Summary of The Better Angels of Our Nature

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Psychologist Steven Pinker tackles nothing less than the human history of violence and peace. His scholarly thesis is that violence is waning as social infrastructures and cognitive incentives evoke humanity’s peaceable impulses or, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, its “better angels.” getAbstract highly recommends this cerebral, optimistic lecture and ensuing interview with RSA chair Matthew Taylor.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Which influences and conditions have caused notable declines of violence throughout history and
  • How humanity evokes its “better angels” to rein in violence.

About the Speaker

Harvard University professor and psychologist Steven Pinker is author of The Blank Slate.



Human history has seen long spans of declining violence, and the current era might be the most peaceful yet. Yet the fall hasn’t been continuous, and violence may resurge. The first notable decrease was 5,000 years ago when early emperors...

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