The world is getting better all the time: Headspace #23 with Steven Pinker and Philip Ball
In this week’s podcast, our guests discuss the central argument of Pinker’s new book
Prospect Editor Tom Clark sits down with Steven Pinker, the Harvard scientist, to discuss his new book on the Enlightenment and how that period in the development of human thought continues to shape our world.
The ideals of reason and tolerance are winning out, Pinker says, and the result is immense material progress. Things are quite simply getting better all the time—contrary to popular belief.
That’s the argument. But is the division of history into pre- and post-Enlightenment as clear-cut as his book suggests? And really, was the Enlightenment quite as enlightened as we might think? Sameer Rahim, Prospect’s Arts and Books Editor and Philip Ball, the science writer and Prospect contributor, also give their thoughts.
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Further reading: Philip Ball reviews Enlightenment Now: A Manifesto for Science, Reason, Humanism and Progress
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