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Rental Partner: University of Washington Office of Public Lectures presents

Steven Pinker

Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters

Date:
Tuesday, May 14
Time:
6:30 pm PDT

Venue

The Great Hall
1119 Eighth Avenue (enter on Eighth Avenue)
Seattle, 98101 United States
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Organizer

University of Washington Office of Public Lectures

Phone
(206) 543-5900
Email
lectures@uw.edu
View Organizer Website

A livestream of this event is also available.

Presented by University of Washington Office of Public Lectures. If you have questions about the event, please contact lectures@uw.edu or call (206) 543-5900.

Stephen Pinker - an individual with curly hair and a blue shirt
Rentals

In the midst of humanity’s remarkable scientific progress, we find ourselves grappling with an alarming surge of misinformation, pseudo-science, and conspiracy theories. However, attributing this solely to human irrationality seems inadequate given our capacity for discovery and rational thought.

Psychologist Steven Pinker proposes that our cognitive processes, evolved for simpler contexts, often fail to utilize the sophisticated tools of reasoning available to us. Despite our advancements, we frequently overlook logic, critical thinking, and probability, hindering our ability to navigate complex modern challenges effectively. Moreover, individual pursuits of self-interest and group cohesion can collectively foster societal irrationality, underscoring the importance of fostering norms that prioritize objectivity and truth.

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Rationality, Pinker argues, is indispensable — it guides our personal choices, shapes public discourse, and serves as a catalyst for social justice and moral progress.

Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He specializes in visual cognition and developmental linguistics, and his experimental topics include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, regularity and irregularity in language, the neural basis of words and grammar, and childhood language development.

Presented by University of Washington Office of Public Lectures. If you have questions about the event, please contact lectures@uw.edu or call (206) 543-5900.

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