Democracy: Democracy is taking over the world (that is, democratic republics, as opposed to authoritarian regimes). It argues that the Enlightenment values of reason, science, and humanism have brought progress; shows our progress with data that health, prosperity, safety, peace, and happiness have tended to rise worldwide; and explains the cognitive science of why this progress should be appreciated. The What Is Enlightenment? Gray also argued that Pinker had misunderstood Friedrich Nietzsche. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more. Deaths from motor vehicle accidents alone are down 24 times since 1921; pedestrian deaths and plane crashes are also down. We also need to rededicate ourselves to reason, science and humanism. Reason, he points out, is fundamental, and anyone who opposes it is, by definition, unreasonable. Another scientist, economist Adolph Wagner, found more evidence to prove this point. On Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker - Chapter 4: Life. Against what exactly? Western countries pulled away from the rest first, starting in the 18th century, in what is known as the Great Escape (from the Malthusian trap). And as a result of economic progress and better technology, people are doing more travel (including international travel), eating more varied and interesting diets, and have much greater access to the knowledge of the world. 508 likes. Child mortality and maternal mortality in particular have been drastically reduced: “for an American woman, being pregnant a century ago was almost as dangerous as having breast cancer today.”. Loading... Unsubscribe from bestbookbits? In his new book, Pinker points out that the slow creep of progress is not as newsworthy as, say, an earthquake or an explosion. Overall he calls for better education and training on critical reasoning and cognitive debiasing, a more empirical approach to prediction, and the depoliticization of issues as much as possible. Progress is central to Pinker’s argument: it is the proof that the Enlightenment is working. Steven Pinker: Enlightenment Now Book Summary bestbookbits. First, he distinguishes between the “quasi-religious ideology” of “greenism”, and a view which may be called “ecomodernism”, “ecopragmatism”, “Enlightenment environmentalism”, or “humanistic environmentalism”.  Pinker expresses concerns about potential human extinction from nuclear weapons or from global warming, but categorizes existential risks overall as a "useless category", stating that "Sowing fear about hypothetical disasters, far from safeguarding the future of humanity, can endanger it". Gates stated he agreed overall with the techno-optimism of the book, but cautioned that Pinker is too "quick to dismiss" the idea that artificial superintelligence could someday lead to human extinction. Knowledge: Around the world, children are going to school longer, and literacy is on the rise. Patreon • As a result, people report more hours of leisure, and more are retiring in old age. Four themes tie them together: reason, science, humanism, and progress. Publishers Weekly gave the book a glowing review, concluding that "In an era of increasingly 'dystopian rhetoric,' Pinker’s sober, lucid, and meticulously researched vision of human progress is heartening and important." The world has never been better, implies Steven Pinker, and it will keep getting better, if … Posts • Safety: Deaths from virtually all kinds of accidents have drastically fallen. Rather than what the holy scriptures or despotic patriarchs say, only reason can explain what is … And the extra food isn’t all going to the wealthy; measures of stunted growth and undernourishment are declining in some of the world’s poorest regions, and worldwide deaths from famine are also down. ... all resting on the assumption that life is best endowed with meaning if only we remember our Enlightenment ideals. What does this ZIP Reads Summary Include? Having thus made the case for progress, Pinker returns to the ideas that provided its foundation, which he identifies as key themes of the Enlightenment, and calls for these ideas to be strengthened and defended against counter-Enlightenment movements in the culture. And he calls for science and the humanities to be more integrated, to the benefit of both, rather than seeing themselves as being at odds or in competition. £25, hardcover", "Unenlightened thinking: Steven Pinker's embarrassing new book is a feeble sermon for rattled liberals", "H-Diplo Commentary 1 on Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress", "Pinker's Pollyannish Philosophy and Its Perfidious Politics", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Enlightenment_Now&oldid=990829007, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 26 November 2020, at 18:58. CC BY-ND 4.0. In particular, Pinker departs from scholars such as Nick Bostrom regarding the possibility of accidental existential risk from artificial general intelligence, and makes a controversial reductio ad absurdum argument that self-driving cars provide evidence that artificial general intelligence will pose no accidental existential risk. Science is distinguished from reason in general by two ideals: that the world is intelligible, and that observation and evidence are the basis of understanding it (the latter is my formulation, he says “we must allow the world to tell us whether our ideas about it are correct”). He sets out 15 different measures of human wellbeing to support this argument, with the most obvious being the uncontroversial fact that, statistically, people live longer and healthier lives on average than ever before. ", ENLIGHTENMENT NOW: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, The Secret behind One of the Greatest Success Stories in All of History, "Bill Gates' new 'favorite book of all time'—and how you can download a free chapter", "Bill Gates has just read his "favorite book of all time, "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress", "Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker — don’t believe the false doom-mongers", "Steven Pinker Continues to See the Glass Half Full", "The limitations of Steven Pinker's optimism", "Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker - review: 'The human condition is a little more complex than Mr Cheerful makes out'", "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress. Booklist stated that "(Pinker's) seemingly casual dismissal of ethics concerns surrounding the Tuskegee experiment is troubling to say the least. 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