The long reach of reason – Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein


Now this is interesting, it’s a TED talk, but in a format I’ve never seen before – they have animated it, and also it is a duo, not a single individual.

The TED site describes it as follows

In a time when irrationality seems to rule both politics and culture, has reasoned thinking finally lost its power? Watch as psychologist Steven Pinker is gradually, brilliantly persuaded by philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein that reason is actually the key driver of human moral progress, even if its effect sometimes takes generations to unfold. The dialog was recorded live at TED, and animated, in incredible, often hilarious, detail by Cognitive.

Hey wait a second, I’m not sure that Steven Pinker needs to be actually persuaded that reason is indeed the key driver to our moral progress, so that in itself is also different, because instead of a direct monolog of facts, or a lecture, we are being given a Socratic dialog.

So is this a better way to communicate the idea? Let’s suspend judgement, and have a look …

(It runs for 15 minutes)

It does appear to work quite well.

So who are these Folks?

Linguist Steven Pinker questions the very nature of our thoughts — the way we use words, how we learn, and how we relate to others. In his best-selling books, he has brought sophisticated language analysis to bear on topics of wide general interest. Full bio

Philosopher and writer
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein writes novels and nonfiction that explore questions of philosophy, morality and being. Full bio

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