The Blank Slate: A Modern Denial Of Human Nature

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Review of Pinker, S. (2003). The Blank Slate: A Modern Denial of Human Nature, Penguin, London. (Word Count: 1,500) There is no debate as ancient, well known or as controversial in the fields of philosophy, psychology, and science, as that of nature versus nurture. It can be assumed through pure common sense that anyone in this day and age would have already come to the conclusion that human development requires, and is influenced by, the ineraction of both. However, Steven Pinker welcomes the opportunity to once again confront this ongoing, controversial debate in his book entitled “The Blank Slate: A Modern Denial of Human Nature”, as he challenges the reasons why the idea of ‘human nature’ remains unmentionable even in modern day society.…show more content…
The ultimate objective of the book therefore, is to prove that these negative perceptions of human nature are in fact deluded, and that the ‘denial of human nature can be more dangerous than people think’ (p. 139). Throughout the book, Pinker attempts to achieve this objective through the use of twin studies, controversial case studies, and the principles of evolutionary psychology, as well as considering ‘common sense’ based arguments, such as that anyone with more than one child would obviously see that they have different temperaments. However, whether these have been deployed effectively still remains questionable. Pinker demonstrates, in the preface, the dangers of tackling such a controversial issue; through quoting literature that take into account both nature and nurture. ‘The Bell Curve” by Herrnstein, and “A Natural History of Rape” by Thornhill and Palmer, for example, have been branded as notorious in the public, moral and political sense. Pinker’s concerns result from the aggressive responses evident when any biological notions of human nature are

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