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The Big Idea for Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stephen Pinker has appropriated the word "scientism," which he says is "more of a boo-word than a label for any coherent doctrine," in order to embrace the defining practices of science. 

The scientific mindset, Pinker argues, is "indispensable in all areas of human concern, including politics, the arts, and the search for meaning, purpose, and morality."

While scientism has overreached - Pinker points to the problematic effort by Sam Harris in his 2010 book The Moral Landscape to equate scientism with utilitarian philosophy - Pinker says it is a mistake "to use a few wrongheaded examples as an excuse to quarantine the sciences of human nature from our attempt to understand the human condition."


  1. 1 Steven Pinker and the Scientific Worldview
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Darwin’s Storytellers
    Paul Bloom
  3. 3 Steven Pinker Defines Morality
    Steven Pinker
  4. 4 We Don't "Know It All." But Here's What's Worth Celebrating
    Lawrence M. Krauss In Their Own Words


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