Steven Pinker - Science Quotes
4 Sourced Quotes
Maybe philosophical problems are hard not because they are divine or irreducible or meaningless or workaday science, but because the mind of Homo sapiens lacks the cognitive equipment to solve them. We are organisms, not angels... Our minds evolved... to solve problems, [not]... to answer any question we are capable of asking.
Some people think that evolutionary psychology claims to have discovered that human nature is selfish and wicked. But they are flattering the researchers and anyone who would claim to have discovered the opposite. No one needs a scientist to measure whether humans are prone to knavery. The question has been answered in the history books, the newspapers, the ethnographic record, and the letters to Ann Landers. But people treat it like an open question, as if someday science might discover that it's all a bad dream and we will wake up to find that it is human nature to love one another.
Evolutionary psychology was the organizing framework—the source of explanatory adequacy or a theory of the computation —that the science of psychology had been missing. Like vision and language, our emotions and cognitive faculties are complex, useful, and nonrandomly organized, which means that they must be a product of the only physical process capable of generating complex, useful, nonrandom organization, namely, natural selection. An appeal to evolution was already implicit in the metatheoretical directives of Marr and Chomsky, with their appeal to the function of a mental faculty, and evolutionary psychology simply shows how to apply that logic to the rest of the mind.