Psychologist Professor Steven Pinker examines how we can harness rational thinking to help us see the world more clearly.
These days, thinking is on everyone’s minds. We live in an era of breath-taking scientific discovery – but also an era of fake news, quack cures, conspiracy theories, paranormal woo-woo, and ‘post-truth’ rhetoric. How can we make sense of making sense – and its opposite?” — Steven Pinker
The BBC Radio series will explore questions such as: Whether we should trust intuition or algorithms; how the brain tricks us into seeing patterns in randomness; why the desire to win an argument or boost our tribe can be a hindrance; how we might rationally forecast the future; why we worry about the wrong things; what are the taboos that keep our minds from thinking certain thoughts; what we can all do to improve the way we think in our lives, our work, and our politics.
Professor Pinker will be joined by guests including Bill Gates, Daniel Kahneman and Hannah Fry. In each episode, Pinker explains a tool of reason, like probability or game theory, and hosts a conversation with a theoretical expert and a real-world practitioner. The areas of life they visit include medicine, finance, sports, government, climate, economics, journalism, and the courtroom.
Steven Pinker is an experimental cognitive scientist. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has also taught at Stanford and MIT. He has won many prizes for his research, teaching, and his twelve books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and most recently, Rationality.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Humanist of the Year, a recipient of nine honorary doctorates, one of Foreign Policy’s ‘World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals’ and Time’s 100 Most Influential People In The World Today.
“Radio 4 gives curious minds a chance to reflect on the big issues of our time, so I’m delighted the great Steven Pinker is joining us to help listeners think carefully about thinking itself. I am limbering up for what I hope will be a hugely enjoyable – if occasionally challenging – mental work-out.” – Richard Knight, Commissioner for Radio 4