Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker: Rationality Has Made Us Richer, Kinder, and More Free

The Harvard linguist says Enlightenment reasoning and critical thinking are behind massive increases in material and moral progress.


In the controversial yet bestselling books The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now, Harvard linguist Steven Pinker made the case that humanity has been getting richer and less violent over the past two centuries.

In his new book, Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters, he argues that our ability to reason and think critically is central to human flourishing and undergirds our phenomenal material and moral progress since the Enlightenment. Pinker lays out the basic cognitive biases that cloud our thinking and give rise to intensely polarized and tribalistic worldviews that threaten continued advances. And he tells Reason's Nick Gillespie how all of us can become better, sharper thinkers in all aspects of our lives.

Photo: Andrew West CC BY SA 4.0