Enlightenment Now

Enlightenment Now

The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

by Steven Pinker

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 13/02/2018

RRP  $35.00 $27.99

“My new favorite book of all time”- Bill Gates

An epic assessment of the current human condition, from one of the world's greatest contemporary thinkers.

If you follow the news, the 21st century doesn't seem to be going so well. From 9/11 to the Great Recession, the Syrian civil war, the Ebola epidemic, growing inequality, racial unrest, and bitterly contested elections, the world seems to be sinking into chaos and hatred. Moralizing commentators tell us that the decline of religious belief and close-knit communities has left us spiritually adrift, without a grounding in moral values, so it's no wonder we're suffering through an epidemic of loneliness, unhappiness, and suicide. And then there are the futurologists who speculate on what will finish us off first: resource wars, nuclear annihilation, unstoppable climate change, or robots that steal our jobs, enslave us, and turn us into raw materials.

But, as Steven Pinker argues in this landmark new book, we do not truly inhabit a dystopia of deprivation and violence: in fact, every global measure of human flourishing is on the rise. We're living longer, healthier, safer, and more affluent lives-not just in the West, but worldwide. Why?

In Enlightenment Now, Pinker proposes that human progress is the gift of a coherent value system that many of us embrace without even knowing it. The values of the Enlightenment underlie all our modern institutions, and deserve credit for the stupendous progress we have made. The progress we have enjoyed is not, of course, an excuse for complacency: some of the challenges we face today are unprecedented in their complexity and scope.

The way to deal with these challenges, Pinker argues, is to treat them as problems to solve, as we have solved other problems in our past. Putting the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, Pinker shows how, by using our faculties of reason and sympathy to understand the world and to enhance human flourishing, we can tackle problems that inevitably come with being products of evolution in an entropic universe.

Social & political philosophy
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Penguin Books Ltd
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is one of the world's leading authorities on language and the mind. His popular and highly praised books include Words and Rules, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct.

The recipient of several major awards for his teaching and scientific research, Pinker is Peter de Florez professor of psychology in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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