Considering the Norway shootings, drug wars in Mexico and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, this era may seem as violent as any. But as Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker argues in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature, this may actually be the most peaceable period in human history.
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Steven Pinker charts the decline of violence from Biblical times to the present, and argues that, though it may seem illogical and even obscene, given Iraq and Darfur, we are living in the most peaceful time in our species’ existence.
Is the world getting less violent? It seems unlikely. But Steven Pinker has amassed empirical evidence to show that it is. In this interview with Nigel Warburton for the Social Science Bites podcast he explains some of the possible causes of this transformation.
A radical re-assessment of human progress from one of the world’s most exciting public thinkers.
In his latest work, Steven Pinker explores the ways in which modernity and its cultural institutions are actually making us better people.
In ‘The Better Angels of our Nature’, Pinker traces a history of progress that reveals the historical circumstances and “civilising forces”, from commerce to cosmopolitanism, that have brought us to the most peaceful era humankind has yet experienced. Join Steven Pinker at the RSA for a fascinating insight into the conditions, norms and policies that combine to engage the "better angels" of human nature - our capacity for co-operation, empathy and altruism.
Speaker: Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and author of ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes’ (Allen Lane, 2011).