September 24, 2012 | Culture
The Better Angels of Our Nature
Many people likely saw the shootings in Aurora, Colo., earlier this year as another symptom of an increasingly violent world. And yet, there were no violent reprisals in the aftermath, no mobs out for vengeance. Instead there were candle-light vigils and memorial services. In his latest book, cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker explains that despite such acts of violence, we’re actually living in a period of extraordinary peace. Thanks to the spread of government, literacy, trade, and cosmopolitanism, Pinker argues that we’re largely abiding by the better angels of our nature, and he’ll join us on Monday to make his case.
Steven Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time and The New Republic, and is the author of eight books, including The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (P.S.), The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, and most recently The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.