Aspects of Life of Steven Pinker
He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his nine books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style.
He has been named Humanist of the Year, Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” Prof. Pinker is currently doing research on a diverse array of topics in psychology, including the role of common knowledge (where two or more people know that the others know what they know) in language and other social phenomena; historical and recent trends in violence and their explanation; the psycholinguistics of good writing; the nature of the critical period for acquiring language; the neurobiology and genetics of language; and the nature of regular and irregular phenomena in grammar.
The lasting influence of these ideas (and his own work and reputation) is that people perceive Pinker as propounding dangerous ideas that fuel bigotry (Brockman 2006). However bigotry isn’t created by the influence of one scientist. Pinker’s work may be used as evidence to support existing bigotry but support is not the same as initiation.
One reason for that, he thinks, is simply that it’s more enjoyable to take shots at the guy writing popular books than to praise him, and he cites a study that suggests reviewers who pan books are considered more intelligent.
Appleyard, B. 2007, Steven Pinker knows what’s going on inside your head, October 14th 2007, The Times, London.
Brockman, J. 2006, 01/01/2006-last update, Edge: The World Question Centre 2006 [Homepage of The Edge], [Online].
Quixote, D. 2006, July 4th 2006-last update, 10 questions for Steven Pinker [Homepage of Gene Expression], [Online].