A native of Montreal, Pinker received his B.A. from McGill University and his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University, where he is currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology. Before assuming this endowed professorship, he taught at Stanford University and, for 21 years, at MIT. Pinker is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Pinker's research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has received numerous awards, including the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences and five prizes from the American Psychological Association. In addition to these recognitions for his research, Pinker has won a number of teaching prizes and was named among Newsweek's "100 Americans for the Next Century."
Developed by the Pinker faculty team for his campus visit
In The Blank Slate
you talk about the relations among different disciplines and the
sometimes competing knowledge claims that are produced by these
disciplines. At one point you talk about reduction (good and bad) and
there are various hints along the way about your way of understanding
and articulating the relation among these different disciplinary
approaches. Does a liberally educated person in the 21st century need
to have this kind of meta-level understanding of different kinds and
ways of knowing and how they relate to each other?
Imagine teaching a course on “human nature.” Such a class would encourage students to think across disciplinary lines, to draw on a wide body of knowledge, and to critically synthesize information. These are skills obviously that will also prepare them to be savvy contributing citizens. Any ideas regarding the design and content of courses like this on the undergraduate level? Or, are interdisciplinary discussions only possible following sufficient schooling in individual disciplines?
Pinker FACULTY TEAM LEADERS
Dr. Thomas Cook, Professor of Philosophy
Dr. Steven St. John, Associate Professor of Psychology