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The Blank Slate Audiobook

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

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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.

©2003 Steven Pinker; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1549 )
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  •  
    TGPaxton 01-22-17
    TGPaxton 01-22-17 Member Since 2016
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    "OK"

    This book is OK. A little hard to follow for the non-scholar. Worth listening to the whole way through, though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Goldberger 01-17-17 Member Since 2017
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    "The Truth about Nature and Nuture"
    What made the experience of listening to The Blank Slate the most enjoyable?

    The author is an excellent writer and a courageous one as well. Pinker is a Harvard professor who still believes in Veritas. He explains the origin of the belief that the human mind is infinitely pliable and the overwhelming evidence against this belief. The book also makes it clear why this view of human nature continues to have a hold on so many despite the evidence against it and the fact that everyone intuitively knows it is not true.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Blank Slate?

    His explanation of why modern and post-modern art has such snob appeal despite its obvious flaws was a revelation for me.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    His discussion of gender differences in thinking and behavior was refreshingly honest.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It gave me hope that there are still really bright and articulate people out there who care about the truth more than political correctness.


    Any additional comments?

    If you don't believe in he blank slate when you are young then you have no heart; if you don't believe in the role of heredity in shaping variations of human behavior when you are older then you have no brains.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tristan 12-04-16
    Tristan 12-04-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Much broader implications than I was expecting."

    This book is worth the evisceration of the humanities and post-modernism alone. After having participated in Gender Studies debates in which students refused to condemn genital mutilation, it was refreshing to read Pinker attack the foundations of cultural relativism. Same goes for the banality of modern art. Such a solid takedown is not just enlightening; it's straight-up entertaining.

    His central point is solid. The idea that differences between humans can only be explained by culture and upbringing, and not genetics, fails not only the test of science, but also morality. Our respect for the freedom and well-being of others should not be based on fragile assumptions about how the mind works, which may be disproven. We should respect others because we respect others, no matter what neuroscience and genetics may tell us.

    I had no idea how broadly the idea of the blank state has, and continues to, underlie thinking in our society. This book is the antidote to a major problem and I couldn't recommend it enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V 11-17-16
    V 11-17-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Challenging and worthwhile"

    Loved this book! Human nature is a tough endeavor and this book definitely challenges what's often deemed innate and popular dogma. Will be rereading this for sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 11-07-16
    John 11-07-16
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    "Amazing book. Balanced and thorough."

    The book was impressive both for its enlightened ability to cast debates from multiple angles and for the rigorous detail of the evidence from which it casts it's arguments. sheds light in many modern debates, scientific, political and philosophical.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephane United States 11-03-16
    Stephane United States 11-03-16
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    "Masterful"

    Pinker explains life. Very interesting analysis, with a very scientific, prudent and informed approach. Later chapters are a little bit more all over different topics associated with the subject matter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-17-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Even better the second time"

    A deluge of information about himan nature exhaustively analyzed and artfully presented. Instead of laying out both sides of an issue, Pinker lays out all sides of myriad issues dealing with our still limited understanding of human nature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Access 10-04-16
    Access 10-04-16 Member Since 2017
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    "The book has many substance/relevant topics but.."

    The book has many substance/relevant topics but... I am crossed between blaming the reader or the information being presented. The topics are interesting, but the response or arguments and conclusions are as vague as it could possibly be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trivia Guru TEXAS 09-13-16
    Trivia Guru TEXAS 09-13-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Bravo!"

    Outstanding book and very well narrated! I appreciate the fearless confidence with which this book was written.

    Although, I will think of parenting in a completely different way now....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johannes Lindgren 06-01-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Pinker is truly a Master"

    This book explains...

    ... beautiful insights into the mind.
    ... indispensable tools for ethics.
    ... scientifically backed arguments for both politics and economics.
    ... the most common and serious misconceptions of human nature.

    There are some tedious chapters. They can easily be skipped without disturbance occurring later.

    Mr Pinker, Yo da man

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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