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Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reason

TED2014-03-17
TEDTalk#TEDTalks#TED Talk#TED Talks#TED#TED (Organization)#Steven Pinker#Rebecca Newberger Goldstein#brain#culture#philosophy
151K views|10 years ago
💫 Short Summary

The video explores the decline of reason in society, the evolution of human empathy, and the impact of reasoned arguments on societal values and moral progress throughout history. It emphasizes the importance of reason in driving humanitarian developments, shaping moral standards, and guiding societal progress towards a more humane and compassionate future.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
The decline of reason in society and rise in anti-intellectualism, conspiracy theories, and religious fundamentalism.
00:29
Questioning the value of reason and suggesting that character and conscience may be more important.
Debate on whether reason can lead to moral outcomes or if it depends on individual passions.
Emphasis on the importance of caring for one's well-being and being part of a community of reasoners.
Mention of the historical trend towards greater humanity, highlighting past atrocities and progress towards more humane behavior.
Evolution of human empathy and impact of reason on moral progress.
04:56
Empathy and reason have been key in guiding humanity away from violent and greedy tendencies.
Expansion of empathy circles, influenced by factors like literacy and travel, has increased compassion towards all of humanity.
Reason's ability to challenge inconsistencies and change minds has driven humanitarian developments and moral growth.
Influence of Reasoned Arguments on Societal Values and Practices.
08:02
Reasoned arguments have historically driven changes in societal values and practices, impacting public opinion and legislative decisions.
Thinkers have presented compelling arguments against practices like slavery and public punishments, leading to shifts in common decency norms.
Philosophical arguments have played a key role in movements to abolish cruel punishments and promote peace, with figures like Sebastian Castellio and Cesare Beccaria being influential.
The importance of philosophical discourse in shaping moral standards and guiding societal progress is highlighted through these historical examples.
Evolution of Human Rights Movements
13:48
John Locke challenged traditional beliefs on slavery and government.
Enlightenment era had a significant impact on rights movements including civil rights, women's rights, and animal rights.
Jeremy Bentham's views on animal cruelty and homosexuality were discussed.
Society has been slow in adopting progressive ideas.
Current practices that may be viewed negatively by future generations were reflected upon, including animal mistreatment, incarceration policies, and ethical dilemmas related to technology and religion.
The importance of reason in driving moral progress in society and future advancements.
14:51
Reason is emphasized as crucial in identifying flaws in arguments.
Moral development is urged to be pursued through reliance on reason.
The role of reason in guiding ethical decisions is highlighted.
Reason is seen as a key factor in shaping the future of humanity.