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Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker (born September 18, 1954, in Montreal, Canada) is Peter de Florez professor in the Department of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from McGill University in 1976, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Experimental Psychology) from Harvard University in 1979.

Pinker has written about cognitive science and language at every level from the most technical to the approachable level of popular science. He is most noted for his work on how children acquire language and for his furthering of Noam Chomsky's work on language as a basic human instinct.

Books by Steven Pinker

  • Language Learnability and Language Development (1984)
  • Visual Cognition (1985)
  • Connections and Symbols (1988)
  • Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure (1989)
  • Lexical and Conceptual Semantics (1992)
  • The Language Instinct (1994)
  • How the Mind Works (1997)
  • Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language (1999)
  • The Blank Slate: The Denial of Human Nature in Modern Intellectual Life (2002)

The Blank Slate

Pinker is not alone in seeing a complete denial of human nature in the academic left, or arguing that this is harmful. Ehrenreich and McIntosh, for example, suggest that postmodernism is the "new creationism", the newest threat to biology's explanations in terms of evolution. Pinker is often mentioned in the same breath as evolutionary psychologists such as Leda Cosmides[?] and John Tooby[?], and would seem to share their commitment to using Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection as a basis for understanding human behaviour.


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