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Pinker on the web

So this week we're diving into our unit on the politics of human nature with Steven Pinker's Blank Slate. Pinker writes with great clarity and wit, so despite the heavy nature of the material, you should find it quite enjoyable. Fortunately, he's also very much a public intellectual and there are audio and video interviews/lectures with Pinker all over the internet. So if you're more of a visual or auditory learner, or if you simply enjoy the readings and want more, here are some good supplementary resources for you:

  • Pinker lectures on The Blank Slate at MIT - Video

  • Pinker discusses The Blank Slate on NPR's OnPoint - Audio

  • Pinker discusses the sociobiology controversy on the radio show The Connection - Audio

  • Pinker on "The Cognitive Niche" at last month's World Conference on the Future of Science in Venice. Unfortunately, I don't have a direct link to the videos, but edge.org has links if you scroll down a bit. The other lectures are interesting and relevant as well, especially Hauser and Dennett.

  • Pinker interviewed by Robert Wright - Video

  • Pinker lectures on Words and Rules at Princeton - Video (This one is the most unrelated to what we're discussing, but if you're interested in language you might enjoy it.)
Next week we'll be discussing political psychology and one of the people we'll read is George Lakoff. Interestingly, Pinker just wrote a highly critical review of Lakoff's new book in The New Republic, which prompted a reply from Lakoff and a reply to the reply by Pinker. This may or may not be of interest to you now, but maybe next week it will be.