determinism the fear of nihilism. Know thyself: in touch with reality out of our depths the many roots of our suffering the sanctimonious animal. Hot buttons: politics violence gender… 


Blaming the logic-stricken culture of Western civilization for the bloodshed of World War I, the avant-garde artists of the early twentieth century set out on a quest for alternative cultures. The

I Kill, Therefore I Am: War and Killing as Structures of Human Spirit

This article uncovers the function of war and killing as the primary and primordial formative structure of human spirituality and religious experience. Tracing the representations of war in texts of

Human Nature and the Limits of Blank Slateism

Congratulations, Steven Pinker! Had Darwin ever had such an eloquent bulldog we would all be evolutionists today. Had such intellectual bravery been coupled with such extensive scientific literacy

The Decline of War and Conceptions of Human Nature

: Many observers are skeptical of the evidence that war has declined, because they think that a decline in war requires an unrealistic, romantic theory of human nature. In fact it is compatible with

Humanism: Progressive Philosophy at Odds with Itself

Humanism is a longstanding intellectual tradition dedicated to moral, aesthetic, and social perfectibility. Classical liberalism and modern libertarianism are products of classical humanist thinking;

Thinking in literature: modernism and contemporary neuroscience

Representing mind: the anti-Cartesianism of the novel In The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (2002), Stephen Pinker argues that only a recognition of the truths of the new molecular

Bumps on the Head, Touchstones of Intimacy, and the Vulnerability of the Critic

Warnings about fiction, images, and other artifacts are as ancient as Plato, but they have a particular shape in modernity when, broadly put, the question becomes less if they promote virtue than if

Finding the Right Kind of Awe and Wonder: The Metaphysical Potential of Religion to Ground an Environmental Ethic

This paper argues that an anthropocentric fallacy permeates thinking within both technological and ecological approaches to environmentalism. In consequence, sustainable development is an incoherent

"Strange Fevers, Burning Within": The Neurology of Winesburg, Ohio

Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, a modernist collection of interconnected short stories that critics dismissed as Freudian primitivism, is actually an insightful meditation on the emotional basis

Between the Prophets and Nihilism: Nietzsche Responds to Apocalyptic Thought

Author(s): O'Mara IV, William Edward | Advisor(s): LeVine, Mark A | Abstract: The problem addressed in this study is nihilism. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche traced its origin to the long