What may be the most important thing that has ever happened in human history is that violence has gone down, by dramatic degrees, and in many dimensions all over the world and in many spheres of behavior: genocide, war, human sacrifice, torture, slavery, and the treatment of racial minorities, women, children, and animals.
STEVIN PINKER is a Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology; Harvard University. Author, The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Better Angels Of Our Nature: How Violence Has Declined (forthcoming, October 6th).
In July, Edge held its annual Master Class in Napa, California on the theme: "The Science of Human Nature". In the six week period that began September 12th, we are publishing the complete video, audio, and texts: Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahnemanon the marvels and the flaws of intuitive thinking; Harvard mathematical biologistMartin Nowakon the evolution of cooperation; Harvard psychologist Steven Pinkeron the history of violence; UC-Santa Barbara evolutionary psychologist Leda Cosmideson the architecture of motivation; UC-Santa Barbara neuroscientistMichael Gazzanigaon neuroscience and the law; and Princeton religious historian Elaine Pagelson The Book of Revelations.