Steven Pinker on Academia Today

Psychologist and Linguist
It's important for universities to embrace new ideas.
  • Transcript


Pinker: I think a political leadership that blows off science is going to lead to nothing but disaster.  But I think though for their part, people in universities and newspapers have to open their minds to have the same kind of critical self-reflection that everyone must have; realize that universities can also spiral into kind of a self-contained, ideological, almost religious cult; and that it’s important for universities to open up and welcome ideas from smart people who aren’t in that particular orbit.  I think that think tanks and policy institutes have been invaluable in that regard; that there are certain ideas that don’t come out of university departments because a university becomes a tribe or a culture, has an ideology, and they have to realize that they’re not an infallible and welcome ideas.  I don’t think universities have been completely successful in doing that either.