The Enlightenment may seem an ambitious topic for a cognitive psychologist to take up from scratch. Numerous historians have dedicated entire careers to it, and there remains a considerable diversity of opinion about what it was and what its impact has been. But from this and previous work we get intimations of why Pinker thinks he is the person for the job. Historians have laboured under the misapprehension that the key figures of the Enlightenment were mostly philosophers of one stripe or another. Pinker has made the anachronistic determination that, in fact, they were all really- indeed, "cognitive neuroscientists" and "evolutionary psychologists."In short, he thinks that they are people like him and that he is thus possessed of privileged insights into their thought denied to mere historians. The latter must resort to careful reading and fraught interpretationof being able directly to channel what Enlightenment thinkers really thought.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
… The Enlightenment of Steven Pinker – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).