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. Everyone who cares about the big issues of human life, society, politics and culture should read it. , Some reviewers disagreed with Pinker's quantitative approach to assessing progress. ", In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Stanford University historian Jessica Riskin summarizes the book as "a knot of Orwellian contradictions". His explosive understanding toward social science and political empathy will appeal to all big thinkers and affirmative readers alike. xvii, 556. It’s a long summary, but the book deserves it. Also down: hate crimes, rape / domestic violence, and child abuse / bullying. Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. The weakest aspect of the book, to me, is its morality. He defends science against claims that it is to blame for problems such as racism or eugenics. Deaths have decreased from falls, fire, drowning, you name it. Enlightenment Now Summary Kuznets Curve. We need to counter this with careful analysis of the data. In his new book, Pinker points out that the slow creep of progress is not as newsworthy as, say, an earthquake or an explosion. Loading... Unsubscribe from bestbookbits? And violent crime has been reduced as well. In contrast, critics point out that science lacks any ethical logic of its own. 11 min read. Another obstacle to a rational society is that many people drop reason when it comes to political issues, professing beliefs not as an honest assessment of truth but as an act of allegiance or loyalty to an ideology or tribe. In my opinion, Enlightenment Now is just what the world needs right now. What follows is a summary plus a few thoughts of my own. In my opinion, Enlightenment Now is just what the world needs right now. Four themes tie them together: reason, science, humanism, and progress. It clashes, however, with two alternatives. Gray also argued that Pinker had misunderstood Friedrich Nietzsche. With the caveat that we cannot prophesy the future, Pinker concludes that there are real threats, but that they are overhyped; some damage is possible, but the threat of extinction is very small. Reason, he points out, is fundamental, and anyone who opposes it is, by definition, unreasonable. Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. Women are closing the education gap with men, as more cultures decide to educate their girls. Scientists working on the Manhattan Project to develop the first nuclear weapons did so because they needed to beat Hitler; Pinker states "Quite possibly, had there been no Nazis, there would be no nukes." The belief that the world is corrupt and in decline motivates a desire for violent revolution and upheaval: smash the system, burn it all down, because nothing could be worse than what we have. About • The Age of Enlightenment was an important time in the history of the world and modern western societies. Pp. Booklist, (9-10). £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. London: Allen Lane, 2018. Deaths from motor vehicle accidents alone are down 24 times since 1921; pedestrian deaths and plane crashes are also down. It may be cast as a stirring narrative, and I hope that people with more artistic flair and rhetorical power than I can tell it better and spread it farther.” I hope they do, as well. @rootsofprogress, March 11, 2018 Patreon •  British philosopher John Gray criticized Pinker as promoting scientism and discussed historical examples of strong desire for human progress leading to the misuse of science for immoral policies. Ecomodernism focuses on the benefits that technology provides for humanity, and seeks to use technology itself to reduce environmental harm, while recognizing that some level of pollution is necessary and acceptable. After suffering setbacks from socialist regimes in the mid-20th century, it is rebounding, with the defeat of Nazism followed by the fall of Communism. The weakest aspect of … The What Is Enlightenment? , In January 2018 Bill Gates tweeted praise for Enlightenment Now, calling it "my new favorite book". Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, theme list, historical context, author biography and quizzes written by … One is theistic morality, which Pinker argues against on the grounds that God does not exist, and that even if he did, he would not be a better source of morality than reason. , 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. I don’t agree with every word of it, but I agree with its theme and essence. To show evidence about progress after the Enlightenment, Steven Pinker starts off with describing the increase of life expectancy during the last couple of centuries. Steven Pinker: Enlightenment Now Book Summary bestbookbits. 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.”. Logic shows us that there are indisputable things in the world. 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. Against what exactly? Even IQ scores are increasing (a phenomenon known as the Flynn Effect), likely as a result of the spread of education. And he notes that many measures of environmental harm are on the decline, including pollution, deforestation, and oil spills. But overall, this is a great book, full of profound truths, meticulously researched, lucidly argued, and entertainingly written. Two-thirds of the world’s population now lives in “free or relatively free societies”, vs. one percent in 1816 (according to projects that track this sort of thing, such as the Polity Project). But aren’t we destroying the environment? Deaths are down from both battles and genocide. Citing reader interest due to Gates' endorsement, Viking Press moved the publication date from 27 February 2018 to 13 February 2018.  As in Pinker's previous The Better Angels of Our Nature, Pinker ascribes modern improvements to trends of liberal humanism and scientific rationality that first took root in Europe around the 17th and 18th centuries. Equal rights: Racist, sexist, and anti-homosexual opinions are on the decline; “emancipative values” (such as freedom, autonomy and individuality) are growing more popular. And closely related, Pinker falls short of painting a truly inspiring, motivating picture, a heroic ideal to strive for. It is a defense of the ideas and values that have created the modern world, and a defense of that world itself. ... NPR Summary. The Age of Enlightenment, or just the Enlightenment, occurred during the 18th century and is known as a time period of great change and new ideas. He looks at data to show that it is not increasing, and cites studies saying that it is generally not successful: terrorists rarely achieve their strategic goals in the long run. · 20. existential risk from artificial general intelligence, "Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker review – life is getting better", "Steven Pinker: 'The way to deal with pollution is not to rail against consumption, "Could science destroy the world? For instance, the threat of an AI superintelligence or a civilization-ending bio- or cyber-terrorist attack? 1-Sentence-Summary: Enlightenment Now describes how the values of the Enlightenment, science, reason, humanism, and progress, keep improving our world until today, … " The Economist agreed with Pinker that "barring a cataclysmic asteroid strike or nuclear war, it is likely that (the world) will continue to get better".. Democracy: Democracy is taking over the world (that is, democratic republics, as opposed to authoritarian regimes). ", 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. Pinker sees terrorism as a real threat, but a minor one, claiming many fewer lives than battles or even accidents. In Europe, for example, only 1.5% was … Enlightenment Now describes how the values of the Enlightenment, science, reason, humanism, and progress, keep improving our world until today, making it a … He makes this case with dozens of charts and far more data and analysis than a summary can do justice to, much of it sourced from Max Roser’s Our World in Data and similar projects. , The book concludes with three chapters defending what Pinker sees as Enlightenment values: reason, science, and humanism. In contrast, critics hold that enhancing social mobility and combating "inequality as a result of unfairness" are important legitimate ends in and of themselves, beyond any effects of reducing poverty. But a clear and consistent theme of the book is that all of this progress, all these positive trends, are not automatic and must not be taken for granted. Enlightenment Now (2018) describes how the values of the Enlightenment, such as science, reason, and humanism, have led to constant progress since their inception. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature—tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking—which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. 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. CC BY-ND 4.0. Daily we will be posting 3 videos,just by simply watching them you will expirience enlightenment now! Interviews • In Skeptical Inquirer Kendrick Frazier concurs that Pinker "argues [his] case eloquently and ... effectively, drawing on both the demographic data and our improved understanding of human biases that get in our way of seeing the truth. When I began this project a year ago, I had no idea that someone was already working on a well-researched but popular book on a theme very close to the central idea of this blog. Wealth: Gross World Product was stagnant or slowly growing for most of human history, but it has grown “almost two hundredfold from the start of the Enlightenment in the 18th century.” And again, the increases are not only seen in a minority of the world. It is a follow-up to Pinker's 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature. ", Political scientist Nicolas Guilhot sharply criticizes the book for what he sees as "finessed statistics" marshaled in service of preconceived conclusions, and for being "one inch deep". In Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that the best tools we have come from the 18th century ideals of reason, science, progress and humanism, and we can leverage them in very 21st century ways by using data to tell the story of our modern world. Some rights reserved: It’s like Better Angels on steroids. 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. It is a defense of the ideas and values that have created the modern world, and a defense of that world itself. It is neither utilitarian (although he admits it has that flavor) nor deontological. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. 508 likes. If you've been feeling like the world has been getting worse off, that violence is on the rise, or that humanity has already "peaked" then this book will challenge everything you've been feeli… By Steven Pinker. On Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker - Chapter 4: Life. , The New York Times described the book as "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. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature–tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking–which demagogues are all … Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress - A Complete Summary Steven Pinker outlined the main reasons why he has taken up such a large task: Enlightenment ideals are worth discussing even today. What does this ZIP Reads Summary Include? Enlightenment now. She concludes, "What we need in this time of political, environmental, and cultural crisis is precisely the value Pinker rejects but that his Enlightenment heroes embraced, whatever their differences of opinion on other matters: skepticism, and an attendant spirit of informed criticism.". With more data since then and better analysis, we can see that it doesn’t hold up, indicating that happiness is more closely tied to objective well-being than we might have feared. Pinker’s response here is insightful and nuanced. As another example, while fears of terrorism are often voiced in U.S. opinion polls, Pinker shows that an American is 3,000 times more likely to die in an accident than in a terrorist attack. The fall of Communism was also significant, since “of the seventy million people who died in major 20th-century famines, 80 percent were victims of Communist regimes’ forced collectivization, punitive confiscation, and totalitarian central planning.”. Health: The threat of infectious disease has been greatly reduced via sanitization, sterilization, vaccination, antibiotics, and other scientific and medical advances, which together have saved billions of lives. , Pinker argues that economic inequality "is not itself a dimension of human wellbeing" and cites a study that finds inequality is not linked to unhappiness, at least in poorer societies. Booklist stated that "(Pinker's) seemingly casual dismissal of ethics concerns surrounding the Tuskegee experiment is troubling to say the least. But Steven Pinker has set out, first in The Better Angels of Our Nature, and now in Enlightenment Now, to illustrate that there has never been a better time to be a human being. Learning with my hands », Copyright © Jason Crawford.  The Guardian and The Financial Times dismissed Pinker's contention that the left is partly to blame for anti-reason rhetoric and objected to Pinker's criticism of groups such as postmodernists, de-growth environmentalists, and people whom Pinker deems to be "social justice warriors". 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”). The second enemy of humanism is what he calls “romantic heroism”, which is “the ideology behind resurgent authoritarianism, nationalism, populism, reactionary thinking, even fascism” and which he attributes in large part to Nietzsche. But what about the Easterlin paradox? But these ideals are not consistently upheld, and are often under attack. Greenism sees humans as a scourge upon the pristine Earth, pits itself against science and technology, and calls for degrowth and deindustrialization. Along the way, Pinker provides rebuttals for a number of counterarguments to this story of progress: Isn’t all this progress just accruing to the rich and increasing inequality? This has been attributed to the “hedonic treadmill”, in which we reset our expectations at each new level of achievement, thus never getting happier even as our lives get objectively better; and to social-comparison theories of happiness, in which our happiness is based on comparing our situation to others’. I’ve recently finished it, and I recommend it to everyone. Going back to the data, he concludes that long-term trends are working against both theism and authoritarian populism. 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). John P. Tang, writing in The Journal of Economic History, stated that Pinker demonstrates that "humanity has never had it so good, things until recently were much worse, and life will likely continue to improve." The message of this book is that reason, science and humanism—which Pinker identifies as the key themes of the Enlightenment—have, historically, led to massive progress in almost every area of life, and that they are our best means of continuing this progress into the future. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, « Primitive thought Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. Progress is central to Pinker’s argument: it is the proof that the Enlightenment is working. Enlightenment Now illustrates Pinker's practical yet tangible style, but is freshly positive as well. Buy Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Pinker, Steven (ISBN: 9780525427575) from Amazon's Book Store. Humanism, finally, is “the goal of maximizing human flourishing—life, health, happiness, freedom, knowledge, love, richness of experience.” It is a non-religious basis for ethics. Today, people have access to, on average, over 2,500 calories per day (including an average of 2,400 in India, 2,600 in Africa, and 3,100 in China). Zamów dostawę do dowolnego salonu i zapłać przy odbiorze! Some argue that the existence of cognitive biases, such as those popularized by Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, prove that humans are irrational (“predictably irrational”, even). 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. Przeczytaj recenzję Enlightenment Now. Enlightenment Now NPR coverage of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker. He critiqued the book for its reliance on utilitarianism due to its practical difficulties, and for not convincingly demonstrating that it was the Enlightenment that caused the trends Pinker identifies. ... Enlightenment Now: The Future of Progress with Steven Pinker - Duration: 56:13. War between great powers has not occurred since World War 2, and the wars that rage today cover less of the world than in the past. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The result is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better. For example, it is clear to Pinker that an innovation that makes the poor slightly richer and the rich massively richer is a positive rather than a negative achievement. His message is not “don’t worry everybody, sit back and relax,” but rather: “let’s do more of what’s working (and not start going in reverse).” To do that, we need to not only keep researching, inventing and building. She states that Pinker believes that skepticism is a negative influence on society, and objects that the very Enlightenment heroes Pinker praises, such as Immanuel Kant, David Hume, Denis Diderot and Adam Smith, were all advocates of skepticism. However, the Easterlin paradox was proposed in 1973. Thus, the bulk of the book is devoted to an empirical analysis of human progress along several dimensions—practical, intellectual and moral—including: Life: Life expectancy is up, from a world average of less than 30 years in the mid-18th century to over 70 years today; and the increases are seen by all age groups and all continents. 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. Posts • The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature - tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking - which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. The theme of Enlightenment Now is contained in its subtitle: it is that reason, science and humanism lead to progress. Rather than what the holy scriptures or despotic patriarchs say, only reason can explain what is … Technology was critical in this achievement: mechanization of farming, synthetic fertilizer (thanks especially to the Haber-Bosch process), better crop varieties (thanks to Norman Borlaug and his Green Revolution), and now genetic engineering. ENLIGHTENMENT NOW THE CASE FOR REASON, SCIENCE, HUMANISM, AND PROGRESS. Even natural disasters kill fewer people than they used to, as better technology and practices make us safer from everything from earthquakes to lightning strikes. PLEASE NOTE: This is a summary and analysis of the book and not the original book. The foremost Enlightenment principle is the primacy of reason as an avenue for understanding the world and human life and for rejecting religious dogma and faith. 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