On the next Great Conversations, Steven Pinker, an experimental psychologist at Harvard University and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, is interviewed by Neal Conan, award-winning journalist and host of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation.” Great Conversations: Steven Pinker and Neal Conan airs Sunday, Nov. 18 at 10/9 p.m. on KET.
In The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Pinker uses statistics to show that the world of the past was much more violent that today’s world. During the interview, he explains why he believes “we may be living in the most peaceful era in human history,” citing as evidence that tribal warfare was nine times as deadly as war and genocide in the 20th century; the murder rate of Medieval Europe was more than 30 times what it is today; and that the rates of many types of violent crimes are substantially down.
Pinker earned a bachelor's degree in experimental psychology at McGill University, a doctorate at Harvard, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at MIT. Beginning in graduate school, Pinker cultivated an interest in language, particularly language development in children, and this topic eventually took over his research activities.
In addition to authoring several other books, Pinker frequently writes for The New York Times, Time, The New Republic, and other magazines on subjects such as language and politics, the neural basis of consciousness, and the genetic enhancement of human beings.
The program was recorded at Pinker’s recent appearance at the Kentucky Author Forum in Louisville.
Great Conversations: Steven Pinker and Neal Conan is a KET production. Producer-director is Tom Bickel, and executive producer is Teresa Day. Pinker’s appearance is part of the Kentucky Author Forum, which is produced by Mary Moss Greenebaum and sponsored by the University of Louisville, in partnership with Brown-Forman and The Humana Foundation. The Kentucky Author Forum was founded in 1996, and Great Conversations airs on PBS stations across the United States.
More information about KET programming and education services, as well as how to support KET, can be found at ket.org.