Politics on the Couch
Is Democracy Rational? A conversation with Steven Pinker
Human beings routinely make terrible choices but humanity still achieves amazing things.
How does this paradox work?
And is it still working when technology seems to amplify the worst in us.
In this episode, Politics on the Couch host Rafael Behr talks to Professor Steven Pinker about the constant struggle between evidence and emotion for control of the political agenda; whether truth and fact are winning the long war against superstition and falsehood, and why rationality always has the last word.
Professor Steven Pinker is Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and the author of a number of highly acclaimed and prize-winning books about psychology, cognitive science, linguistics and history.
His latest book Rationality: What it is; why it seems scarce; why it matters was published in September.
More about Steven Pinker:
Other books by Steven Pinker mentioned in episode
The Better Angels of our Nature
Enlightenment Now https://stevenpinker.com/publications/enlightenment-now-case-reason-science-humanism-and-progress
A couple of references in this episode that might be useful as further reading.
Michael Ignatieff’s book Fire and Ashes, about a failed career in politics
Jonathan Rauch’s book The Constitution of Knowledge, about the crisis of trust in institutions
Politics on the Couch has been chosen by Feedspot as one of the Top 25 UK Psychology Podcasts and Top 25 Political Science Podcasts on the web.