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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker at Abbey's Bookshop,

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Steven Pinker


9780241337011

Allen Lane


Philosophy;
Ethics & moral philosophy;
Social & political philosophy;
Philosophy of science


Paperback

256 pages

$35.00
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An epic assessment of the current human condition, from one of the world's greatest contemporary thinkers.

If you follow the news, the 21st century doesn't seem to be going so well. From 9/11 to the Great Recession, the Syrian civil war, the Ebola epidemic, growing inequality, racial unrest, and bitterly contested elections, the world seems to be sinking into chaos and hatred. Moralizing commentators tell us that the decline of religious belief and close-knit communities has left us spiritually adrift, without a grounding in moral values, so it's no wonder we're suffering through an epidemic of loneliness, unhappiness, and suicide. And then there are the futurologists who speculate on what will finish us off first: resource wars, nuclear annihilation, unstoppable climate change, or robots that steal our jobs, enslave us, and turn us into raw materials.

But, as Steven Pinker argues in this landmark new book, we do not truly inhabit a dystopia of deprivation and violence: in fact, every global measure of human flourishing is on the rise. We're living longer, healthier, safer, and more affluent lives-not just in the West, but worldwide. Why?

In Enlightenment Now, Pinker proposes that human progress is the gift of a coherent value system that many of us embrace without even knowing it. The values of the Enlightenment underlie all our modern institutions, and deserve credit for the stupendous progress we have made. The progress we have enjoyed is not, of course, an excuse for complacency: some of the challenges we face today are unprecedented in their complexity and scope.

The way to deal with these challenges, Pinker argues, is to treat them as problems to solve, as we have solved other problems in our past. Putting the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, Pinker shows how, by using our faculties of reason and sympathy to understand the world and to enhance human flourishing, we can tackle problems that inevitably come with being products of evolution in an entropic universe.

By:   Steven Pinker
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 32mm
Weight:   637g
ISBN:   9780241337011
ISBN 10:   0241337011
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   February 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Steven Pinker is one of the world's most influential thinkers and writers on the human condition. His popular and highly praised books include The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style, The Stuff of Thought, The Blank Slate, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct. The recipient of several major awards for his teaching, books, and scientific research, Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He also writes frequently for The New York Times, the Guardian and other publications. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine's The World's Top 100 Public Intellectuals, Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers, and Time magazine's The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.


My new favourite book of all time -- Bill Gates A salutary reminder of the material progress modern science and commerce have delivered * The New York Times * Words can hardly do justice to the superlative range and liveliness of Pinker's investigations * Independent * Pinker is a paragon of exactly the kind of intellectual honesty and courage we need -- David Brooks * The New York Times * If 2017 was a rough year for you, look no further than Steven Pinker's engaging new book, Enlightenment Now, to cheer you up. Conceived before Donald Trump even announced his candidacy, it could not have been better timed to clarify - and, for some, refute - the habits of mind that brought Trump and the GOP to power ... Pinker's gift is to challenge us not only to update the Enlightenment, but to think beyond it * Washington Post * Negative news is one reason why people consistently underestimate the progress humanity is making. To discern the true state of the world, Pinker says, we should use numbers. In Enlightenment Now, he does just that. The result is magnificent, uplifting and makes you want to rush to your laptop and close your Twitter account ... Pinker is surely right. Things are not falling apart. * Economist * A valuable book ... Enlightenment Now can hardly be bettered * Boston Globe * Persuasive... Pinker's book focuses on the Enlightenment as a philosophical perspective, as a distinctive way of looking at the position of individuals within modern society. Enlightenment Now is a spirited defence of the enduring ideals of this tradition * Times Higher Education * A careful and deeply researched piece of work ... Pinker is bravely prepared to be the bearer of good news * Guardian * The most uplifting work of science I've ever read * Science * A highly topical and much-needed book * New Statesman * Pinker is ahead of his critics... [he] is in no way complacent. To accuse him of smugly sipping cocktails at the End of History cafe is simply to ignore his repeated calls to work for the better future that is there for the taking, but also for the losing -- Julian Baggini * Literary Review * In his new book, Enlightenment Now, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker makes a more convincing case for the sciences benefiting the arts * New Scientist * He's one of the most original, agenda-setting writers of our time... his best book yet... this is the biggest story of our time. * Spectator * An excellent book, lucidly written, timely, rich in data and eloquent in its championing of a rational humanism that is - it turns out - really quite cool. * New York Times Book Review * It's easy to feel dour about the future of mankind. But constant, widespread doomsday prophecies are not going to help - it's only going to make matters worse. If every doomsday scenario feels possible, then people are actually disincentivized to take action, says Steven Pinker ... Things like nuclear war and climate change can, with careful and diligent work, be mitigated * CNBC * Pinker has a coherent theory of progress. * Washington Post * Shock therapy for pessimists. * Seattle Times * [Steven Pinker has] become a deep and important critic of the visceral hostility to nature and science now so sadly prevalent on the left and right, a defender of reason and the Enlightenment against the 'social justice' movements on campus, and his new book is a near-relentless defense of modernity. * New York Magazine * [ENLIGHTENMENT NOW] proves that much of the handwringing and doom-saying promulgated in the popular press, academia, and politics can't be justified on the facts. . . it's both a manifesto of ideas that [Bill] Gates himself has espoused through the years, as well as a paean to individuals, like Gates, who have committed their time and money to changing the world for the better. * Inc. * A forceful defense of the democratic, humanist institutions that [Pinker] says brought about these changes, and a declaration that reason, science and humanism can solve the problems to come. * Atlanta Journal-Constitution * Vindication has arrived in the form of Steven Pinker's latest book. ENLIGHTENMENT NOW: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress is remarkable, heart-warming, and long overdue. * Christian Science Monitor * Pinker offers numbers to show that the world has, on the whole, become safer, healthier and wealthier. These benefits are more pronounced in the West, but even in developing countries conditions have improved ... His optimism is resilient * The New York Times * Extremely hopeful... Steven Pinker argues that people are happier, healthier, wealthier, and safer than they've ever been ... we're living in the best moments humans have experienced yet * Business Insider * This broadside against cultural pessimism is brimming with surprising data and entertaining anecdotes ... it makes empirically manifest just how far humanity has come ... A genuinely enlightening book -- Jan-Werner Muller * Financial Times *

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