The Better Angels of Our Nature: A Review

Steven Pinker’s new book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, may strike some readers who are familiar with his earlier work, especially The Language Instinct and The Blank Slate, as something of a departure from his customary nature over nurture biases, inasmuch as it appears to elevate human reason over instinct.  But as I will show below, this may be a misimpression.  Despite its voluminous detailing of human progress over time, Pinker’s penultimate chapters revert to his usual invoking of brain science to support his thesis.  The book is thus a bit of a hybrid.  It is also very long, at 696 pages of text plus extensive endnotes, bibliography, and index.  Written in his jaunty and verbose style, it would have suffered no damage from some judicious pruning.

Click here to read the full review.

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