Tag Archives | Steven Pinker

The Vindication of Reason

Nathanael Blake invites me to “discuss our differences over a bottle of whiskey and a large stack of books.” I’ll say yes to the whiskey, though I’ll have a few additions of my own to make to his list of books. This is his introduction to a case that the Enlightenment ideal of rationality is […]

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Making the “Miracle”

Several recent books on the Enlightenment have sought to celebrate its legacy but have been strangely cursory in their examination of actual Enlightenment thinkers, their ideas, and their influence, sometimes treating the embrace of reason, individual rights, and political freedom as a “miracle” that seemingly came out of nowhere. If you’re interested in the question […]

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Unfrozen Caveman Intellectual

“There is no God in this book.” So begins Suicide of the West, Jonah Goldberg’s contribution to the recent flurry of discussion about the legacy of the Enlightenment. Unfortunately, there’s not much of the Enlightenment in the book, either. If Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now treated the philosophical movement of the 18th century as if it […]

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How to Defend the Enlightenment Without Really Trying

The Trump era—which has been characterized by a rise of anti-intellectualism, the ideological muddling of the right, and a swerve toward illiberalism on both sides of the political debate—has, by way of compensation, also produced a mini-revival of interest and debate about the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment. One of the most prominent entries in […]

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“If You Want to Be Stupid, I Can Be Stupid as Well”

Five Things You Need to Read Today 1. He Who Lives by the Federal Waiver Dies by the Federal Waiver The one really clear achievement of the Trump administration has been its anti-regulatory campaign, particularly its stunning reversal of policy at the EPA. I would like to see more of this made permanent by congressional […]

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Five Things You Need to Read Today

Here’s your weekly update, for subscribers only, drawing your attention to five stories that are worth catching. Today, the main theme is the search for political ideas. Any ideas. 1. “I Need Wider Powers” I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting on the news for the past week, but the Tracinski household was hit by the […]

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