The Blank Slate

  • by Steven Pinker
  • Narrated by Victor Bevine
  • 22 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading experts on language and the mind, explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits - a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century - denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts.
Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.
NOTE: Some changes to the original text have been made with the author's approval.

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What the Critics Say

"[P]ersuasive and illuminating." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Don't bother. Outdated science & poor logic...

This book is an emotionally charged mess. It was also published in 2002 and has become obsolete by new findings in neuroscience. Don't even bother.

Its hostile angry tone, a juvenile use of belittling language, and a full array of annoying logic that runs in circles would be enough to cause frustration. When you add to that a continuous misunderstanding of the latest findings of science and the arrogance to divine the future of science as well, it becomes unbearable.

Also, the book is about the classic "nature vs nurture" argument and he spends the majority of the time fighting and belittling an extreme "Nurture" stance that no one believes in anyway. This stance makes his arguments out of touch with the reader, who is left asking him to move on. But Steven is stuck. It feels like someone with an emotional grudge, always making one more point, and misinterpreting the other side at every turn. The number of straw man fallacies and other spin tactics that are present here are simply too many to count.
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- ejf211 "efern211"

The Blank Slate

I sometimes find a book that is so eloquently written, I enjoy reading it even if the concepts are too far beyond me to fully comprehend what the words are trying to tell me. This could be that kind of book except that also it is so clearly written, I may actually understand what the author was trying to convey. It is one thing to be a language expert and quite another to be a great author. I think that this book proves Pinker to be both.
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- Robert "Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-01-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios