Harvard professor Steven Pinker, perhaps best known for The Language Instinct, his popular account of cognitive linguistics, has written a new book with the provocative thesis that violence has been steadily declining over the last several thousand years. From genocide to war, from capital punishment to violent crime, the available data, such as it is, all shows a downward trend. Pinker gives a compelling overview of his argument in “A History of Violence” on Edge.org.
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined is scheduled for release this week.
(image: a Bronze Age Skull from Troy, Neues Museum, Berlin)