My vote is Pinker for President. As a fellow Canadian by birth, I am not sure if being born in Canada prevents Steven from becoming the President of the United States? Ok, we know it does! We should be chanting “Enlightenment Now” (2018) in solidarity, against the oppressors and propagators of “fake news” and underhanded political card games. Bring on the following thought experiment; the corporate politics swallows the optimistic Pinker poison pill. Better yet, Bernie Sanders and Steven Pinker as the two top advisors to Oprah Winfrey. If Oprah isn’t hiring or doesn’t run, then Pinker could always run for Prime Minister in Canada. He is definitely nice enough, and polite enough. I think he is fluent in French and has a wonderful First Lady in Rebecca Goldstein. Maybe Rebecca could run for President and Steven could be the First “Lady‘s” Man? He is a self-proclaimed “femalist” and for this, I do admire him. So many options, not enough votes!
“There is no law of complex systems that says that intelligent agents must turn into ruthless conquistadors. Indeed, we know of one highly advanced form of intelligence that evolved without this defect. They’re called women.” - Steven Pinker, (2018)
Imagine a Liberal platform built on the compassion of others voices, The Better Angels of our Nature (2011) is how we should view the world. Not from the projected and pessimistic biases of our culture. This new left would be a step in the right direction even from within the Harpo machine, if the Presidency isn’t possible, perhaps a senior advisor to Oprah? Better yet, we could have Steven Pinker and Bernie Sanders advising Oprah Winfrey on policy. What would a Brave New World of this sort look like? Oprah has the fan base, the money but I think we need more than popularity. We need leadership of thought coupled with action from the individual. Depth of character and compassion is better than charisma. Pinker wrote the book on How the Mind Works (1997), has an impeccable Sense of Style (2014) and a life inside the political arena could be The Blank Slate (2002) and fresh start we are all looking for. Would he endorse a male identity of an optimistic “femalist”? I am optimistic. Uniting the two largest demographics with humility and correctness is more than political, it’s Enlightenment Now (2018).
On Duns Scotus, Aquinas, Ockham, and Dr. Étienne Ville-Marie
This is not an official Pinker perspective, it is a humble layman’s point of view...
Steven Pinker would also suit the honorary title of Doctor Subtilis. If born in the thirteenth century, like Johannes Duns, Steven Pinker would probably have his place of birth integrated into his name. Maybe something like Dr. Étienne Ville-Marie? A far cry from Steven Arthur Pinker. Preemptive to cries of anthamma, the secular contributions of Duns Scotus was pensively medieval, so keep this in mind while brandishing your weapons of skepticism. The doctrines for which Duns was best known are the "univocity of being," and the "formal distinction". Duns positioned the Self as the most abstract concept that we have and Distinct from reality. It seems inconceivable that the meditations of Renatus Cartesius took place in a Latin vacuum, more likely visions of thought under the duress of winter's coldness, and built on the Shoulders of Newton's Giants.
Thomas Aquinas referred to Aristotle as, "the Philosopher". Thomism attempts to synthesize the synapse of thoughts further define, through antithesis, much of modern philosophy. Despite the despot, dogma is self-destructive and paves the way to prosperity. For now, time is on our side and history concurs. Pinker makes it official with the research that his work so clearly illustrates. Violence is on the decline. Prosperity is on the rise. What happens when the resources run out? Don't leap to conclusions tainted with fear. Approach the problem from an Ethos of Enlightenment. Now! Not later. Take an initiative, ask the questions and start looking for the answers, falsifiable through Popper propaganda.
William of Ockham, on the other hand, was no Saint, he was a Friar! When you think Ockham, most think of Occam's razor. I have always wondered why Ockham is spelled differently from the fallacy that bears his name. I think all variations are permissible. It could have been a move of parsimony, or extreme austerity, by reducing the character count, but I doubt it. Digressing to the razor over its brand name, many philosophers, past, present (and hopefully future) will continue to propose theories based on the fewest assumptions possible.
The Aquinas-Leibniz Paradox and the doGmatic Dictator
I find it interesting, according to Aquinas, that incipit creation needs a creator; The doGmatic Dictator. Leibniz also felt compelled to stand up against the unilateral acceptance of Science and Reason. Reasoning from true premises, both Aquinas and Leibniz used apparently sound reasoning for the time, yet over time the reasoning is viewed as self-contradictory and leads to logically unacceptable conclusions. The paradox is despite best intentions, the argument is unsolvable. Metaphysics, has it's champions, and thought leaders. They are winning the unwinnable argument. Metaphysics has imperceptible and subjective improvements of thought and thinking, Science, according to Popper, builds on itself through falsification. For me, the pseudo has a function, even in Science. Problem solving, classification, and giving form defines the function and is the identity of identity. One form, divided by one function, equals one identity. Identity as an equation? How so? One is not better than the other, where the preference of form-over-function is a fallacy or abstract aesthetic. I said before that Marxism should function much like an official opposition but never hold power. It's a check but not a balance. Marxism is very much like metaphysics. An interesting perspective but not a good place to live. What does Marxism have to do with Steven Pinker? Not much, but I think people are looking to alternatives. We are living in a vulnerable time. Correlation doesn't imply causation. Trends can reverse. Black swans can surface. Reason and Science is more important now, in a time of uncertainty, than ever.
Looking forward to Artificial Intelligence
In February 2018, Steven Pinker wrote an article in Popular Science about the myth of robot uprising. I share this perspective. I am an optimistic romantic. This is a beneficial combination. Romantics are typically a pesimistic bunch.
We were born on the same day in September only 21 years apart. ↩︎
Doctor Subtilis was an honorary title given to the philosopher Duns Scotus. From late 14th and early 15th Century, Duns Scotus was instrumental in advancing secular thought. To leave out his Christian influence would be neglectful so perhaps appropriate to construct the cage of Christianity with the songs of secularism putting Heaven in a rage. A play on words with William Blake’s famous quote, “a bird in a cage puts all heaven in a rage”. ↩︎
Étienne is the French name for Steven. Combined with his place of birth, Ville-Marie is the original name for Montréal; Canada’s French speaking Province. ↩︎
According to Duns Scotus, the "Univocity of Being" positions the Self as the most abstract concept that we have. ↩︎
“Formal Distinction”, distinguishes the conceptual world from reality. A conversation still relevant in the 21st Century, even on Fox. ↩︎
Renatus Cartesius is Latin for René Descartes. ↩︎
We're told to fear robots. But why do we think they'll turn on us? https://www.popsci.com/robot-uprising-enlightenment-now ↩︎