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Getting Medieval on Steven Pinker

Violence and Medieval England

Sara M. Butler

In The Better Angels of Our Nature , Steven Pinker puts forward a vision of the Middle Ages that is both grim and fearsome. He writes that “medieval Christendom was a culture of cruelty” in which “brutality” was “woven into the fabric of daily

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Andrew Levy

Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity , London, Penguin, 2012, ISBN 978-0-1410-3464-5, 1056 pp., £14.99 John Gray, The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom , London, Penguin, 2015

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The Past as a Foreign Country

Bioarchaeological Perspectives on Pinker’s “Prehistoric Anarchy”

Linda Fibiger

Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature is not the first publication to have put bioarchaeological evidence for high levels of violence in prehistory into the spotlight. 1 Like Pinker, Lawrence Keeley’s War Before Civilization gave

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Richard Bessel

How are we to assess changing levels of violence in the modern world? The answer put forward by Canadian-born Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker is unambiguous: “Violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably

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Daniel Lord Smail

to believe in the values of Western civilization, who will be your champion? In 2011, Steven Pinker took up the mantle with the publication of The Better Angels of Our Nature , the arguments of which he has recently developed further in

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Matthew Trundle

Steven Pinker discusses ancient Greek civilization only briefly at the beginning of his work, and simply to highlight the violence of heroes such as Achilles and Odysseus depicted in the Homeric poems. How do Pinker’s ideas relate to violence in

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Whitewashing History

Pinker’s (Mis)Representation of the Enlightenment and Violence

Philip Dwyer

, and short.” If any “whitewashing” is going on, it is not that we, as professional historians, have forgotten the violence of the past, but that Pinker, as amateur historian, has failed to seriously engage with our work. Notes 1 Steven Pinker, The

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The “Moral Effect” of Legalized Lawlessness

Violence in Britain’s Twentieth-Century Empire

Caroline Elkins

permissible norms and logics of violence in empire that myriad scholars often misunderstand, if they examine it at all. When Steven Pinker suggests that violence was on the decline and humanitarianism on the rise in the twentieth century, he offers the myth of

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The Complexity of History

Russia and Steven Pinker’s Thesis

Nancy Shields Kollmann

It feels churlish to disagree with Steven Pinker’s feel-good argument that face-to-face violence has declined in world history over the last six or so centuries. He does indeed show with statistical and anecdotal evidence that in many places the

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Simon Beck, Glen M. Segell, Derek Hook, and Jeanne Marie Kusina

Daniel Dennet by Matthew Elton Simon Beck

Globalization and Justice by Kai Nielsen Glen M. Segell

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker Deborah Roberts

Georges Bataille by Michel Surya Derek Hook

Thinking after Heidegger by David Wood Jeanne Marie Kusina