Steven pinker summary

The Language Instinct Summary & Study Guide

Locke was arguing against the idea that societies should be shaped by divine right or by hereditary rulers; rather, he argued, all people started out equal and free, and should have equal chances to develop their talents.

Inappropriate or excessive blame of parents since if their children do not turn out well this is assumed to be entirely environmentally caused and especially due to the behavior of the parents.

The Blank Slate Summary

Take for example, these two words: I think that Pinker presents a compelling case for a language instinct, particularly when you reflect that nearly everyone, in a wide variety of environments, develops a mastery of their native language effortlessly, and can discern fine points of grammar and syntax even without fully realizing it and without knowledge of syntactic trees, etc.

Even if rape or cheating could be shown to be biologically natural, the acts would still be immoral. One of the important features of language is a flexible combinatorial grammar.

He stresses that "The decline, to be sure, has not been smooth; it has not brought violence down to zero; and it is not guaranteed to continue. In an earlier work Pinker characterized the general misunderstanding concerning Hobbes: The body is a machine and acts according to physical laws of electricity or chemistry.

Children learn to speak without formal education or the knowledge of all the underlying facts and rules that apply to language. It is the output of several psychological systems that differ in their environmental triggers, their internal logic, their neurological basis, and their social distribution.

Pinker believes that the greatest motivation for those who deny the existence of a universal human nature is well-intentioned fear. The third area of evidence for the language instinct are language impairments that are due to injury aphasia or developmental disabilities specific learning impairments where individuals may be unable to use or comprehend certain types of grammar, but seem otherwise to have normal intelligence.

The postwar period has seen, Pinker argues, "a growing revulsion against aggression on smaller scales, including violence against ethnic minorities, women, children, homosexuals, and animals. The decline in violence, he argues, is enormous in magnitude, visible on both long and short time scales, and found in many domains, including military conflict, homicide, genocide, torture, criminal justice, and treatment of children, homosexuals, animals and racial and ethnic minorities.

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Summary[ edit ] Pinker argues that modern science has challenged three "linked dogmas" that constitute the dominant view of human nature in intellectual life: But upon rational analysis, the conventions of slang have definite meanings and rules of usage. There are clearly some developmental periods where learning a native language is easy, and nearly all humans, regardless of IQ, socio-economic status, or parental rearing philosophy pick up their native language fluently.

I won't say it is better than The Language Instinct or How the Mind Works, but it is as good—which is very high praise indeed. Pinker points out hypocrisy and errors in the writings of other scientists, including James Watson, Richard Lewontin, and the late Stephen Jay Gould.

Wilson in the Wall Street Journal comes to mindvirtually everyone else either raves about the book or expresses something close to ad hominem contempt and loathing According to this theory, there is such a thing as human nature, an innate universal personality.

Men and women are genetically different and difference in abilities can be attributed in general terms to the sexes—it can be said that men are better at solving word problems and women are better spellers—but even the casual nonscientific observer knows that some women are better than some men at word problems, and some men spell well.

A related idea is the notion of the noble savage, a term that comes from a seventeenth century poem by John Dryden I should mention, however, that the idea of a biological language instinct is controversial in the field of linguistics, and some linguists advocate the view that we acquire language through a general-purpose learning mechanism powered by a flexible intelligence.

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Language is something most of us take for granted and is much more complex than we realize. The Better Angels Of Our Nature summary shows why strong ideologies drive violence, how the Flynn effect combats this & what printing presses did for peace.

Steven Pinker is a professor of psychology at Harvard, specializing in cognitive science. He’s done a lot of research about visual perception and the development as well as usage of. Pinker's presents the big picture of human progress: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie.

Steven Pinker is a psychology professor at Harvard University. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language earned prizes from the National Academy of Sciences and the American Psychological Association, which gave The Blank Slate two major book awards.

With The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, Steven Pinker picks up an idea he began to describe in The Language Instinct () and How the Mind Works (): that there is a set of. The Better Angels Of Our Nature summary shows why strong ideologies drive violence, how the Flynn effect combats this & what printing presses did for peace.

Steven Pinker is a professor of psychology at Harvard, specializing in cognitive science. He’s done a lot of research about visual perception and the development as well as usage of.

Steven Pinker is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. Best known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind, he is currently Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.

Steven pinker summary
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The Language Instinct Summary - Steven Pinker | PDF & Audiobook