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The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

por Steven Pinker

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2,278665,236 (4.14)1 / 59
We've all asked, "What is the world coming to?" But we seldom ask, "How bad was the world in the past?" In this startling new book, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the past was much worse. Evidence of a bloody history has always been around us: genocides in the Old Testament, gory mutilations in Shakespeare and Grimm, monarchs who beheaded their relatives, and American founders who dueled with their rivals. The murder rate in medieval Europe was more than thirty times what it is today. Slavery, sadistic punishments, and frivolous executions were common features of life for millennia, then were suddenly abolished. How could this have happened, if human nature has not changed? Pinker argues that thanks to the spread of government, literacy, trade, and cosmopolitanism, we increasingly control our impulses, empathize with others, debunk toxic ideologies, and deploy our powers of reason to reduce the temptations of violence.--From publisher description.… (mais)
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Important but later work is more succinct ( )
  dualmon | Nov 17, 2021 |
Ever the optimist, psychologist Steven Pinker posits that the world is getting better, not worse in this very long (almost 900pages) book He is certainly correct in that we no longer burn witches at the stake, and the Catholic Church has abandoned The Inquisition. However, I would like to see him bring our a revised version to update our current society in the age of Trump & Brexit. ( )
  etxgardener | Oct 18, 2021 |
Very good book. Well argued and always entertaining. Backed up by facts. A long read though. Some chapters are a hundred pages long. Each could be a book in itself. Definitely something that could change your outlook on the world though. Read it if you get a chance.
( )
  mgplavin | Oct 3, 2021 |
Although it took me a long time to read, (this is a very dense book, well written but full of examples of statistics) I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Steven Pinker proves that our world is getting less violent. This is flatly contradicted by our senses and experience every day. Any person alive now will be inundated with news of terrible violence around the world and believe that it's getting worse.
All the proof is here. Examined from all sorts of angles, with doubts and attempts to disprove thrown in, as in all good science. But the proof still stands.
It doesn't shy away from reality and includes all the atrocities and massacres but puts them into a greater context of all of humanity's history.
This is one book that truly has changed my life, and it continues to protect me from tendencies to total cynicism and pessimism. ( )
  Phil-James | Oct 1, 2021 |
Hardly counts as a book, more like a paper full of statistics. Could be easily published as CSV file with numbers available to parse with software. ( )
  zenlot | Sep 21, 2021 |
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But in its confidence and sweep, the vast timescale, its humane standpoint and its confident world-view, it is something more than a science book: it is an epic history by an optimist who can list his reasons to be cheerful and support them with persuasive instances.

I don't know if he's right, but I do think this book is a winner.
adicionada por Widsith | editarThe Guardian, Tim Radford (Nov 19, 2012)
 
The biggest problem with the book, though, is its overreliance on history, which, like the light on a caboose, shows us only where we are not going.
adicionada por Widsith | editarScientific American, Robert Epstein (Oct 7, 2011)
 
“The Better Angels of Our Nature” is a supremely important book. To have command of so much research, spread across so many different fields, is a masterly achievement. Pinker convincingly demonstrates that there has been a dramatic decline in violence, and he is persuasive about the causes of that decline.
adicionada por atbradley | editarThe New York Times, Peter Singer (Oct 6, 2011)
 
While Pinker makes a great show of relying on evidence—the 700-odd pages of this bulky treatise are stuffed with impressive-looking graphs and statistics—his argument that violence is on the way out does not, in the end, rest on scientific investigation. He cites numerous reasons for the change, including increasing wealth and the spread of democracy. For him, none is as important as the adoption of a particular view of the world: “The reason so many violent institutions succumbed within so short a span of time was that the arguments that slew them belong to a coherent philosophy that emerged during the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment. The ideas of thinkers like Hobbes, Spinoza, Descartes, Locke, David Hume, Mary Astell, Kant, Beccaria, Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft, Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton and John Stuart Mill coalesced into a worldview that we can call Enlightenment humanism.”
adicionada por atbradley | editarProspect, John Gray (Sep 21, 2011)
 
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What a chimera then is man! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos,

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If the past is a foreign country, it is a shockingly violent one.
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We've all asked, "What is the world coming to?" But we seldom ask, "How bad was the world in the past?" In this startling new book, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the past was much worse. Evidence of a bloody history has always been around us: genocides in the Old Testament, gory mutilations in Shakespeare and Grimm, monarchs who beheaded their relatives, and American founders who dueled with their rivals. The murder rate in medieval Europe was more than thirty times what it is today. Slavery, sadistic punishments, and frivolous executions were common features of life for millennia, then were suddenly abolished. How could this have happened, if human nature has not changed? Pinker argues that thanks to the spread of government, literacy, trade, and cosmopolitanism, we increasingly control our impulses, empathize with others, debunk toxic ideologies, and deploy our powers of reason to reduce the temptations of violence.--From publisher description.

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Penguin Australia

2 edições deste livro foram publicadas por Penguin Australia.

Edições: 1846140943, 0141034645

 

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