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Cover for The Blank Slate

The Blank Slate

The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker


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A brilliant inquiry into the origins of human nature from the author of RationalityThe Better Angels of Our Nature, and Enlightenment Now.

"Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read..also highly persuasive." --Time

Updated with a new afterword

One of the world's leading experts on language and the mind  explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts. Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.

Praise For The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

"An extremely good book-clear, well argued, fair, learned, tough, witty, humane, stimulating." (The Washington Post)

 "Pinker makes his main argument persuasively and with great verve...ought to be read by anybody who feels they hav had enough of the nature-nurture rows." (The Economist)

"Stylish...what a superb thinker and writer he is." (Richard Dawkins, TLS)

"Required unanswerable case for accepting that man can be, as he is, both wired and free." (Frederick Raphael, Los Angeles Times)

Penguin Books, 9780142003343, 560pp.

Publication Date: August 26, 2003

About the Author

Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of our Nature,  is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books, he has been named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers.