Ask Pinker Anything

Mar 23 2012 @ 12:17pm

Ask Steven Pinker Anything

[Re-posted from yesterday, many questions added since then.]

Steven Pinker needs no introduction to regular Dish readers. For many months we have aired and debated aspects of his most recent book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. A sizable sample of that debate here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. A snippet from the book:

A third peacemaker has been cosmopolitanism—the expansion of people's parochial little worlds through literacy, mobility, education, science, history, journalism and mass media. These forms of virtual reality can prompt people to take the perspective of people unlike themselves and to expand their circle of sympathy to embrace them. These technologies have also powered an expansion of rationality and objectivity in human affairs. People are now less likely to privilege their own interests over those of others. They reflect more on the way they live and consider how they could be better off. Violence is often reframed as a problem to be solved rather than as a contest to be won.

Here's your chance to ask Steven about Better Angels, the history of human violence, or anything else related to his past writings. We have primed the Urtak poll with some questions but please add some of your own.  Answer "Yes" if you are interested in seeing Steven answer the question or "No" if you don't particularly care. We will air the answers within the next week or two.