Two Ted Talks on Rational Optimism

Forty minutes of your life. The first video references the speaker in the second.

Bonus subtopic: Life as we know it as a product of game-theory.

 

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One thought on “Two Ted Talks on Rational Optimism

  1. Steven Pinker was on NPR as well:http://www.npr.org/2011/12/07/143285836/war-and-violence-on-the-decline-in-modern-times

    It’s basically the same thing as the TED talk, but it’s great.

    When I was at St. John’s we read book after book about slaughter and war. Ancient cultures wove abhorrent violence into their everyday lives. It was gross. ‘The Iliad’ is a spectacular example.

    It made the history segment difficult, though. Many of the philosophical historians argued that modern civilization declined from the glory of past civilizations. That was hard to swallow, knowing that worldwide violence today is dramatically lower than it has been in the past. It made Kant’s ‘Idea for a Universal History with Cosmopolitan Purpose’ look ridiculous.

    Perhaps that was the perspective issue that Pinker spoke of, as well; a perspective which I think Wilco summarizes best:

    That’s right. Wilco > Kant

    (and I enjoy Kant…)

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