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Livestream: Steven Pinker on "Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters"

5:00pm sharp to 6:00pm EDT livestream

Event Details

Speaker Series

Rationality Book Cover
Date: Monday October 04, 2021 | 05:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Speaker(s): Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University; Author

In Conversation With: Dilip Soman, Project Director, Behaviorally Informed Organizations Partnership
Topic: "Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters" (Viking, Sept. 28, 2021)
Venue:

On September 27, Rotman Events will email registrants the link to the page where you can watch the livestream.

Location: Online
Cost: $47.00 + HST per person (includes the link for the livestream and 1 hardcover copy of "Rationality")
Register Now

Book Mailing: Hardcover copies of Rationality will be shipped to paid registrants after the event.

Please note: The stated registration fee for this event only applies to customers residing in Canada and the U.S.A. If you are registering for this livestream from outside of these countries, please contact events@rotman.utoronto.ca regarding your registration as shipping fees vary depending on your location.

Book Synopsis: Today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding--and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for Covid-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing?

Pinker rejects the cynical cliché that humans are simply irrational--cavemen out of time saddled with biases, fallacies, and illusions. After all, we discovered the laws of nature, lengthened and enriched our lives, and set out the benchmarks for rationality itself.  We actually think in ways that are sensible in the low-tech contexts in which we spend most of our lives, but fail to take advantage of the powerful tools of reasoning we’ve discovered over the millennia: logic, critical thinking, probability, correlation and causation, and optimal ways to update beliefs and commit to choices individually and with others. These tools are not a standard part of our education, and have never been presented clearly and entertainingly in a single book--until now.

Rationality also explores its opposite: how the rational pursuit of self-interest, sectarian solidarity, and uplifting mythology can add up to crippling irrationality in a society. Collective rationality depends on norms that are explicitly designed to promote objectivity and truth. 

Rationality matters. It leads to better choices in our lives and in the public sphere, and is the ultimate driver of social justice and moral progress. Brimming with Pinker’s customary insight and humor, Rationality will enlighten, inspire, and empower.

About Our Speaker: Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books, he has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and named one of Time‘s 100 Most Influential People and one of Foreign Policy‘s 100 Leading Global Thinkers. His books include The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style, and Enlightenment Now.

Questions: events@rotman.utoronto.ca, Daniel Ellul


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