While one does only expect a fairly superficial overview in a work of this length, the production of this item includes highly artificial and difficult to understand accents--German, French and British, depending upon who is being quoted--for quoted material. The accents of the voices makes it hard to grasp at times, what the intent/content is.
This is a very interesting review of the relevant philosophic background to contemporary thought. And, very convincing regarding the existence of an evolutionarily based human nature. Pinker, however, because he focuses on the individual as rational agent, is dismissive of the function of society in forming thought. Thus, despite his attempts at political balance, the work is fundamentally conservative in nature. This becomes particularly evident in the final section on art, where the limits of his approach lead to over-reaching. He reduces art to nothing more than its commercial function, that is, how it appeals to consumers. At the same time he is disparaging of the intent of artists to transform the way people see their world, effectively ridiculing this as simply another form of self-promotion.
Although clearly of good personal intents, that is, for example, he rejects older versions of the human nature idea that were used to support racism, by obscuring the formative function of society, this tends of suppress criticism of the social order per se. Good as far as it goes, but needs to be balanced by more socio-politically oriented theory as well.
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